Hitting a Disabled Car on the Freeway

disabled car


A common sight on the freeway is a disabled car. However, a broken-down car can be a particularly dangerous hazard at night. This article addresses the responsibilities of the approaching driver.


The Vehicle Code states that no person can drive faster than is reasonable under the circumstances. Such circumstances include such factors as the weather, time of day, and traffic conditions. The law further provides that a driver must always be alert and attentive to the surroundings. In other words, a driver must see those things that should be seen if the driver is paying attention.


The liability or fault of an approaching vehicle depends on the circumstances. There are several essential considerations. One consideration is whether there are warnings of a disabled vehicle on the roadway.

A standard warning does not necessarily mean signs. A warning includes brake lights or slowing by other motorists. A typical situation involves a driver rapidly coming up on a slower-moving car. The car quickly changes lanes because of a disabled vehicle. The approaching vehicle is unable to stop because the
driver is going too fast.

Speed is an essential factor. For example, a vehicle going 65 mph travels about 95 a second. In contrast, a car going 75 mph travels 110 feet per second. Higher speed means less time to brake. That extra 15 feet can make a big difference.

A driver should afford himself more time to stop. Many different factors affect perception and reaction time at night, such as fatigue or distraction. Thus, it is always prudent to drive at or near the speed limit. Driving at an excessive speed reduces a driver’s time to avoid an object such as a disabled vehicle.


Hitting a disabled vehicle can be terrifying and result in severe injuries. Schedule a free consultation.