JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a 25-year-old woman was hit and killed while checking her tires in an I-95 emergency lane, experts are offering advice on how drivers can stay safe if they have to pull over on a highway.
The experts said it's important to find a safe spot to pull over in a well-lit area and to use a reflector kit and a flashlight. Drivers can also wear reflective vests to help other drivers see them if it's dark.
Even with those safety measures, however, stopping on the side of the highway is dangerous, and experts said it's better to exit the interstate and pull into a parking lot if possible.
“All it takes is a split second, somebody gets distracted, whether it's an iPhone or whether they are looking at the radio or maybe they're looking at the baby or whatever, and they look off for a second -- a split second,” said Aaron Nelson, owner of Aaron's Car Care.
Nelson said it’s dangerous to pull over on a highway and that some cars come equipped with "run flat" tires
“On those particular tires, you can drive it for 50 or 60 miles, so you can definitely get somewhere safe off the road in a parking lot or whatever before you inspect it,” Nelson said.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said that if a driver has to pull over, he or she should get out on the side of the car that's not facing traffic.
“Once the hazard lights are on, you want to come to the back of the car and get your reflector kit,” Smith said. “Once you have your reflector, if you want to set it back behind the car at least 30 feet, the first one, that'll give drivers enough chance to understand that there is some type of problem. If you have another reflector, set it back another 40 to 50 feet behind that one.”
Smith said drivers should not stand in front of or behind the car for too long and should turn the steering wheel all the way in the direction away from traffic. That way, if the car is hit, it won't go out into the road.
Drivers can also call *347, and a Road Ranger will come and assist them in changing a tire or blocking off the area so a car can be safely towed away.