Wake County

April 5, 2014

Drivers should keep rolling after I-440 work zone fender-benders, NCDOT says

The #BeltlineJam construction project has squeezed drivers into two lanes without shoulders, so there’s no place to pull off the roadway. If nobody is hurt and the car is driveable, DOT says, drive to the next exit.

If you have a minor fender-bender in the Interstate 440 Beltline construction zone where the narrow roadway has no shoulders, state officials say, don’t stop your car there.

You’ll only create a traffic jam and put yourself in danger.

Instead, the state Department of Transportation says you should call 911 and drive to the next exit, where you and the other drivers can safely pull onto the shoulder. That’s where you should exchange insurance information and wait for the arrival of a police officer and a tow truck, if needed.

“If your car’s drivable and there are no injuries, North Carolina’s fender-bender law already requires you to move it off the roadway as quickly as possible,” said Steve Abbott, a DOT spokesman.

Usually that means a nearby shoulder. But the shoulders have been eliminated on 3.5 miles of I-440, in both directions, in Southeast Raleigh. Drivers are squeezed into two lanes while work crews rebuild the freeway. The work will continue next year on 8 miles of I-40 across South Raleigh.

“A month ago, there was a fender-bender there and three cars stopped in the travel lane to talk to each other and make phone calls, and that caused a big traffic jam,” Abbott said. “Ideally, they would have moved on to the next exit, where they could take care of it without impeding traffic.”

In case of a more serious accident involving personal injury or damage that makes it impossible to move the car, Abbott said, drivers should call 911, stay in their cars and turn on their emergency flashers.

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