A 34-year-old Staff Sergeant assigned to the Army National Guard, McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, South Carolina, died in an off-duty PMV-Pedestrian/Non-Motorist mishap 4 September 2023 in Lancaster, South Carolina, at 1455 local. The Soldier experienced a problem while towing a boat and pulled his vehicle onto the shoulder of the highway. The unit reported that the Soldier and his wife were outside of the vehicle and in proximity to the boat when a civilian vehicle struck it. The South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) responded and pronounced the Soldier’s spouse dead at the scene. The Soldier was transported to the local medical center, where he died shortly after arrival. The driver of the civilian vehicle was also transported to the local hospital; however, his status is unknown. The unit/safety points of contact are waiting for SCHP to release its final report.
Since 2018, the Army has lost an average of six Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-Pedestrian/Non-Motorist mishaps. This was the sixth off-duty PMV-Pedestrian/Non-Motorist mishap of FY23 and above the number of off-duty PMV-Pedestrian/Non-Motorist fatalities from this time last year.
If you are involved in a roadside emergency do not let your focus or frustration distract you from the serious dangers posed by other drivers on the road. Follow these tips to remain as safe as possible:
– Ensure the emergency equipment you carry in your vehicle includes warning triangles and a reflective vest along with a first aid kit, extra water and food, and emergency repair supplies including tools, a spare tire, duct tape, jack, jumper cables, heavy-duty rope, gloves and fix a flat.
Get off the road
– When you first discover an issue with your vehicle find a safe spot to pull over as far off the road as possible. The most important thing is to get out of the path of traffic.
Make yourself visible
– Turn on your hazard lights and headlights, and once you have pulled over, place reflective emergency triangles to alert oncoming traffic while wearing reflective gear.
Exit the vehicle carefully
– Exit the vehicle from the side furthest from the road and stay as far away from traffic as possible. Do not exit the vehicle if not safe to do so – remain inside with your seat belt on and call 911 for assistance.
Traffic Warning Triangles
– Place a minimum of one warning triangle but preferably three to improve visibility:
- Place the first triangle 10 feet behind your vehicle on the side closest to the road.
- Place a second warning triangle 100 feet directly behind your vehicle.
- Place a third triangle 300 feet behind your vehicle on the side furthest from the road.
Limit your exposure
– Know when to call a professional. If the required repair is beyond your capabilities or will expose you to heavy traffic return to your vehicle, buckle up and call for assistance.
For more information on pedestrian safety, check out the Off-Duty Safety Awareness Presentation: https://safety.army.mil/ODSAP