The Special Dangers of Head-on Collisions

Two Car Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions are one type of car crash.  The term “head-on collision” refers to crashes where the point of impact is in the front of the car.  For two car head-on collisions, this refers to both cars’ impact point in the front of the vehicle.  Head-on collisions are more likely to occur on roads with narrow lanes, where there is high traffic volume, where there is no separation of lanes between the different directions of traffic, and on sharp curves.   Head-on collisions also commonly occur when one driver passes without providing enough room to get back into their own lane before completing the pass.

As one might imagine, the risk of death and severe injury, as well as property damage, increases as the speed of the vehicles increases.  People who don’t wear seat belts tend to sustain more injuries and more serious injuries than people who do wear seat belts.  Without a seat belt, the risk of ejection from the vehicle at the time of impact increases substantially.  Ejection can lead to greater injuries.  In 2015, head-on crashes were responsible for 10 % of all fatal crashes.

Single Car Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions can also occur in single car crashes, such as when a car veers off the roadway and hits a stop sign, traffic light, street light, guardrail, or a building.  As with two car head-on collisions, a single car head-on collision increases in severity as speed increases.  Single car head-on collisions frequently occur when a driver is distracted.  Additionally, falling asleep behind the wheel can lead to single car head-on collisions.

Reducing the Likelihood of Head-on Collisions

Studies show medians can reduce head-on collisions by up to 70 percent.  Obviously, drivers have no control over how roads are constructed.  However, if you happen to be on a road with more than one lane of traffic in a single direction, traveling in the right-hand lane reduces the likelihood of a head-on crash.  Additionally, if faced with the choice of hitting another car head on, or hitting a barrier on the side of the road, such as a guard rail or light pole, the stationary object is the safer choice.  This is because the stationary object does not have their own momentum contributing to the accident and subsequent injuries.  Finally, drivers are encouraged to scan the road ahead for hazards.

Common Accident Injuries in Head-on Collisions

Of course, there are any number of types of injuries one might sustain in a head-on crash.  However, due to the nature of the crash, some of the more common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury;
  • Concussion;
  • Whiplash;
  • Neck and back trauma;
  • Lacerations;
  • Contusions;
  • Broken bones; as well as
  • Injuries to internal organs.

If You Have Been Injured in a Head-on Collision

If you have been injured in a head-on collision, you need an advocate on your side, fighting for your rights.  At the O’Brien Firm, our team is with you every step of the way.  From the first time you call, through settlement or verdict, we work with you and your family, making sure we understand your situation, your loss, and the best ways to compensate you for your injuries.  This way, you can focus on healing.  Contact us today for a free consultation at (716) 907.7777.

 

Recognizing and Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in temporary injury, permanent disability, or death.  A TBI can be caused by a jolt, blow, or bump to the head.  It may also be the result of penetrating head injury.  A TBI can be mild, resulting in a short change in mental status.  Alternatively, a TBI may last longer, resulting in an extended period of unconsciousness.  Sometimes, a TBI results in amnesia after an injury.

Danger Signs in Adults

Traumatic brain injury can result in a dangerous condition where a blood clot crowds the brain.  If you have bumped your head, received a blow, or your body or head was jolted, watch for these danger signs.  If you experience any of them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends contacting your medical professional or emergency room immediately.

  • Slurred speech;
  • Repeated nausea and vomiting;
  • Weakness;
  • Numbness;
  • Decreased coordination; as well as
  • A headache that gets worse and does not go away.

Additionally, if you have sustained a blow, bump, or jolt to the head, you should ask someone to check on you regularly.  If you display any of the following symptoms, your friend or loved one should immediately take you to the emergency room:

  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Becoming increasingly agitated, confused, or restless;
  • Displaying unusual behavior;
  • Unable to recognize people;
  • Unable to recognize places;
  • Convulsions;
  • Seizures;
  • Appearing very drowsy;
  • Unable to wake up; or
  • Having one pupil larger than the other.

Danger Signs in Children

If a child sustains a blow, bump, or jolt to the head or body, and displays any of the adult warning signs, they should be taken to the emergency room right away.  Additionally, if your child

  • will not stop crying;
  • is otherwise inconsolable;
  • will not eat; or
  • will not nurse;

 

you should seek emergency medical attention.

Potential Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

There is a wide range of potential effects of TBI.  Generally speaking, TBI can result in both short and long-term changes in the following:

  • Emotion: TBI may result in feelings of anxiety and depression. Persons affected may exhibit personality changes, acting out, and general social inappropriateness.
  • Language: TBI can impact one’s ability to express oneself, communicate clearly, and understand what is being communicated to them.
  • Sensation: Both sight and balance can be impacted by a TBI.
  • Thinking: TBI may impact one’s memory.  Additionally, it may impact one’s reasoning.

A TBI can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain disorders, according to the CDC.  A TBI may also cause epilepsy.

Understanding a Concussion is a Traumatic Brain Injury

A concussion is a mild form of a traumatic brain injury.  Around 75 % of all traumatic brain injuries are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury each year.  Repeated traumatic brain injuries are particularly dangerous.  Over time, the cumulative effects of traumatic brain injury can include neurological and cognitive deficits.  If one suffers repeated mild traumatic brain injuries within a short period of time, the results can be catastrophic.  It may even be fatal.   A “short period” may be over a few hours, days, or weeks,

Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Not all TBI’s are the same.  Sometimes, there is no full recovery from a traumatic brain injury.  Other times, a full recovery is possible.  In either event, there are some general tips the CDC recommends when healing from a traumatic brain injury, to the extent healing is possible:

  • Write things down to aid in remembering;
  • Take medication as prescribed;
  • Do not take medication not prescribed;
  • Avoid situations where another head injury may be sustained;
  • Don’t drink alcohol without a doctor’s approval;
  • Consider returning to work gradually, rather than all at once;
  • Refrain from multitasking;
  • Consult with a trusted friend or family member when making decisions you consider important;
  • Avoid extended computer use;
  • Rest; and finally,
  • Be patient with yourself. You may need to re-learn some skills.  As your health care professional for a referral.

