With spring on its way, we’re entering heavy weather season. That brings additional hazards to your driving, as weather events can have a major impact on your crash risk.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 21% of all crashes occur in adverse weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, fog, ice, snow or high winds. About 5,000 people are killed and approximately 418,000 are injured each year, on average, due to bad weather conditions.
Does bad weather exonerate bad drivers? Not at all. Although weather conditions can be challenging, they create the same known hazards over and over. Drivers have a legal responsibility to drive safely for the conditions, no matter what they are. There are reliable techniques for driving safely, no matter the conditions.
What are some known weather-related dangers?
Using a 10-year crash average for the years 2007 through 2016, the Federal Highway Administration estimates the most dangerous driving conditions. Somewhat surprisingly, the most dangerous is simply wet pavement:
- Wet pavement: 15% of all crashes
- Rain: 10% of all crashes
- Snow/sleet: 4% of all crashes
- Snow/slushy pavement: 4% of all crashes
- Icy pavement: 3% of all crashes
- Fog: 1% of all crashes
One of the reasons wet pavement is so dangerous is that water mixes with the oil and grease already on the roadway to create a super-slick mix. Another reason may be that people don’t perceive wet pavement as very threatening.
Slow down. The most important lesson for driving safely in poor conditions is to slow down. This may help you prevent a crash altogether, and it can definitely reduce the seriousness of a crash.
Avoid driving through water of unknown depth. If you can’t see how deep a puddle is, you don’t know if it will be too deep for your car. It could flood your engine, impair your brakes and lead to hydroplaning, where a layer of water comes between your tires and the pavement.
Avoid potholes. It may seem obvious, but a large pothole can do serious damage to your vehicle, including disabling it in the roadway.
Keep your tires properly inflated. Having full tires is safer and can reduce the damage caused by potholes.
Watch out for warm-weather vehicles and pedestrians. As soon as the snow is gone – and maybe even before – you will see motorcyclists and bikers on the road in the spring. Be vigilant.
Consider your medications. If you take seasonal allergy medicine during the spring, be aware that it could affect your driving. Find out how you react to these medications before you get behind the wheel.
If you are injured in a car crash, contact a personal injury attorney right away for an evaluation of your case.
Spring is right around the corner, and east coast residents are itching to shed off their winter gear and embrace warm weather once again. However, with the beginning of spring comes the aftereffects of winter weather on New York highways and roads.
According to AARP, drivers should anticipate several potential hazards before exploring the warmer conditions this spring.
Spring is known for its rainy weather and slippery roads. It’s critical that drivers compensate for slippery conditions by slowing down and increasing the distance between you and other vehicles on the road. You also may notice large puddles on residential streets, so avoid those to prevent hydroplaning and brake issues.
There will be more motorists on the road as the temperatures start creeping upwards, so you will need to be more diligent to avoid accidents, distracted drivers and other hazards on the highway. You may also need to be more aware of pedestrians in highly-populated areas such as cities or neighborhoods.
More Potholes Present
In the winter, it’s challenging to identify potholes with layers of ice or snow covering the roads. However, potholes are fully on display during the springtime, and drivers do not want to hit deep potholes if possible. When you hit a large pothole, it’s possible to ruin your tires and your car’s alignment. Your best bet is to avoid them whenever you can.
Along with more motorists, you will notice more animals in rural areas and highways. Most animals are particularly active in the spring and may try to cross roadways or roam around, so watch out for furry critters (especially in the early morning and at dusk).
All these hazards could be a potential damper on your springtime activities, especially if it causes a motor vehicle accident. In those incidents, make sure to seek the right representation to ensure that you receive the compensation you need to cover medical bills and lost wages.
New York prosecutors assert that a pickup truck driver was likely legally intoxicated when his vehicle collided with a limousine and have charged him accordingly. However, the accident may be more complicated than claims of a drunk driver causing a car accident. The preliminary evidence regarding the crash implies that the driver of the limousine may have contributed to it.
Reportedly, the limo was attempting to make a U-turn when the pickup slammed into it. According to a witness, when the limo began its turn, it did so directly into the path of the pickup. The limo driver reportedly said that he did not see the pickup truck when he initiated the turn.
At the time of the crash, police did not suspect the limo driver of being impaired, and tests apparently confirmed that fact. A U-turn was not illegal at that location, but since limousines need extra space in order to turn, they can block more than one lane of travel to complete the turn. Limo drivers have been cited for making improper U-turns under these circumstances. Four of the eight women in the limo died in the accident, and the others suffered unknown injuries.
Even though drunk driving might be a factor in this car accident, the limo driver may also bear some responsibility for the accident. Any wrongful death or personal injury claims filed in the aftermath of this tragedy would most likely include the limo driver and the company for which he works. If it is established that one or more parties caused or contributed to the deaths and other injuries suffered, a New York court may award damages to the families of the deceased victims and the surviving victims.
