A recent double fatality accident demonstrates the extreme hazards posed by automobiles breaking down on highways during night time hours.
On July 24, 2013 at 2:30 am, Anthony Lizza of Old Forge, PA, and Jeffrey Godeck of Moosic, PA, were stopped in the middle of the roadway on busy Interstate 81, just before the exit to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Apparently, the 2002 Ford minivan in which the two men were traveling had some sort of mechanical breakdown, which caused the vehicle to stop in the travel lanes. It is unknown at this time if the minivan had its emergency four way flashers turned on.
Shortly thereafter, a tractor trailer traveling northbound struck the stopped minivan in the rear. The impact sent both vehicles into the grassy center median between the north and south bound travel lanes of Interstate 81. Both Mr. Lizza and Mr. Godeck were killed, and it is unknown whether the truck driver was injured.
Night time breakdowns such as this are an extreme hazard, and motorists in a stopped vehicle must take extra measures to ensure their own safety. The most important thing that a stopped motorist can do is to engage their emergency, four way flashers. Without the flashers on, it is very difficult in darkness for an oncoming driver to perceive that a vehicle ahead of him is stopped.
Similarly, night time drivers need to drive with lowered speed and heightened alertness, to avoid striking stopped vehicles from the rear. It is completely within the control of an oncoming driver to drive at reasonable nighttime speeds and at a safe trailing distance. Doing so will enable an oncoming driver to perceive a vehicle is stopped ahead of him, and to react to that stopped vehicle by making a proper lane change or by coming to a safe stop. These types of rear end collisions are completely avoidable, if an oncoming driver takes proper care.
The Lietz Law Firm has handled a number of night time motor vehicle collision cases. Working with highly trained experts in the fields of visual perception and visual conspicuity, we have successfully reconstructed night time collisions and turned those incidents into winning claims.