Carleton University students are mourning the loss of a young, bright mind.   

22-year-old Arif Merani died Monday along Highway 401, after he stepped out of his car to check a flat tire. It happened Thanksgiving Monday, close to midnight along the 401 near Lansdowne, east of Gananoque. Merani, a student of Business Law at Carleton University, was driving with a couple of friends back to Ottawa after spending Thanksgiving with his family in Niagara Falls. 

"They pulled over because they heard something on the vehicle,” says friend Cody Guthrie, “He got out of the vehicle and was struck by an oncoming car in the lane.”

Guthrie was Merani's big brother in the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Carleton. He says they are devastated by his loss.

“From what I hear, there was no way to react,” says Guthrie, “nothing he could have done to prevent it.  A horrible accident that took the life of my friend.”

It's a situation that many drivers are likely to face in their lives. Their vehicle breaks down on the highway or they think they have a flat tire.  What is the right thing to do? 

The Canadian Automobile Association says more importantly, it's what you do not do.

"Never ever get out on the side of traffic,” says CAA spokesperson Erin Kelly. “If you need to leave the vehicle, try to exit on the side that's facing away from traffic.”

If you can, get to an exit and get your car right off the highway.

"A rim could be replaced but your safety is paramount.  If you think you have a flat tire, push it a bit, get off the highway, onto a shoulder and stay on level ground.”

Friends of Arif Merani were remembering him on Facebook today, as a scholar, who was finishing his honors in business law.  As an athlete, who loved basketball and the 49'ers.  And as an eternal optimist.

"The one thing I learned from this is take every day as your last day because you never know when it might actually be,” says Cody Guthrie.

Merani, who was a proud Ismaili Muslim, will be buried this Saturday in Niagara Falls.