Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Move Over!

Oregon is one of the majority states which require drivers to move over to the inner lanes, or at least slow down, when passing a 'roadside emergency'. This includes a work crew, or a disabled automobile, or a policeman who has pulled another driver to the side of the road.

The reason for this law is to avoid endangering people who are standing by the side of the road.

The law is not just 'A Good Idea', it's vital for the safety of people who necessarily find themselves standing beside the highway.

I lost a family member several years ago to this kind of accident. He was a member of a "Highway Crew" performing repairs on the roadway at night, in the rain, on a busy country road. A passing car hit him, dragged him, and tore his right leg off at the hip joint. He bled to death in seconds.

A more recent ... and better documented case ... is that of Oregon Police Lt. Clint Chrz (pronounced "Churz") who was on motorcycle patrol when he pulled over a passing automobile.

As he was talking to the drive, a following car ran into this motorcycle, which was parked near the driver-side rear bumper of the pulled-over car. The impact pushed the motorcycle into Lt. Chrz, hurling him down the highway to end up semi-conscious in the traffic lane. It was only good fortune and the quick-thinking of the next car to come along which allowed this 3rd driver to stop his car cross-wise in the traffic lane, protecting the policeman from being crushed by following traffic.

Go here to see the full description of the accident, including a video of the incident as recorded by Chrz's motorcycle-mounted camera.

If you find yourself on the highway approaching a set of warning lights on the roadside ... MOVE OVER!

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