Understanding Highway Shoulder Safety

Highway shoulders — intended as a refuge in vehicular emergencies — paradoxically harbor significant hazards. Their proximity to fast-moving traffic renders them zones of peril, where even a minor error can lead to catastrophic consequences. Pulling over onto the shoulder, ostensibly for safety, can expose individuals to a myriad of risks.

Proximity Risk

Merely being near a highway elevates the risk of collision. Speeding vehicles pose an ever-present threat. Pedestrians and stranded motorists confront the harsh reality that a split-second mistake by a passing vehicle could result in devastating injury or worse.

Collision Vulnerability

Slowing down to pull over amplifies the risk of collisions. The sudden deceleration of a vehicle on the shoulder can catch following drivers off guard, leading to rear-end or side-swipe accidents. Careless or distracted drivers pose an additional threat, compounding the dangers faced by those on the shoulder.

Debris Hazard

High-speed traffic generates wind shear, propelling debris towards the shoulder at alarming speeds. What may seem like innocuous roadside litter can become projectiles, endangering pedestrians and parked vehicles alike.

Re-entry Challenges

Exiting the highway safely is only half the battle. Re-entering presents its own set of risks, as vehicles must merge back into fast-moving traffic. Navigating this transition safely requires careful timing and situational awareness to avoid collisions and ensure a smooth return to the flow of traffic.

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John Edwards and his staff are excellent. They took the time to explain the process completely and worked hard to ensure I would get the most out of my settlement. John is a very caring lawyer who cares more about his cleint then the possible gain from the end results. He was able to work with my health insurance company to lower their reimbursement to the lowest possible amount and even ensured I would be taken care of with future claims by waiving co-pays for my shoulder and neck injury.

Lee Morris

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Sarah Brown

Charlie Hepworth provided excellent legal services to my husband and I. In 2015, I was struck by a semi-truck on the connector and spent five weeks in the hospital. Charlie was referred to us by a friend and we were so fortunate to have him on board. He was compassionate, knowledgeable, highly experienced, and guided us every step of the way. We are pleased with the outcome and having Charlie on our team certainly made the long process of recovery a bit easier.

Guy H.

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Guy H.

Emergency Stops Only

Reserve highway shoulder stops for genuine emergencies. Parking on the shoulder without valid cause significantly increases the risk of accidents, particularly during low-visibility conditions or periods of heavy traffic. Exercise caution and discretion when considering whether to pull over onto the shoulder.

Flat Tire Protocol

In the event of a flat tire, resist the urge to stop immediately, especially if it means parking on the shoulder. Continuing to the nearest exit minimizes the risk of being struck by passing vehicles and ensures the safety of all occupants. While the prospect of further damage to the vehicle may be concerning, it pales in comparison to the potential consequences of stopping on the shoulder.

Visibility and Warning

Maximize visibility to other drivers by activating hazard lights and, if available, deploying flares or reflective markers. Enhancing the visibility of both the vehicle and its occupants reduces the likelihood of collisions and provides crucial warning to approaching drivers.

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Move Over Laws

When approaching a vehicle on the shoulder, adhere to move over laws whenever possible. Safely changing lanes allows for ample space between passing vehicles and those parked on the shoulder, minimizing the risk of collisions and ensuring the safety of roadside occupants.

Collaborative Efforts for Safer Roads

By collaborating with stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels, we can all strive to implement evidence-based strategies and best practices that address the root causes of highway shoulder accidents. Whether it’s advocating for improved infrastructure, enhanced law enforcement efforts, or increased public awareness campaigns, the community must be committed to effecting positive change and making our roads safer for everyone.

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The Importance of Public Awareness

Public awareness plays a crucial role in preventing highway shoulder accidents. Educating drivers about the risks associated with highway shoulders, as well as the importance of safe driving practices and adherence to move over laws, can help reduce the incidence of accidents and save lives. Targeted awareness campaigns and educational initiatives aim to empower individuals with the knowledge and resources they need to make informed decisions on the road.

Investing in Roadway Infrastructure

Investing in roadway infrastructure is another key component of our efforts to improve highway safety. By upgrading shoulders, installing guardrails, improving signage, and implementing other safety measures, we can create safer environments for motorists, pedestrians, and roadside workers alike.

The Role of Technology in Safety

Advancements in technology also hold promise for improving highway safety. From automated emergency braking systems to advanced driver assistance systems, technology has the potential to mitigate the risk of accidents and save lives on our roadways.
Empowering Victims of Highway Shoulder Accidents
At Hepworth Holzer, LLP, we believe in empowering victims of highway shoulder accidents to assert their legal rights and seek justice. Our team is dedicated to providing compassionate support and experienced legal guidance to individuals and families affected by these tragic events. We stand ready to fight for the rights of our clients and hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.

Continued Commitment to Excellence

As a leading personal injury law firm, Hepworth Holzer, LLP remains steadfast in our commitment to excellence, integrity, and justice. We are proud to serve as advocates for the injured and voice for the voiceless, tirelessly pursuing justice on behalf of our clients. With Hepworth Holzer, LLP on your side, you can trust that your case will receive the attention, care, and dedication it deserves.
Highway shoulder safety is a critical issue that demands our collective attention and action. By understanding the risks, advocating for change, and empowering individuals with knowledge and resources, we can create safer roadways for all.  Together, we can make a difference.