Fremont Driver Killed in Rear End Bridge Accident: Safety Tips if Your Vehicle is disabled on a Freeway or Bridge

rear end accidentOn June 14, 2011 a Fremont man lost his life when his car was involved in a rear end accident on the Dumbarton Bridge. Terrence Abdullah, was traveling westbound on the Dumbarton bridge when his vehicle stalled. After his car stalled, a car driven by Roberto Lopez slammed into the rear of Mr. Abdullah’s car. Mr. Abdullah died at the scene.

The report did not give an explanation as to why Mr. Lopez did not see the stalled vehicle in front of him. The accident occurred at 4:00 p.m. and there were no reported visibility problems. Although the accident is still under investigation, normally someone who rear ends a stopped vehicle, such as happened here, is legally responsible for personal injuries and or the wrongful death of the other driver.

When a car stalls on the road, the police and insurance investigation will also center on why the vehicle stalled. If the car simply ran out of gas or there were foreseeable mechanical problems with the car, the driver of the stalled car can be held comparatively liable for his own injuries or death. Comparative fault reduces the amount of recovery that a negligent person might otherwise recover by the percentage of fault that he contributed to his own accident. In the case of a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s percentage of fault would reduce the amount of recovery by his family.

As a Fremont personal injury lawyer, I have seen many rear end type personal injury accidents over the years. Some of the most serious involve accidents like this Fremont accident on the Dumbarton bridge where a car stalls on a high speed roadway. It’s a real dilemma for drivers to decide whether to stay in their car or vacate. There are several safety tips that you should consider if your car stalls on the freeway.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, if your car stalls on a freeway you should do the following:

Safely pull to the right shoulder if possible.
If you must exit the car, you should get out of the car on the right side away from traffic.
Wait in your car, with your seatbelt on, while you wait for assistance.
It is a good idea to not set your brake if on flat land and leave the car in neutral. This will lessen the impact forces if you are struck from behind.

If you cannot pull to the shoulder, or if there is no shoulder area, you should put on your hazard lights and exit your vehicle. However, you should stay safely away from the car and other moving traffic. Do not attempt to run across lanes of traffic on the freeway. The California Highway Patrol recommends standing 150 feet in front of your vehicle on the catwalk area if stalled on a bridge.

Other tips recommended by the AAA, are: don’t try and fix your car yourself. Be careful not to place flares in any area where they might ignite flammable material such as roadside debris, dry grass, etc. Before leaving on your trip, make sure you have plenty of gas. Carry emergency materials such as flares, flashlights, warning triangles, and reflector vests. It’s good to carry these items inside your car as you do not want to have to go to the back of your car and open the trunk while your car is stuck in traffic.

Some of the most serious car accidents I have seen over twenty-eight years of representing personal injury victims are those where someone has broken down on a high speed freeway. By using these tips mentioned above, you and your family can lessen the risk of serious injury or death if your car breaks down on the freeway.

Resources:

Oakland Tribune, Fremont man killed in Dumbarton Bridge accident, June 14, 2011

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