Unfortunately, accidents near or on freeway off-ramps and on-ramps in the San Fernando Valley are more common than one might wish. Recently, for example, a So Cal driver carrying newspapers in a pickup truck hit a guardrail located near an onramp, flipped over, and the car lights turned off. A sedan headed onto the onramp ran into the truck, and the driver of the truck died as a result of this second accident. In another instance, a woman pushing her baby in a stroller was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident when an SUV struck her as she was walking through the crosswalk of an on-ramp.
While many vehicles accelerate to enter the freeway at safe speeds, many do not and the risk to pedestrians, stopped cars, and other drivers is high. These tragic tales are a harsh reminder of the importance of driving without distractions and proceeding on and off of freeways with extreme care.
Accidents on On-Ramps
Freeway onramps are designed to provide drivers ample space to gain enough speed to enter the freeway at the same speed or a greater speed than traffic in the slow lane. Drivers who are continuing straight should move out of the way, if possible, to assist the driver who is merging into traffic. These drivers should safely change into the left lane, or look around at other drivers to determine whether slowing down or speeding up to provide ample room, is feasible. Drivers in certain areas, whether they are merging or continuing straight ahead with traffic, can gain a little help from ramp meters.
Some freeway onramps, particularly in congested areas in the San Fernando Valley, have been made at least somewhat safer by ramp meters. The earliest ramp meter was installed in 1966; today the meters help regulate flow of vehicles and ensure that freeways operate at maximum capacity. The metering lights can also provide a reminder to drivers to slow down and enter the freeway safely. Ramp meters and other signage also helps alert drivers as they make a transition from one freeway to another. The meters work by sensors embedded in the pavement. Other devices to help drivers include caution signs and roadway markings. Paying attention, especially if you are driving in an unfamiliar location, is key to success.
Of course, it goes without saying that all of the external safety precautions (attentive fellow drivers, ramp meters) won’t help if a driver is distracted. If you or a loved one are injured by a driver who enters an on-ramp at unsafe speeds or while driving and texting, or engaging in some of form of distracted driving, you may be able to recover financial compensation for the injuries you suffered.
For more information, or to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about an auto accident that injured you or a loved one, contact San Fernando Valley attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.