I just heard on the news about a woman whose car became disabled on the freeway. She pulled over onto the left shoulder. Having stopped, she ran accross the freeway to use a call box. Having placed her emergency call, she tried to run back to her car when she was hit and killed by oncoming traffic.
People pull to the left all the time. Not smart, but often traffic is too heavy to pull to the right. The chain on my motorcycle broke once and I was unable to move right and had to take the left shoulder. But many people only have flat tires. (I don’t know what the traffic conditions were at the time of this incident, nor even the time or freeway where it took place.) But it’s pretty freakin’ stupid to run across a freeway to use a call box. We do have the Highway Patrol and often people will use their cell phones to alert them. While the CHP are always on the lookout for disabled vehicles, we also have, in some places, the Metro Patrol. These are tow trucks that prowl the freeway to help disabled vehicles. The idea is to get them off of the road quickly so that traffic does not become snarled. (When my chain blew, a Metro truck was on the scene in about a minute.) Having reached the relative safety of the right shoulder, what would posess a person to run across the freeway again? I didn’t hear anything about a child in the car. Maybe it was too cold for her to stand in the open and she wanted to get someplace warm?
Now some parents or children or siblings or friends have lost a loved one. The driver of the car that hit her will have to live with the fact for the rest of his or her life (not to mention the property damage).
Please, people. If something is wrong with your car, move over into the right lane before it quits. If something sudden happens, like a blown tire, remember it’s better to shred the tire and possibly destroy the wheel than it is to die. Try to make it to an exit if you can. The CHP recommends that you stay in your vehicle. I’d like to suggest that you keep your seat belt on as well. There are times when you’ll want or need to get out (for example, you want to set out flares). Find a safe place. There was a guy whose car was disabled on the right shoulder and he climbed up an embankment to get away from it. The car was hit by a drunken driver, but he was well away from it. It’s a harder choice in the left lane, but you get the idea.