OLD LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — The accident which shut down I-95 in Old Lyme for several hours was such a tragedy state police are now hoping to try to prevent those types of accidents in the future by driving home the point of just how dangerous it is to pull over on the side of a highway.
They released a YouTube video showing a dangerously close call captured on a state police dashcam. It shows two people standing near a guardrail behind a car in the shoulder of a highway when another vehicle smashes right into the back of the car narrowly missing the people.
Investigators say they are seeing more and more of these accidents and unfortunately seeing tragic scenes like they did on Thursday in Old Lyme where a Middletown mother was struck and killed by an 18 wheeler along I-95 when she got out of her car to check on a child in a back seat.
The Department of Transportation says the stretch of I-95 between Old Lyme and Waterford which has been the scene of several accidents isn’t any more dangerous than any other highway in the state and says most accidents are due to driver error like speeding and following too closely.
“Yes driver error, always driver error yes,” says East Lyme First Selectman Mark Nickerson. “The highway didn’t come up and run a car off the road but it exposes the driver error in this stretch.”
Nickerson says that stretch of highway is a hazard.
“It gets narrow, the shoulders are substandard, there’s not enough room on the side of the highway which is the tragedy that happened yesterday,” says Nickerson.
He believes the highway needs to be straightened out in some spots.
“Curves and hills and some blind spots where you can’t see a half mile in front of you so the traffic stops short and there’s a lot of volume,” says Nickerson.
He points out the merge of I-95 and I-395 which is one focus of a Department of Transportation study to improve this highway and others.
“We need at least one more lane and as we’re approaching 395 and the split between the two highways we need four lanes there,” says Nickerson.
The DOT tells News8 its CHAMP patrols which help disabled motorists stopped three times Friday to offer help but turns out none of the three cars were disabled. The drivers had just pulled over on the side of the highway for other reasons.