Car breakdowns along highways are dangerous

November 22, 2011 10:00:00 PM PST
Thirty-eight million Americans are traveling by road this holiday weekend, but we have a story that could save your life or someone else's. In the last 24 hours, three people have been hit by vehicles while working on cars broken down along Houston highways.

A lot of us are taking trips this Thanksgiving weekend -- some are longer, others shorter. And though we never really plan for a breakdown, they've already happened this week and it's not clear that everybody knows what to do.

It's was about 3:15pm Wednesday, and holiday traffic began ramping up around Houston. So did the accidents.

"What was happening was the driver of the silver Honda was working under the hood of his vehicle when the other Toyota Camry struck him from behind," SkyEye HD reporter Andy Bass said.

The driver of the broken down vehicle was working on his car in a lane of traffic and it cost him.

Less than 24 hours earlier, the same scene played out in northwest Houston. A man and his friend working on his vehicle on the frontage road were struck by another driver, and of them one was killed.

"Do not attempt to fix your vehicle on the freeway," HPD vehicular crimes investigator Danh Nguyen said.

Nguyen says many times, other drivers are simply too distracted to react.

"We don't pay attention to broken down vehicles on the freeway and the service road," he said.

And wrecker driver Bob Ferguson has seen it all. He says during a break down, the safest measure is hitting your hazards and pulling off the shoulder into the grass.

"Be sensitive to what your car is doing, and when you see it giving you trouble, immediately get it off; get it off to the side, so you're not stuck in that situation where you're in the middle," Ferguson said.

And if your car starts failing and you contemplate trying to save money, you're risking too much, Ferguson said.

"The best case scenario is get off the freeway completely. To heck with the rim. So what you have to buy a rim, it's not worth losing your life over," he said.

The driver who struck on Highway 288 Wednesday afternoon was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital via LifeFlight. His condition is unknown.

HPD says call 911 and a wrecker and or officer will make the scene to help you.

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