As a Virginia personal-injury attorney who has specialized in injury and accident law for over two decades I’m well aware of the many unfortunate things that can happen when people leave a vehicle on the side of the road. The law expressly says that you’re not allowed to stop your vehicle in a way which can impede or obstruct traffic. It never fails to amaze me as you’re driving down Interstate 64 (I-64) say from Charlottesville to Norfolk, Virginia how many cars, trucks and pieces of heavy equipment you see parked or pulled over on the shoulder.
Obviously if a truck driver or other professional involved in transportation leaves their vehicle on the side of the road there are special rules that apply to them including putting out flares or triangles within a short number of minutes after pulling off to the side. Despite these rules the safety of the motoring public is often violated because the truck driver didn’t pull all the way over and perhaps left part of his tractor trailer partially in the highway. These problems are compounded when it’s a relatively narrow road with minimal shoulder or under conditions like nighttime driving or bad weather. Often a driver coming down the highway can become confused as to what lane a stopped vehicle is in.
A lot of times when you see a car or truck parked over in the shoulder on the highway the vehicles wisely move over into the other lane to get as far away from it as possible hoping to not cause a secondary accident by running into the stopped vehicle. Then you have potential for accidents as people are somewhat suddenly merging over between lanes and the traffic can often get very congested causing slowdowns as there’s only perhaps two lanes of travel for much of the distance on Interstate 64 even though it is heavily travelled. This congestion and slowdown itself can cause accidents.
I really wish that people would make sure to keep their vehicles in good condition and not pull over on the side of the road for unnecessary reasons. I’m involved in one case right now where a truck driver evidently pulled over to go to the bathroom. I have no idea why that professional trucker didn’t understand that he should take his rig off the road and go to a rest stop rather than endangering the public with this non-emergency. However another driver ended up getting in a collision as a result of this tractor trailer being pulled off to the side of the road for no good reason. The other thing to keep in mind if you’re going to pull over on the highway for a real emergency is put on your flashing lights immediately to let other people know that you’re there and to give them the best chance of avoiding a collision.
If you have been injured due to a driver who is improperly stopped on the road, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Call Cooper Hurley at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation.