While driving in New York, you might find yourself in a situation that calls for pulling over to the shoulder of the road. It might seem safe to do. However, it is one of the places on the road that is most fraught with danger.
For this reason, this step should only be taken in emergency situations when there are no other options. Statistics can clearly show the dangers of pulling off of the road, even in emergencies. The shoulder of the road is the place where more than 1,500 people get injured or killed annually.
Due to the dangers of this maneuver, determining liability can be complicated. It might be possible that a driver, while trying to pull over onto the shoulder, does not pull over far enough and obstructs the nearest lane.
This can dramatically increase the chance of an accident. Since oncoming cars can easily confuse vehicles on the shoulder as vehicles in a different lane, the probability of accidents can definitely increase. Often, this results in a crash.
What Causes Shoulder of the Road Accidents?
While it is unavoidable at times, the shoulder of the road is a dangerous place to stop at. Often, drivers do this when they suspect a problem with their vehicles. Pulling over to the shoulder happens more frequently during the peak summer and winter months as the extreme levels of heat or cold can cause cars to develop faults or breakdowns.
The most common reasons why motorists might choose to pull over include:
- Bad weather
- Empty fuel tank
- Distractions that need immediate attention
- Issues with the tires
- Issues with the brake
- Problems with the engine
While these may seem reason enough to justify safely bringing the vehicle to a stop, parking on the shoulder of the road is still a risky proposition. The risk of collision can increase significantly when a car is parked on the shoulder of the road, especially if it blocks the nearest lane. In the event of an accident, both the parked vehicle and oncoming traffic can face injuries.
Preventing a Shoulder of the Road Accident
Experts can testify that shoulder of the road accidents can be serious and even fatal. It can affect both innocent victims and those at fault. It is always smart, therefore, to be responsible and prevent these accidents.
This is what you should do if you experience car problems on an expressway:
- If possible, exit the expressway
- If you absolutely must pull over, safely pull over to the right side
- Turn on the hazard lights of your vehicle
- Ensure that no part of your vehicle is jutting out on to a traffic lane
- Do not exit your vehicle with oncoming traffic
- Call for help if you need
Similarly, if you see a vehicle stopped on the shoulder, you should:
- Safely move a lane away from the vehicle
- Ensure that there is enough room for other cars or emergency responders on the shoulder
- If you see crews working on the side of the road, slow down
- Watch out for people emerging from vehicles parked on the shoulder
Here are some things you can do if riding a bicycle:
- Always use a reflector and a headlamp
- Remember that other drivers might not be able to see you and proceed with caution
- Try to avoid riding a bicycle in bad weather
- Ensure full compliance with all local and state traffic rules
How To Determine Fault in a Shoulder of the Road Accident?
Shoulder of the road accidents can result from many factors. While it might be complicated to determine fault, you can definitely pursue just compensation for your losses with the help of competent legal representation. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we can provide you excellent legal guidance and support to you as we have vast experience in handling such cases.
Several important factors must be taken into account while determining fault in a shoulder of the road accident. These include:
- Where the car was parked on the shoulder and whether it was blocking any traffic lane
- If the driver had turned on the hazard lights of the parked car
- The reasons why the driver chose to pull over and whether there were viable alternatives
- Why the moving vehicle collided with the one parked on the shoulder
- Weather conditions and the time of day
In order to recover compensation, the negligence of the driver assumed to be at fault needs to be established beyond doubt. This is accomplished by establishing that the driver at fault had a duty to not impede traffic or avoid the vehicle on the shoulder. The dereliction of this duty is what needs to be responsible for the accident, directly causing damages to the plaintiff.
These nuances can make determining fault in shoulder of the road accidents quite complicated. If you or someone you care about has suffered a shoulder of the road accident, it is smart to look for a tenacious and experienced New York attorney to act on your behalf.
Shoulder Of The Road Accidents – Possible Scenarios
Being stuck on the shoulder because of an emergency
In general, motorists avoid parking on the shoulder. An emergency or a mechanical problem can force their hand and this is where shoulder of the road accidents mostly stem from. You might have to pull over due to overheating, a flat tire, or a blowout.
In such cases, trying to park on the shoulder might be the only option you have left. However, there is always a chance that you are stuck on the shoulder of a busy city street, an interstate roadway, or a bustling freeway. The likelihood of getting a safe, low-traffic area with a wide shoulder can be very low. Therefore, while pulling over might be the only way to deal with the issue you face, it still remains a dangerous thing to do.
Inclement weather conditions and high speed
While pulling over to the shoulder can be reason enough to be nervous, certain factors can make matters a lot worse. Speeds in excess of 65 miles per hour can be commonplace in freeways. Add bad weather and distracted drivers to the mix and the potential for disaster can skyrocket.
The margin of error here can be minuscule. There is very little likelihood of getting a safe and wide shoulder where you can relax. You can be very close to heavy traffic. Bad weather can diminish visibility. While it is recommended for drivers to adjust their speeds depending on road and weather conditions, things do not work that way most of the time in reality.
Roadside emergency troubles
Shoulder of the road accidents typically start with a roadside emergency of some kind. Something as simple as an empty gas tank or a flat tire can be responsible. You might do the responsible thing and pull over to the shoulder, remain vigilant, check your mirrors, and look both ways before stepping out of your car.
You can try your best to keep an eye on traffic while sorting out your emergency. You might have a friend who can provide help or a good Samaritan who would stop to assist. During any of these moments, you can fall victim to a severe accident.
Has a Shoulder of the Road Crash Caused You Injury?
In spite of trying to be as safe as possible, a shoulder of the road accident can happen to you at any time, especially in the case of another driver displaying negligence on the road. If you get injured or someone close to you loses their life, you might have the door open to bring a civil claim against the driver at fault.
According to New York laws, you can seek compensation regarding:
- Your pain, suffering, and mental trauma
- Any medical bills you incurred as a result of the accident
- Any income you might lose being rendered unable to work
- Loss of companionship
Having a seasoned lawyer by your side can make things easier following an unfortunate accident. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we take pride in providing stellar legal services to victims of accidents who suffer because of the negligence of others. With our help, clients in New York have been able to recover millions of dollars in damages.
Our reliable attorneys can help you with your search for adequate compensation after a shoulder of the road accident. You can get the process started by scheduling a consultation with us by filling our online contact form or calling us at (347) 504-1246. We do not charge any fee until we win compensation for you.