How to stay safe on the road: tips for drivers and Good Samarita

How to stay safe on the road: tips for drivers and Good Samaritans

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"The side of the road is a very unsafe place. Whether you are the one stopped in the vehicle or you are the person helping them, it's a very unsafe place," said Stephanie Milani with AAA Tennessee. "The side of the road is a very unsafe place. Whether you are the one stopped in the vehicle or you are the person helping them, it's a very unsafe place," said Stephanie Milani with AAA Tennessee.
You can reach a HELP truck by calling *THP. TDOT said drivers should also carry a bright vest with them. You can reach a HELP truck by calling *THP. TDOT said drivers should also carry a bright vest with them.
By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's happened twice in just a few days. A car broke down, someone stops to help, and then another driver comes by and crashes into the stopped cars.

The latest incident happened early Wednesday morning around 1 a.m. on Callahan Drive. Britt Guess wound up in the hospital with two broken legs. The driver accused of hitting him faces careless driving and other charges.

Previous story: Man injured after being smashed between two cars in Knoxville

It was much the same Sunday morning in a crash along I-40, but two people were killed and a third person has serious injuries. The driver blamed in that crash faces vehicular homicide charges.

Previous story: Loved ones of victims in weekend I-40 fatal crash in West Knoxville devastated by loss

These crashes prompted us to ask - how can you protect yourself? And what should other drivers be doing?

The experts say safety on the roads is everyone's responsibility, whether your car breaks down, you stop to help someone else, or you're just driving by.

Good Samaritan Tim Long told 6 News almost as soon as he pulled over to help a young couple pushing their car up Callahan Drive, his red pick-up was hit from behind by Jennifer Roberts in a red PT Cruiser. The impact pushed Long's truck into the silver Acura he had stopped to help, pinning the Acura's driver in between and breaking his legs.

Roberts told 6 News the wreck wasn't her fault because the cars were in the road with no lights on. Long said both cars had their flashers on and KPD calls the area well lit.

"The side of the road is a very unsafe place. Whether you are the one stopped in the vehicle or you are the person helping them, it's a very unsafe place," said Stephanie Milani with AAA Tennessee.

If you're having trouble, she says drive your car over as far from traffic as possible.

"You may think, 'Oh well I'll just turn my flashers on.' But if your car isn't running, those flashers might not be running as well. You might want to carry some flares or some triangles and put those at the back of your vehicle," Milani said.

"Inside the vehicle on the shoulder is the safest place for you to be," said David Leake, who drives one of the HELP trucks for TDOT.

The service is free and responds to stranded cars on most major highways.

"Make sure the spare tire is good and you have a working flashlight," Leake said.
 
He knows people who pull over to help have good intentions, but he says everyone's safety should come first.

"If you want to help somebody and you see they're stranded, notify somebody," Leake said.

You can reach a HELP truck by calling *THP. TDOT said drivers should also carry a bright vest with them. And even though it's only law that you have to move over for emergency and utility vehicles, both our experts recommend you do the same for any vehicles you see on the side of the road.
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