Staying Safe in the Emergency Lane - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/26/05

Staying Safe in the Emergency Lane

A truck parked in the emergency lane was hit. A truck parked in the emergency lane was hit.

Emergency lanes are intended to provide safe haven if you're having car trouble, or otherwise need to make an emergency stop. But lately, they've been just plain deadly as we've really seen a rash of wrecks.

Just driving down I-95 today, we saw at least seven disabled vehicles. When it comes to navigating the emergency lane, police say even using common sense can't always save you.

Four people were killed when an RV crashed into their vehicle parked in an emergency lane along I-95 this weekend.

"We've seen a lot of accidents occur," said  Capt. Roy Pike of the Bloomingdale police. "They are extremely vulnerable."

Capt. Pike wasn't surprised. He has seen it all the last 15 years. One of his police officers was hit just a few years ago.

"One vehicle hit another vehicle and it went off the road and took out my officer," he told us.

The more cars on the road, and the faster they go, the more vulnerable disabled motorists are. "Yes it's extremely dangerous," Capt. Pike said.

If you have to pull off to the side, Capt. Pike says there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. First and most importantly, pull of to the right and as far off the road as possible. Turn on your hazard lights. Put a towel or shirt in your window to let other drivers know you are having problems. And then, get as far away from the car as possible.

"You can take every precaution you can and there is still a chance someone will get hurt," noted Capt. Pike.

Among the culprits are the infamous rubber-neckers. Capt. Pike says the moth-to-a-flame theory holds true on the highway and can be deadly. "People tend to drift towards blue lights and the towards objects they are looking at," he said. "We hope and pray it does not happen, but it does happen all too often."

If you do have to pull over, remember to avoid emergency lanes on bridges, intersections, ramps and bends in the highway.

The emergency lane rules change a bit when it is raining out. Capt. Pike says slow down, turn your flashers on and do not pull over until the rain stops.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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