Tragedy struck on Atlanta’s busy I-285, when a 20-year-old man was killed while performing roadside repair on his vehicle near Spaghetti Junction. The man was pulled over on the right shoulder of the road and changing a tire on his vehicle when he was fatally hit by another driver.
This terrible accident highlights the safety risks faced by those who pull over to perform necessary maintenance on vehicles, whether the person is a civilian, police officer, emergency technician, or Georgia Department of Transportation worker.
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If possible, call a roadside service agency like the American Automobile Association or one of GDOT’S HERO units if you are in need of roadside maintenance. However, for those without the funds or a phone available to call one of these services, here are roadside safety tips when performing a repair along Atlanta’s busiest highways:
Always Carry a Repair Kit
It’s important to always carry a repair kit in your car. This kit should include essentials, like a flashlight, flares, first-aid kit, water, blankets, jack, wrench, screwdrivers, and a spare tire. These items will allow you to safely signal that your car has broken down, perform simple maintenance, or wait safely for help if the emergency is beyond the scope of your maintenance abilities.
Pull Over to the Shoulder
When disaster strikes, pull over to the shoulder of the road and out of traffic, if possible. This is essential, because even the best safety measures will not guarantee your safety if a distracted motorist is driving nearby. However, if you are hit in a lane of traffic, place signs and flares down and raise your vehicle’s hood to signal so as to increase visibility.
Set your Emergency Brake
In your haste to make a quick repair and get back on the road, you may forget to set your emergency brake. This is essential both for your tire repair, and to ensure your car does not unintentionally roll into traffic. Never forget this simple step before beginning the repair process, experts say.
Stay in Your Vehicle (Unless Performing Repairs)
Except when you are performing your car repair, stay in your vehicle at all times. Passengers of the vehicle should never leave the vehicle. This is to ensure your safety if a distracted driving hits your vehicle, even if you are pulled over on the shoulder of the road in what seems to be a safe distance from moving traffic.
Be Cautious Around Strangers
While most passersby have the best intentions and want to help you get back on the road safely, it’s essential to be cautious. If someone offers you help while you are in the vehicle, roll down the vehicles to speak to them — never open the door. Request for the good samaritan to call roadside services or a friend on your behalf, rather than accepting a ride or allowing them to assist in the repairs.
Car accidents can happen, whether you’re on the side of the road or not. If you’re involved in an accident, our attorneys at Morgan & Morgan may be able to help. Read more to learn about evaluating your damages after a car accident.