HIGHWAY safety for stranded motorists

Wednesday, August 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Rush-hour traffic turned deadly for a stranded motorist Tuesday morning. It happened on a ramp at the Broken Arrow Expressway and Sheridan Road.

Police believe the man was walking to get help. News on Six's Tami Marler offers some tips on highway safety. Think about getting on the Broken Arrow Expressway in rush-hour traffic. Now add to that a pedestrian on the roadway - and you have a deadly mix. Tulsa Police Sgt R A Mann, "He crossed the on-ramp while he was walking and was struck by a vehicle that was attempting to merge onto the BA expressway. The driver observed the pedestrian, but the point in time that he attempted, for some unknown reason the pedestrian ran out in front of him, so apparently the pedestrian failed to observe the vehicle."

When traffic is moving along at 50 or more miles per hour, stranded motorists can be sitting targets. But you can minimize the risks if you break down. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper George Brown, "If at all possible, limp the vehicle to an area that uh that you have a wide shoulder, that you can get off the interstate. Cell phone users, definitely make that call to *55, which will get through to your local highway patrol headquarters." And, Trooper George Brown says, stay in the car if it's far enough off the shoulder. If you can't, "We encourage people to exit out the passenger side, away from traffic. And if you have to take a pedestrian route, make sure that it's away from the interstate."

And don't ever cross a highway on foot. From a distance, you can't judge the speed of cars coming toward you, so it's hard to tell whether you have the time.

To give you an idea of just how dangerous these areas can be. An average of 200 construction workers are killed on the nation's roadways each year. 20,000 are injured on the job. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control. A total of 9 Oklahoma highway patrol troopers have been killed during routine traffic stops.