HIGH-SPEED traffic accidents continue to mount. Here's a...

SALMAGUNDI

September 07, 1995

HIGH-SPEED traffic accidents continue to mount. Here's a recent tragedy, recounted in the Aug. 30 Cecil Whig:

"What are the odds that one among thousands of cars traveling a highway will veer off onto the shoulder and strike the only car for miles parked along the roadway? A million-to-one? A thousand-to-one? Never happen?

"It did happen Sunday night on I-95 between North East and Elkton. A Philadelphia man was killed and several other persons injured when his rental car was rammed by a car that drifted onto the shoulder.

"Leon Morris was standing behind the car, getting a diaper from the trunk to change an 11-month-old child. Police believe the other driver fell asleep.

"Sunday's accident was strikingly similar to another on I-95 in May. A Florida woman was killed while standing alongside her disabled pickup truck. Police believe the driver of the other vehicle also may have fallen asleep.

"Sunday's fatal crash could have been avoided if the victim had followed one of the most important rules of the road. Motorists should stop for only the most serious of emergencies. Routine stops should be made at rest stops or after exiting the interstate.

"It's also very important that drivers use the rest areas for just that -- to rest -- when they feel sleepy or overly tired.

"What if you must stop, because of a flat tire or mechanical breakdown?

"First, park as far as possible from the traveled portion of the highway and mark the vehicle with emergency flashers, flares, reflectors, and the like. If you leave the vehicle, avoid walking or standing behind it or on the traffic side. Passengers probably would be kept safest some distance from the car.

"Our highways do not carry guarantees that you will always be safe. The risk is always there. You can improve your odds by remembering what can happen and driving to avoid it."

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