Pulling Over Safely

A man was recently killed on the Florida Turnpike after pulling his vehicle to the side of the road into an emergency lane, according to a report from Orlando’s ABC 9 WFTV News.  After pulling over his car to the side of the road, the driver, a 58-year-old male, was attempting to exit his vehicle through the driver’s side door when another car drove into the emergency lane, striking both the man and his car, according to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), and nearly ripping the door off its hinges.  Although EMS was called, the man died on the scene from his injuries before he could be revived, according to the FHP.

This tragedy serves as a sobering reminder to Florida motorists to be as careful as possible when pulling over to the side of the road and that they should only do so in situations where absolutely necessary.  Although there is a law which requires Florida motorists to move over a lane or reduce their speed when an emergency, law enforcement, tow truck, or certain other types of vehicles are pulled over to the side of the road, there is no similar law which requires passing cars to pull over a lane or reduce their speed when a regular motorist has pulled to the side of a highway as in this instance.  Therefore, it is essentially up to motorists to ensure their own safety when they are pulled over to the side of the road in Florida.

Florida’s Move Over Law for Emergency Vehicles and Law Enforcement

 Florida’s Move Over Law requires that drivers move over a lane for stopped law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility vehicles, and tow trucks.  If a driver cannot move over a lane, the motorist is required to slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.  A violation of the Move Over Law is a non-criminal traffic infraction, meaning it can result in a fine, fees, and points on your driving record but not criminal charges.

Staying Careful if You Are Required to Pull to the Side of the Road

 Unfortunately, Florida’s Move Over Law does not apply if someone in a normal passenger vehicle is pulled over to the side of the road on either a freeway, highway, or regular road.  Therefore, if you get a flat tire while traveling on I-95 and need to pull over into the emergency lane in order to change your tire, other motorists are not required to change lanes or slow down when passing you.  This can leave you exposed in a very dangerous situation, particularly if you are pulled over on the side of a busy freeway or road with a high speed limit like the Florida Turnpike.

If you absolutely have to pull your vehicle over when you are on a freeway in which cars are passing by at high speeds in the Sunshine State, then be as careful as possible.  If there is any chance that you can make it to the next exit and turn off the highway, then please do so.  The vehicles that are passing you by are going 70 mph and, if you are in the driver’s side of your vehicle and need to exit your vehicle, then you are stepping onto the road just a few feet from vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed.  It goes without saying that this can be an extremely dangerous situation, so it is imperative that you check to make sure no cars are present if you absolutely have to pull over to the side of the road to deal with an emergency.

Contact the Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys of Schwed, Adams & McGinley

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley want to make sure that all Florida drivers are safe on the roads, including in situations where it is necessary to pull to the side of the road to change a flat tire or deal with some other sort of emergency.  At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined practice representing victims of all sorts of motor vehicle accidents.  We have represented thousands of people who were injured in motor vehicle accidents, including motorists injured by someone who was not paying attention when one of our clients was pulled over on the side of the road to deal with a flat tire or a similar emergency.   Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident because of another motorist’s carelessness when you were pulled over to the side of the road, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.