Evacuations are always tough. No one wants to be evacuated from their home, but when authorities urge residents to get out, you must hit the road with thousands of other drivers. Driving during an evacuation presents the risk of getting into a car accident because everyone is in a hurry, and almost no one is following traffic laws. Yes, not doing anything when authorities order you to evacuate can be dangerous for your safety, but so is driving during an evacuation. Typically, determining liability in an evacuation-related car crash is a challenging task because drivers fail to exercise due care and are eager to drive away as soon as possible (even if there was a rear-end collision).
In Kentucky, we do not have to evacuate often, but you may have had to evacuate when on vacations due to weather conditions. However, Lexington residents have recently experienced what it is like driving during an evacuation. If you were in a car collision during the most recent forced evacuations caused by a gas leak in Lexington, contact a Lexington car accident lawyer from Roberts Law Office to establish fault.
Lexington Authorities Order Evacuation Following a Gas Leak
This week, Lexington authorities ordered evacuations and closed several roads in the city due to gas line rupture. According to WKYT, the roads were reopened on Tuesday after the Columbia Gas crew successfully repaired the leak near Rosemont Garden and Southland Drive. Lexington authorities blocked traffic in the area after a contractor working in the area hit a gas line, which caused a service interruption to about 80 customers in Lexington. Crews working to repair the gas leak had to pop maintenance hole covers to release the gas that was reportedly traveling through the drainage system. People in the surrounding area said they could smell a strong natural gas odor in the surrounding area during the repairs. It has not been reported how many motor vehicle collisions occurred during the evacuations in Lexington.
Car Accidents Caused by Gas Leaks
Being exposed to the gas for long periods of time can have a negative effect on one’s health. If you are driving during a gas leak in a neighborhood, you are at risk for a car wreck because exposure to the gas can cause symptoms that make operating a vehicle unsafe. Healthline lists gas leak symptoms as follows:
- Throat and eye irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Lung injuries
Exposure to high concentrations of the gas can cause unconsciousness or death. If you lost consciousness or were dizzy while driving during an evacuation and this caused you to lose control of your car, you may be able to use the “sudden medical emergency” defense when determining the at-fault party.
Driving Safety Tips During Evacuations
Although evacuations are relatively rare in Kentucky, it is important to know driving safety tips to keep yourself and your family safe when evacuating from the city or neighborhood:
- Always wear a seatbelt even if it seems that buckling up is a waste of time during an evacuation;
- Prepare for faulty traffic signals (when evacuating, treat each intersection in Lexington with no signage as a four-way stop);
- Look out for obstacles on the road because evacuations and chaos are synonymous;
- Plan your route beforehand (in other words, know where you are headed); and
- Stay away from your phone – let your passengers navigate the GPS system, if necessary.
Contact a Lexington car accident lawyer from Roberts Law Office if your vehicle collided with another during an evacuation in Lexington or elsewhere in Kentucky even if the other driver fled the scene. You may still be entitled to compensation. Call our offices at (859) 231-0202 for a free consultation.