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Breaking down on a busy road is never a pleasant experience. It is not only stressful, but also puts you at risk for a serious injury. Tuesday evening, a Novi, Michigan teen pulled off the interstate onto the shoulder. News reports state that he stepped out of his vehicle and was standing in the right lane of the road when another driver slammed into him. He died after being transported to a local hospital. My deepest sympathy goes out to this young man’s family and friends.

Currently, no charges have been filed against the driver of the other vehicle. Was she distracted by texting or talking on a cell phone? Was the teen standing in the lane or was he on the shoulder, on the left side of his car? Why did he pull over? There are so many unanswered questions.

What is known is that what happened to this teenager can happen to any of us. A vehicle breakdown can be a stressful experience and can dramatically increase the risk of serious injury or death. You try to maneuver your vehicle to the side of the road as other drives are sailing by. Even when you successfully get the vehicle on the side of the road, the danger does not dissipate. Drivers can be distracted or can drift hitting the side of your vehicle, or you if changing a tire or looking under the hood.

Obviously being stuck on the side of the interstate is not the safest place to be. Here are a few basic precautions you should follow if your car does break down.

· If possible, make your way over to the right side of the road and pull off on the shoulder as far as possible.

· It is best to stay in your vehicle and call for help. You are more protected inside the car.

· If you need to get out of the vehicle, wait until traffic has decreased. Pulling over and immediately hopping out of your vehicle is a recipe for disaster since the other drivers may not have enough time to get out of the way. Get far away from the vehicle quickly to avoid being hit by oncoming cars. Stand behind a barrier, if possible.

· Make sure you are visible to other vehicles.

· Turn on your hazards/emergency flashers immediately.

· Make sure all passengers get out the vehicle and stand at a safe distance from the road.

· Open the hood of the vehicle to warn other drivers. This will alert others that you need may assistance.

· Use the road safety cones and flares, if possible. Always keep these in the trunk of your vehicle. You never know when an emergency situation will arise.

· Never stand in front of or behind your vehicle in case it is hit by another driver.

Be prepared and knowledgeable. Don’t let the end results become more than repair bills.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Jasper

    Never having been much into technology I put off getting a mobile phone for years. But, being herangued by my kids, I conceded that it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I went out to the closest walmart and got us a cheap tracfone, with a small plan - no need for anything more. Lo and behold, our ford breaks down. Then I find out that I had to be more selective regarding the choice of phone - there were networks involved, and I had apparently chosen the wrong one. Fortunately we had friends driving behind us, en route to the same theatre, and they could help us. Let this serve as a warning to those who get a phone for emergency use - make sure it works when you need it to.

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