While many people will be quick to advise a fast exit from a disabled vehicle on the highway or busy beltway, it’s important to realize that injury accidents can happen even when a vehicle is stopped on the roadside. Car and commercial trucks collisions happen daily in Baltimore, Frederick, Rockville and all across this state, and as Maryland auto accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers we can surely say that danger of injury or death still exists when your car, SUV or minivan is stranded on the shoulder of an expressway or heavily traveled rural route.
That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not only do motorists risk life and limb whenever they get out of their vehicle, but in the event of a serious accident medical bills and lost wages can put a terrible pinch on an average family’s bank account. Not long ago, two people were killed outside of their cars in the Washington, D.C. area. This only illustrates, in the saddest of terms, my point about being extremely cautious when venturing out of the relative safety of a disabled motor vehicle.
According to new reports, one of the fatal car accidents occurred just after 1am on the Baltimore-Washington Pkwy in the Laurel area. In that instance, the driver did what many people (mainly men, we suspect) would do in a similar situation. Based on U.S. Park Police reports, a driver was in the process of pushing his vehicle along the southbound stretch of the parkway when he was struck from behind by another vehicle.
The victim’s vehicle apparently had a mechanical problem, which prompted the man to get out the vehicle and try to push it out of the way of other traffic. Police stated that the crash happened between Rte 197 and 1Rte 98.
A second incident, which occurred later that day, took place along Dulles Toll Rd. near Tysons Corner. According to news reports, two drivers were in the road apparently assessing the damage to the individuals’ vehicles — a pickup truck and a taxi cab — which had collided in a minor traffic accident in the center lane of the eastbound side of the roadway.
As the men were talking, a third vehicle, an SUV, hit the two damaged vehicles. The driver of the pickup truck, Kenneth Edward Wright of Frederick, was apparently standing very close to point of collision. He was fatally injured in the crash.
According to police authorities, motorists who find themselves in a broken down vehicle should get off the road and call police. As evidenced from these tragic events, that advice should be taken seriously by anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.
Two people killed outside vehicles on D.C. area highways, WashingtonPost.com, November 19, 2010