Breakdown lanes on high-speed roadways provide a relatively safe place to park when you’re having car trouble. However, the key phrase here is “relatively safe” because, although your vehicle is out of the traffic flow, it’s only a few feet away from 65 mph cars and trucks. Anyone can stray onto the shoulder and crash into your car because of fatigue, distraction, intoxication, or even target fixation where a driver looking at you inadvertently steers his car in your direction.

When stopped on the shoulder for a lengthy period of time, the odds are good that many unsafe drivers will have already passed by you. Until your car trouble is resolved or your car is towed away, you aren’t entirely safe. Here are five breakdown lane tips for increasing your safety:

  • Don’t use the breakdown lane for frivolous reasons. If you aren’t having a mechanical problem that prevents you from safely operating your car, avoid using the breakdown lane. Taking a break, switching drivers, checking your wiper fluid reservoir, and other non-emergencies are best handled by getting off the interstate at an exit.
  • Park your car on the breakdown lane as far from the traffic as possible. The more space separating you from the traffic, the better. If your car can move, position it safely, even if that means driving on a flat tire.
  • Never stand in front or behind your car. Stand well off to the side opposite the traffic lane so that a vehicle collision with your car won’t affect you. If your car is close to the traffic lane and you must leave your car, exit from the side opposite the lane.
  • Be visible. Turn on your hazard lights, and if the lighting is poor, turn on your parking lights as well. Use road flares if you have them.
  • If you’re staying inside your car, wear your seatbelt.

Contact the lawyers at Hogan Injury if another motorist injured you in a crash.


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