An Apopka teenager was killed recently when struck by a car while standing on the shoulder of the Florida Turnpike.
The victim had reportedly been in a fender bender crash in the northbound lanes and had pulled over to the side of the road. He apparently got out of his car to assess the damage and talk to those in the other involved car, then walked back to his car to put on the emergency flashers. While standing on the passenger side of his car on the shoulder of the road, another car ran off the road and struck him.
The other driver allegedly told police that she had fallen asleep behind the wheel. At the time of this writing, the crash is under investigation.
The combination of standing on the side of the road because of a disabled vehicle and another driver falling asleep proved lethal for this high school senior.
A recent report from the Governor's Highway Safety Association found that driving with a lack of sleep can actually simulate blood-alcohol consumption at certain levels. In fact, a driver who hasn't rested for 21 hours can act like someone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% - the legal DUI limit.
Those at risk for drowsy driving include commercial vehicle operators, college students, overworked health care workers and individuals with sleep apnea.
Avoid driving when sleepy:
- Don't drive if your medications warn of drowsiness.
- Avoid driving at times that you would normally be sleeping.
- When on long trips, take a break every 2 hours. Walk around a bit and get a cup of coffee.
- You can't fight sleepiness while driving, not even by making the music louder or opening a window. Take a break instead.
- Don't drink and drive - even 1 drink.
What To Do If You Are Stuck at the Side of the Road
The victim of this tragic accident appeared to have done the best he could to remove his car from traffic, but it wasn't enough to keep him safe. If your car breaks down:
- Put on your car's hazard lights immediately and pull onto the shoulder if it can be done safely.
- Leave headlights on and put on the dome light inside the car for greater visibility.
- If you have emergency reflective triangles, put them behind the car but only if this can be done safely.
- Raise the hood of the vehicle to indicate you need help if you can do it safely.
- Don't stand behind or next to your car.
- Exit the vehicle only in low traffic or residential areas. It's best to stay inside the car.
- Call 911 for help or the highway vehicle safety number if available.
You can find a lot more information including what emergency equipment to keep in your car in the AAA brochure What to Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down.
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If you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident or has experienced another type of personal injury, you may be able to get compensation for your injuries. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Tony Francis, personal injury attorney at The Francis Law Group in Orlando, will fight to get you the compensation that you and your family deserve. You can reach us at 407-363-9939 or contact us via the website.