When an accident occurs on a busy New York street, there will more than likely be witnesses. Often, the witnesses to a car accident will do what they can to help the victims. Sometimes, however, the intervention of bystanders might actually do more harm than good.
Take, for instance, a recent pedestrian vs. car accident involving two vehicles and two pedestrians. Somehow, the driver of one of the vehicles lost control of it during a left turn. As the car careened out-of-control, it struck a livery sedan and two people. One of the two people, a woman, was caught entangled in the vehicle and was dragged about a half a block before the car finally came to a stop.
Bystanders rushed to the woman’s aide and realized that she was unconscious. They attempted to lift the car off her with a jack. However, they soon realized that as they did so, they were dragging her with it.
When emergency responders arrived, the woman was rushed to a hospital in the New York City area where she was last reported as being in critical condition. The other pedestrian suffered injuries that left him or her in serious condition. Other people involved suffered only minor injuries.
Police are reporting that no criminal charges are being contemplated in connection with this pedestrian vs. car accident — at least for now. Both of the severely injured pedestrians could be facing lengthy recoveries. During that time, medical bills, lost wages and other economic damages will be piling up. Filing personal injury claims could result in an award of these and other damages if negligence is proved on the part of the driver whose car went out-of-control.
According to the World Health Organization, as many as half a million people suffer a spinal cord injury each year around the world. The organization has reported that many of these injuries are incurred as a result of motor vehicle accidents, although falls and violence play a part as well. Teenage girls, young adult males and elderly individuals continue to be most at risk of suffering a spinal cord injury, with a male adult being twice as likely to suffer a spinal cord injury than a female adult.
A spinal cord injury may result in the temporary or permanent loss of sensation or motor control. In many cases, a spinal cord injury leads to even more serious conditions, such as loss of bladder and bowel control, respiratory conditions and cardiovascular conditions. The mortality rate for victims is very high, and people with spinal cord injuries have a significantly greater chance of premature death than the general population. The mortality rate is often closely related to the ability to access appropriate medical care on a timely basis.
Spinal cord injuries may result in other conditions as well. Many spinal cord injury victims develop clinical depression, generally resulting from their dependence on caregivers. The depression makes treatment even less productive and can have a negative affect on the overall health of the patient.
Those who have suffered spinal cord injuries in a car accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver may be entitled to claim reimbursement for their medical expenses as well as compensation for the resulting loss of income due to an inability to work for a prolonged period. An attorney can assist in the preparation and filing of a personal injury lawsuit that would seek these and other damages that may have been incurred.
It is likely that, at some point, a New York driver will become involved in a car accident. If the accident is serious enough, there is the potential that the impact from the crash could cause the vehicle to roll. While a rollover only occurs in approximately 3 percent of car accidents, approximately 30 percent of the people involved in such crashes die.
Rollovers generally only occur under certain circumstances. While any vehicle can potentially rollover, vehicles that have a higher center of gravity, such as SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, are more likely to roll. Rollovers can occur when the driver of a vehicle that has a higher center of gravity takes a curve too fast or overcorrects when driving on a straight road. In other cases, a rollover may be caused by the vehicle tripping over on object in the roadway, such as a pothole, a curb or a soft shoulder.
There are certain precautions that drivers and their passengers can take to reduce being involved in a rollover accident or surviving a rollover accident. One of the most important things that vehicle occupants can do is to wear seat belts. Those who fail to wear their seat belts risk being thrown from the vehicle should an accident occur. Drivers should ensure that the tires are in good condition and that they remain properly inflated. Finally, drivers should watch their speed, especially if the road is particularly curvy.
If someone is injured in a rollover car wreck, they may be eligible to seek compensation if they can prove that they were not liable for causing the accident. They may be eligible even if they were a passenger in the vehicle that caused the crash. Depending upon the circumstances, the injured person can potentially recover the cost of their medical bills and other financial damages they sustained.
Distracted driving is a term that most New York residents have heard of. It refers to people attempting to multitask with driving and engaging in any number of activities, including eating, texting, talking on a cellphone or to a passenger, messing with electronic equipment or reading a map.
Distracted driving is dangerous and can lead to serious injury accidents. Of all of the distracting activities, the act of texting while driving is the most alarming, and it is against the law in most states. A person who is sending text messages must devote cognitive, manual and visual attention to it, taking all of those forms of attention away from the road. A person who looks down at a cellphone while driving has their eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds, enough time for the vehicle to travel the distance of a football field at 55 m.p.h.
At any moment of the day, around 660,000 U.S. people are using their cellphones while they are driving, placing both themselves and others at risk. The type of attention required by texting has been shown to increase the likelihood of accident involvement by three times. In a survey, 25 percent of teens admit to answering at least one message while they are driving, while 20 percent of both teens and adults admit to engaging in ongoing text conversations while they are driving.
Occasionally, the news will feature stories about a person text messaging while driving, then causing a serious accident. People still continue to drive and text, however. Those who are seriously injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver may be able to hold the driver civilly liable through a personal injury lawsuit.