In general, the less time you spend immobile on a busy highway, the better. This goes for disabled semi-autonomous vehicles, furniture, anything. I’ve changed too many fan belts on roadsides to ever feel good about standing next to highway-speed traffic. That’s why this little clip is so viscerally alarming, and everyone involved is pretty lucky.
Here’s what happened, according to the Florida Highway Patrol’s tweet, with cop-dashcam video:
Yikes! The spot where that third-gen Toyota 4Runner decided to crap out isn’t ideal, by any stretch—it’s off the active traffic lanes, sure, but it’s inside the long isosceles triangle of a median area, and as such has full-speed highway traffic on one side, and merging traffic on the other, trapping the motorists in a pincer.
The Ram driver hitting the brakes hard likely saved the cop’s life, not so much because of scrubbing away some of the speed, but because of the noise of the screeching brakes, which gave the trooper enough warning to get the hell out of the way.
The 4Runner’s owner had some minor injuries, possibly from the impact of their own car, shoved forward by the truck. Really, it’s incredible this didn’t end up worse, since everyone involved was, as mentioned before, trapped between active lanes of traffic — arguably the worst situation to be in.
The Ram driver sped off, a deeply shitty thing to do, especially after doing the deeply shitty thing of not paying attention and whacking into parked cars with people around them.
Florida police are looking for the Ram driver, and unfortunately the license plate just does not seem legible from the footage:
Give broken-down cars plenty of room, friends. We’ve all been there at one point or another, and there’s no reason not to at least try to give a wide berth when you see something like this.
Of course, you have to actually be paying attention to see it, which the idiot in the Ram sure didn’t seem to be doing.