I do not know the details of the pedestrian who was struck on Route 288, but we passed through there after it had happened....

I do not know the details of the pedestrian who was struck on Route 288, but we passed through there after it had happened. From the little that I heard on the news, the individual who was struck and killed had been looking under the hood of his vehicle moments earlier. This is one tragedy of many that have happened on the side of a limited-access roadway. Traffic on routes 288 and 895 and interstates 85, 95, 64 and 295, the Chippenham and Powhite parkways and the Downtown Expressway, is heavy, and, in most cases, traveling above the posted speed limit. In my years of responding to these roadways, we saw every type of tragic or senseless thing that anyone can imagine. There is no place in the roadway, on the paved shoulder or even in the grass that is safe on these limited-access roadways. For the sake of this article, a limited-access roadway is one in which access onto and off is limited, making a driver have to travel to a location to access and exit these roads. I am going to say the same thing that I used to say to people when I was a firefighter. Do not stop on the shoulder of any limited-access road unless your car will not move. If you must stop on the shoulder, then pull off the roadway as far as possible. Exit the vehicle and move as close to the fence line as possible. If there is a guardrail, move to the other side of the guardrail.

If your car is still moving, put the emergency flashers on and attempt to get off the limited-access roadway. I do not care what damage occurs to your vehicle, whether to a rim or some other part, if you are able to get off the interstate or Route 288, then you have made things much safer for everyone in your vehicle.

If your car will not move and you are close to the travel lanes, exit the vehicle on the passenger side or the side away from the traffic. Being broken down in the median is even more dangerous than being broken down on the right shoulder of the road. All this mandates that you and your family have a plan to safely exit the vehicle and get your family to a safe place.

I do not want you to think that an accident will cause everyone to slow down and move over. There have been people who have survived an accident only to be killed by a car that comes along afterward. There are no safe zones on these roadways. You have got to be thinking of what might happen next.

I am going to conclude this with something that I wrote a while back called #Moveover. Police officers, firefighters and medics must work on these roadways every day. Their lights are flashing, cones are out, flares are lit and VDOT may have even gotten directional signs up, but there is still little to no safety. As I stated at the beginning, the traffic is heavy, and 9.9 times out of 10, the traffic is traveling faster than the posted speed limit. If you are traveling on these limited-access roadways, you must drive undistracted and completely aware of your surroundings. Give our public safety workers the widest berth possible.

Picture me standing on a stump, yelling, “Slow down!” People drive like maniacs, and even when they are driving like they have sense, accidents still occur.

You must not stop on the shoulder of a limited-access roadway unless you have no choice! If you must stop on the shoulder, your life is in danger as long as you are there. You must have a plan. Accidents will happen on limited-access roadways every day, especially during morning and evening rush hours, as well as bad and beautiful weather days.

That’s right, I remember going to accidents when there was not a cloud in the sky or any wind. Limited-access roadways are needed, but they are death traps. Give them your complete respect and attention!