What To Do If Your Car Becomes Disabled On I-75 In Sarasota: Essential Safety Tips
Few things are as stressful as experiencing a vehicle breakdown, especially when you're on a bustling highway like I-75 in a busy stretch of road like between Clark and Bee Ridge. As an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sarasota Florida, I am well aware of the hazards you may encounter and the impact such situations can have on your safety and legal rights, particularly if an accident occurs. With that in mind, I would like to share several crucial steps to keep yourself safe and protect your interests in these challenging circumstances.
If Possible Maneuver Your Car Safely Off the Road And Far Enough Away From Speeding Traffic
The moment your vehicle starts to malfunction, your priority should be to steer it towards the right-hand shoulder of the highway, if possible. Maintain control over your steering, signal your intentions, and be careful to avoid abrupt maneuvers that could confuse other drivers.
If your car becomes disabled, turn on your hazard lights and, if possible, move your car to the side of the highway or out of traffic. Florida law requires drivers to clear the regular traffic flow. If your vehicle is entirely non-operational, make every reasonable effort to move it, which could include waving down fellow drivers, contacting roadside assistance, or reaching out to Florida Highway Patrol Road Ranger Service Patrol (*347). However do not expose yourself to being hit by oncoming traffic. It is very common for drivers to exit a vehicle on the right shoulder and then be hit by highway traffic in the right lane.
Take stock of your situation and the flow of traffic. Consider whether your car is visible to others and whether it's causing a traffic backup. Keep in mind that the roadside can be dangerous; even a vehicle pulled off onto a grassy patch isn't completely safe.
Make Your Stranded Vehicle Visible
After you've secured your position off the roadway, activate your vehicle's hazard lights to warn other drivers of your presence. If it's nighttime or the visibility conditions are poor, you might also want to leave your interior light on. If available, place reflective triangles or flares about 50 feet behind your vehicle for added visibility.
Connect with the Florida Highway Patrol by dialing *FHP (*347) on your mobile phone, or get in touch with a roadside assistance service if you have a subscription. Make sure you're ready to provide details about your location, including any mile markers or recognizable landmarks.
Stay Inside the Vehicle
Unless absolutely necessary, it's safer to stay inside your vehicle while waiting for help. Your car's interior provides a layer of protection against other vehicles that might unintentionally drift off the road. If you absolutely must leave your vehicle, do so from the passenger side to avoid the rush of oncoming traffic.
Once off the roadway, stay in or near your vehicle until help arrives. Use a help flag, reflectors, or other signals like a popped hood or a white cloth tied to your driver’s side window to alert passersby to your predicament.
Inform Your Insurance Provider
Reach out to your auto insurance provider as soon as you can to report the incident. They can walk you through any necessary steps and begin the claims process if your car has sustained damage.
Document the Incident
Should your car be damaged or if you suffer injuries in any way, it's important to take photos and document what transpired. This could be invaluable if you need to file an insurance claim or pursue legal action.
Seek Legal Advice from a Personal Injury Lawyer
If your vehicle's breakdown leads to an accident, or if you suffer injuries due to another driver's negligence while waiting for help, don't hesitate to consult a personal injury lawyer. They can offer advice on the best course of action and ensure that your legal rights remain protected.
Dealing with a vehicle breakdown can indeed be a nerve-racking experience, but understanding the right actions to take can significantly contribute to your safety and the protection of your legal rights.
As a personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh in Florida, my commitment is to navigate you through these intricate situations, providing you with the necessary guidance to protect your interests during such vulnerable moments.