When a motorist experiences trouble on the road, sometimes there is no choice but to pull over to the shoulder. Whether passing out snacks to hungry children, waiting for help to arrive after breaking down or changing a flat tire, many Texas drivers assume that the shoulder is a safe place to park on the freeway. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
A fatal crash that occurred in early December highlights this point. As KXII News reported, a truck driver from Mesquite, Texas, had pulled his rig over to the side of Interstate 35 in Oklahoma. Another Texas trucker drove off the road and hit the parked truck. The first truck driver was treated for his injuries and released, but tragically, the second trucker was killed. Authorities did not release any information as to why the first truck had pulled over or why they thought the second driver went off the road.
It is not illegal to temporarily stop on the shoulder in many places on the interstate, especially for those who are having car trouble. However, drivers should be aware of the potential dangers of trucks and other vehicles that are driving at high speeds only a few feet away from where they are parked. A truck driver may be fatigued or might not see the disabled vehicle and can hit a parked car or a person standing to the side. Even a mild sideswipe from a truck can be deadly. Drivers should pull as far away from driving lanes as they can and either get moving again or be picked up as soon as possible.
Truck drivers and others have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and avoid drifting onto the shoulder while they drive. Those who are injured may be eligible for compensation.