Stressed Woman on the side of the road after a car accident

Every year, people are seriously injured or killed on roadways. Surprisingly, many have parked on the shoulder or worse, exited their vehicle on the shoulder or on the roadway itself, prior to being impacted. In some cases, stopped vehicles or pedestrians on the roadway cause other cars to collide.

PLEASE don’t become or cause one of those statistics.

To avoid injury or death on Alberta’s roadways, our car accident lawyers have put together a few tips to keep you safe:

1. Don’t stop on the shoulder.

Stopping on the shoulder of a highway is incredibly dangerous, especially at night!   Because of dark and fatigue, other drivers often cannot see what is on the shoulder. If they can, they often brake suddenly and cause mayhem behind them. Even with your flashers on, you are causing a hazard.

 2. Drive to the nearest exit.

We have always been warned about damaging our vehicles by driving on a flat tire. I am warning you about damaging or killing yourself sitting on the side of the road in that stopped vehicle or worse, getting out and trying to change the tire. If another car strikes your vehicle or worse, you directly, the cost of that rim damage won’t seem to matter.

If you’re in a motor vehicle accident, snap a quick photo of the other driver’s license plate and license, THEN PULL OFF OF THE ROAD. If possible, enter a nearby parking lot or exit. 

Even if you are stopped by a police car, insist on taking the next exit.

3. Pull as far off the road as possible.

If you MUST stop on the shoulder for an emergency, pull over as far as you can. If the slope and surface are safe, don’t hesitate to pull right into the ditch. 

4. Make your vehicle visible.

Warn other motorists that you are stopped by turning on your hazard lights. Make sure your car lights are clean so the blinking of the hazards can be seen from a distance. If you have flares or cones, use them as well.

5. Find safety.

If you have no choice but to stop and you are on a high-speed road, you and your passengers should consider exiting the vehicle and standing well away, in safety. Climb over the guardrail if there happens to be one, and wait on the other side. If you are in an accident, pull off on the shoulder but get away from the roadway and vehicles if possible.

6. Pass in the far lane.

Whenever possible, you should move over to the next lane if there is a vehicle on the shoulder. Proceed with caution, watching for activity around the stopped vehicle.  If a police or emergency vehicle is on the shoulder with flashing lights, the law requires you to move over to the next lane and slow. This maneuver creates a backlash of danger on the highway as a busy highway will feel the impact of a slowing line of traffic long before the cause is in view. Don’t slow down more than you are required and speed up as soon as you pass. It is an extreme variance in speed that creates the biggest driving hazard.

7. Contact a motor vehicle attorney.

If you have been injured while on the shoulder, while out of your vehicle, or for any reason, contact Robinson’s car accident lawyers for a free consultation. We have years of experience with car accident claims throughout Alberta and can help you get the compensation you deserve. 

This article was originally published on November 17th, 2015 and was updated in October 2019.

  • robinson lawyer
    As a residential realtor, I need to be positioned to act with high energy in a moment’s notice, putting in unpredictably long hours while staying focused and mentally engaged as a strong negotiator. Robinson LLP emphasized the need to seek physiotherapy treatment as my doctor advised. My lawyer ensu…
    Janey Ochotsky RealtorRoyal LePage Noralta Real Estate

The Recovery Team

Why choose Robinson LLP? Click to listen