RIP Trooper Fox
Friday night a Virginia State Trooper, Andrew Fox, was killed directing traffic as heavy crowds left the state fair and Kings Dominion theme park at the same time heading to the interstate. A woman heading away from the interstate struck him in a Jeep Cherokee and came to a stop on top of him. I didn't know this young trooper, but I have directed traffic at that same intersection many times, and almost got hit a couple times. Once a car came by so close and so fast that I barely got out of the way and actually hit the side of the car with my Mag-Lite as they whipped past.
The first time we were in Wyoming, in 2006, I saw signs on the highway announcing a law that drivers must either get over a lane or slow down as they pass emergency vehicles. A couple years ago in Virginia this same law was passed. Now I really don't believe there is a need for the vast majority of traffic laws. Most of them are in place more for "revenue" than for public safety. But this is a law that is needed. One highways, main drags and rural back roads, I've had cars and trucks come by so close and fast that I've been buffeted off balance. Every year, tow truck drivers, highway workers, cops and fire/rescue workers get killed by cars passing too close.
Even if it is not a law in your area, please slow down and give these folds some room. Some police do abuse this law. There is an officer in south east Virginia that makes a habit of sitting on an interstate exit ramp with his lights flashing and radar going. If a car goes past him without slowing to a crawl, then he gives the driver a ticket. But jerks like that are the exception rather than the rule.
To keep yourself as safe as possible if an emergency brings you to the side of the road, make sure you have some basic safety equipment in your car emergency kit.
Reflective Safety Vest
Flashing Amber Lights (I reviewed the Auto Buddy here) Go to the Emergency Essentials link on the right side of this site.
And make sure you pull as far off the pavement as is safely possible. I keep a couple of small tarps and knee pads in my kit, along with a chunk of 2x6 to put under a jack on soft ground.