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Police Warn Drivers of Risk Factors Due to Vehicle Accidents

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WESLACO – Officials advise drivers to be more aware of their surroundings after they find themselves involved in a crash.

A four-vehicle accident along Expressway 83 claimed the life of a 42-year-old woman early Thursday morning.

Weslaco Police Sgt. Bernie Garza said Priscilla Ann Jimenez-Trejo stepped out of her vehicle after being involved in a minor accident and onto the expressway to assess the damage. Her 11-year-old was also injured. He is in the hospital listed in stable condition.

Garza said when crash victims step out of their vehicle they put themselves at risk.

“They have a crash and they’re thinking, ‘I have to call the police. I need to see the damages.’ Without even thinking, ‘I’m on the interstate,’” he said. “If you get out of the vehicle out onto the traffic lanes, you’re just putting yourself in harm.”

Garza said drivers should stay put and call for help immediately if a major accident occurs. But he understands that’s not always the case.

“If it’s a minor (accident), the vehicles can still be driven. Move, go to the next exit. Get to the fist parking lot. Get off the roadway. Call it in,” he said.

Benavides Driving School instructor Manny Ramirez said he tries to educate students to keep them vigilant and aware of dangers on the road.

“I cover as many situations as possible. The big one I do tell them is there’s an emergency lane there, but don’t expect the lane to protect you. Move over as much as possible,” he said.

Ramirez said they’ve also been trying to tackle distracted driving.

“In the process of being in a hurry more mistakes are being made, and now we’re talking about collisions. And usually it’s distracted people who are not paying attention,” he said.

Ramirez said drivers should be focused and always put their safety first. He added drivers should also give others space and be more patient. 

The Department of Public Safety urges people to make their vehicle visible by turning on their flashers. They also advise drivers to exit a vehicle from the passenger’s side, away from traffic. More tips are available at dps.texas.gov.

The Texas Driver Handbook is also available online. It gives detailed tips on any incidents that may happen on the roadway. 

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