Understanding the Consequences of Abandoned Vehicles on Public Roads in Maryland

Sometimes, even the most careful and safe drivers experience unavoidable risks while on the road. After all, there is only so much a safe driver can do if others are negligent when operating their vehicles. Although negligence from other drivers can take on many forms, one of the most dangerous is when a driver’s negligence leaves obstacles or hazards on the road that are not immediately clear to drivers in oncoming traffic. Because this negligence can lead to often fatal accidents and consequences, those who are responsible must be held accountable.

According to a recent news report, a fatal tow truck accident left a mother of four dead and several others severely injured. Local authorities reported that the driver of a flatbed tow truck experienced a mechanical issue and stopped in the right lane of the interstate. The tow truck driver ended up getting a ride from someone else and abandoned his vehicle where it had stopped. Officials also reported that the tow truck driver, at the time that he was driving, was operating his vehicle on a suspended license. Later, a separate driver crashed into the abandoned tow truck, which killed his wife and severely injured both his 14 and nine-year-old daughters. Following the crash, both vehicles came to rest in a ditch. The accident remains under investigation.

Although unexpected emergencies can take place without warning, safety officials recommend that drivers pull onto the shoulder when their vehicle comes to a stop. Rather than simply stopping in a lane with active traffic when your vehicle experiences low gas, a flat tire, or other mechanical issues, it is best to get off the active road to keep yourself and others safe.

If your vehicle still has power despite any mechanical issues, officials recommend turning on your hazard lights. This is especially important if your vehicle is stopped in the middle of active traffic. On an interstate, for example, where cars are often going as fast as 75 miles per hour, turning on your hazard lights can warn drivers who are approaching your stalled vehicle and prevent a violent accident from potentially taking place.

It is also important to remember that in Maryland, state Motor Vehicle Laws consider a vehicle abandoned when it has remained illegally on public property, like an interstate, for more than 48 hours. If the abandoned vehicle presents a traffic hazard, it will be towed as soon as possible.

When experiencing mechanical issues that may obstruct traffic, contacting law enforcement for assistance could also keep you and others on the road safe. Calling 911 immediately and letting them know where your car has stopped, what your vehicle looks like, and other pertinent details could help officials clear the area and tow the vehicle, set up markers, and prevent further accidents. If you see a potentially abandoned vehicle that could pose a danger to others, contacting law enforcement to notify them of the problem could also prevent other collisions.

Can an Accident Victim Sue a Driver Who Left Their Car on the Side of the Road?

Yes, abandoning a vehicle in a way that presents hazards to other motorists can form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit. The crux of any personal injury claim is negligence. Thus, if the driver who abandoned their vehicle did so in a negligent manner, they may be financially responsible for any resulting injuries.

Do You Need a Maryland Car Accident Attorney?

If you or someone you know was recently involved in a Maryland truck accident, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen today. Our lawyers have years of experience fighting for the injured and will work to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation today, contact us at 800-654-1949.

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