Vehicles on the side of the road in Tennessee and Georgia

Drove down I-24 and I-75 last week, and noticed what seemed to be a relatively large number of vehicles on the side of the road, frequently with the dayglo orange or green stickers that I assume say “Move this vehicle within XX hours or it will be considered abandoned and towed away.”

Driving on I-65 in Indiana or I-57 in Illinois, I’m not sure if I saw even one such vehicle over about 300 miles, but driving across Tennessee, Georgia and even Florida, I saw several dozen over roughly the same distance. My wife noticed it, too.

There were many more than I remember having ever seen driving in any other state.

What might explain this? This was before the storms last week.

Not familiar with those midwest interstates, but maybe it’s the traffic volume?

More cars using the interstate is going to equal more breaking down and sitting on the shoulder. I know I-75, heading to and from Atlanta has a shit-ton of traffic.

Different states and areas within states are more aggressive about removing abandoned vehicles than others. Some don’t even bother with the “move before…” stickers and tow abandoned vehicles on sight.

Although I suppose also if I were driving a mechanically iffy car, I’d be more likely to attempt a long highway trip in December in Florida than I would in Illinois.

I might also guess that whoever is assigned to tow away the abandoned cars in Tennessee and Georgia doesn’t get to it as quickly as in Illinois or Indiana.

The last flight into Dallas I noticed this when looking down at the interstate highways from about the Oklahoma border southward. “Lots” of cars seemingly abandoned on the road, something not seen often in Minnesota. Higher traffic volumes? Truly abandoned cars? Or I guessed that cars in Texas were more poorly maintained and just break down more.

My wife and I were in Atlanta over Halloween weekend and I noticed the same thing. There aren’t just a lot of cars on the side of the highway, there is a shitload of them! And most had the orange warning stickers. We’ve been all over the USA and we’ve never seen anything like that.

I was on the highway unit of a major metropolitan Sheriffs office for 21 of my 25 years there. Even on heavily traveled freeways there just isn’t that big of volume of cars that break down.

So, while I can’t answer the OP, I can back him up that the number of cars was huge and this is very irregular.

Tennessean here and I can’t say I’ve ever seen many abandoned vehicles. It’s rare to see one on the 20 miles of interstate I travel every day and they’re never there 2 days in a row. A year ago, I was working at a job that required a 300 mile round trip on I-75 every couple of weeks and I don’t recall seeing any. I wasn’t exactly looking for them and I’m sure there were some, but several dozen would have definitely caught my attention.

I believe you, but I’m wondering if it’s temporary, like maybe we don’t tow them as much around the holidays or something.

I see this a fair bit more often on some roads around the festive season. Though not as much as OP states in terms of raw car numbers.

One explanation may be a recent sting over the course of one or two nights by police, where they aggressively target certain areas for drunk driving (amongst other things). Drunk driving is somewhat unique in that it often means the car is left on the side of the road as the driver is not able to drive it home, if no one else is with them. It also might mean a delay of a couple days before the driver can rustle up the reinforcements to go collect.

In my experience, the police will NEVER leave a car on a public highway if they arrested the driver.
If the driver managed to pull onto private property while being pulled over, the officer may ask someone if it can be left there, or may just ask the driver if he wants it left there. But if the car is on the side of the road, a tow truck will be called to impound the vehicle, and the officer will not leave the scene until the car is towed away.
I assume this is because the police are technically responsible for the safety of the vehicle, since they took the driver away.
Two things that occurred to me about cars on the side of the road:

  1. in states that are likely to see snow, they will be more aggressive about keeping the shoulders clear.

  2. I can imagine people just might park by the side of a rural highway before walking into the woods to go hunting. Sure, you aren’t supposed to park there, and you probably aren’t allowed to hunt on that land unless you own it, but some people don’t care much about such things.