State Police: Don’t stop on highway shoulders if you can avoid it

Traffic backed up for miles on Interstate 95 in Old Lyme, December 1, 2016 (WTNH / Report-It / MarciaWM)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – A terrible accident on I-95 in Old Lyme has Connecticut State Police reminding drivers not to pull over onto the shoulder of the highway unless is a medical emergency, or your car is undriveable.

I-95 was closed for hours yesterday when a truck hit a woman that just got out of her car. The car was stopped on the shoulder. The woman was a mother, with her child in the back.

“Pulled over on that right shoulder to attend to her child,” explained State Police spokesman Trooper Tyler Weerden. “Got out of the vehicle and went on the driver’s side, which we never recommend – our troopers or civilians – you should never be on the driver’s side in the shoulder and a tractor trailer came by and unfortunately struck her.”

At the spot where it happened, the shoulder is barely wider than a car. State police say stopping there should be a last resort.

“Treat that shoulder as a travel lane because people fly down it, they get distracted, they’re texting and they swerve into it,” Weerden said.

The woman was killed yesterday on I-95 in Old Lyme, which is a stretch of road known for bad accidents. In one day in August of 2015, crashes on both sides of the road killed two people and sent 8 more to the hospital.
With narrow shoulders and nowhere to pull off, you have to think before stopping for just anything.

“Ask yourself, would I stop in a highway lane to take care of this issue?” said Weerden. “Your phone drops, your child’s crying, you need to re-set your GPS or send a text message.”

All of those things can wait. Only stop on the shoulder for a medical emergency, or if the car can’t move. If you do have to stop, Weerden says your best bet is to stay in the car. Your car is designed to withstand crashes. Your body is not.

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