How to avoid a crash on the highway

"Sometimes there is not enough time to react because it is just there, but if you see something ahead of you, try to move away from that."

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – Authorities say it is always important to stay safe behind the wheel.

It is always important to expect the unexpected.

“We had a crash that involved two vehicles because one was stopped in the middle lane of traffic. We don’t expect a vehicle to be stopped in the middle of the lanes. That is not an expectation. You can be the best defensive driver in the world. That is something very unusual and it is very hard to prepare for and hard to avoid, if you can’t see it,” North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind said.

You may not always be able to avoid a crash, you can take preventive measures to reduce the risk of getting into one.

“Sometimes there is not enough time to react because it is just there, but if you see something ahead of you, if you can tell where it is at, try to move away from that, whether that is slowing down and moving lanes. If it is a vehicle that broke down on the side of the road or emergency responder on the side of the road, the state law does require you to move over. If you can’t move over, you have to slow down and safely pass that,” Niewind said.

Keeping up on regular vehicle maintenance can also prevent accidents.

“Especially in our winter months and when it is really really hot out. Those extremes cause our vehicles to break down a lot easier, especially if they are not maintained well,” Niewind added.

If something is wrong with your vehicle, make sure to pull over.

“Whether you have a flat tire, you’re running out of gas, there is some other mechanical issue with your vehicle, normally if your vehicle is moving, you can still limp that thing over to the shoulder of the roadway. Throw your hazard lights on, put your turn signal on, do whatever you need to do to move over to that right shoulder. If you are on a state highway, country road, get as far off the road as you can, if there is an approach, pull into that approach,” Niewind explained.

When you encounter a surprise breakdown, the safest place to be is on the right shoulder of the road.

“We want you to stay inside that car, keep your seat belt on, call 911 and we will get a law enforcement officer out there as soon as we can,” Niewind said.

Captain Niewind says the most common interstate crashes he sees are rear-end collisions.

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