Protect You and Your Loved Ones from Traumatic Brain Injury

While you cannot predict every eventuality, there are certain steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of getting a traumatic brain injury.  These include:

  • Use child car seats as designed;
  • Wear seat belts every time;
  • Don’t drink and drive;
  • Wear a helmet when riding a bike, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle, while skiing or snowboarding;
  • Make certain living areas are free of fall hazards by doing the following:
    • Identify and remove tripping hazards such as cords and clutter across walkways;
    • Install nonslip mats in the bathtub;
    • Install handrails on the stairwells; and
    • Improve lighting.
  • Install window guards to prevent small children from falling out windows; and
  • Use safety guards on stairwells if you have small children.

If You Have Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  Whether due to a car accident, a slip and fall, or some other situation, at The O’Brien Firm, we will work with you and for you.  Our goal is to help you get the compensation you deserve.  We offer free consultations.  If you are not feeling up to travel, our attorneys will come to you.  Contact us today at (716) 907-7777.

 

New Law Protects Safe Drivers

Everyone knows what car insurance is.  However, not everyone understands how car insurance works.  This lack of understanding has had disastrous consequences for some New York families. A new law in New York provides new additional insurance coverage for safe drivers.

As we all know, New York drivers must buy car insurance.  Car insurance policies vary in amounts.  New York’s minimum liability coverage is $25,000/$50,000 (which means up to $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, and $50,000 for bodily injury for all people).  However, New York drivers can purchase more insurance. While policies such as $250,000/$500,000 or more exist, many people purchase car insurance policies in the range of $100,000 for one injured person, and up to $300,000 to cover all bodily injury in a car accident.

 

However, these policies provide coverage to other people when you make a mistake and cause an accident.  What happens to you when you are injured due to someone else’s bad driving?  What happens when the eighteen year old texting driver doesn’t stop in time and slams into the rear of your car?  When you are injured through no fault of your own, the other driver’s insurance policy should cover the injuries. But what if that other driver only carries minimum coverage while you paid for coverage with higher limits?

If that careless driver is underinsured or uninsured, car crash victims have a type of insurance available that many people do not even know about.  Supplemental Underinsured Motorist and Uninsured Motorist coverage (commonly referred to as SUM coverage) provides protection to safe drivers.  SUM coverage provides excess coverage above the careless driver’s policy but only if the safe driver has purchased this special coverage.  Until recently, New York’s “default SUM insurance” amounted to $25,000/50,000.  But not anymore.

Thanks to the new law, drivers in New York now automatically have SUM coverage in the exact same amount as the amount of coverage they purchased to protect others.  For example, a driver who buys a $100,000/$300,000 insurance policy to cover injuries to someone else now automatically has SUM coverage that protects them to the same amount of $100,000/300,000, rather than limiting recovery to the previous minimum of $25,000/50,000. Under the old law, a New York driver had to specifically request SUM coverage of an equal amount, which was troublesome given that most people didn’t even know about the possibility of buying SUM coverage.

 

The new law still allows drivers to “opt out” of additional SUM coverage.  Drivers may choose to lower their SUM coverage to $25,000 and expose themselves to additional risk.  Currently, raising SUM limits from the $25,000/50,000 minimum to $100,000/300,000 costs safe drivers about two dollars more per month. If a driver decides to protect other drivers for a higher amount than they protect themselves, the law allows them to do that. But for little more than $2 a month, the new law significantly raises safe drivers’ protection against distracted and dangerous drivers by providing coverage that protects them against the bad driver with the minimum policy.  This new law is good news for all New Yorkers, but especially for safe drivers.

Winter Driving in Snow

Winter is here.  Like it or not, the next several months require driving in snow if we want to drive anywhere.  Whether this is your first winter driving in snow, or you are an old hat at winter driving, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on a few winter driving tips.

Tips for Driving in Snow

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends the following:

  • When approaching a hill, get some forward movement going. While on the hill, do not stop if at all avoidable. 
  • Do not apply extra gas on a hill. Slow and steady will get you to the top.
  • Once at the top of a hill, reduce your speed.
  • Drive down hills as slowly as possible.
  • Understand the challenge of starting a vehicle from a full stop, rather than accelerating a car that is still moving. Don’t stop if you can avoid it safely.
  • Stop your vehicle by keeping the heel of your foot on the floor. Use the ball of your foot to brake.  Apply steady, firm pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Put eight to ten seconds between yourself and the car in front of you. This will provide you a longer distance for stopping.
  • Remember, nothing happens as quickly on snow covered roads. Plan on needing more time to stop, accelerate, and turn your car in snow.
  • Applying the gas slowly is best for avoiding skidding out.
  • Use your headlights to make your vehicle more visible.
  • Consider staying home. If you don’t need to go out, stay put.  Just because you are familiar with driving in snow doesn’t mean your fellow travelers are similarly skilled.

Areas of Additional Concern

There are certain portions of the roadways that may be more dangerous than others.  Be advised, for example, that bridge decks freeze first.  Even if the snow is melting elsewhere on the roadway, bridge decks should be approached with caution.  They may be icy.

Exit ramps and entrance ramps may be more icy than the main roadway.  Be aware of this when entering and exiting the freeways.

There is also vehicle specific information you should be aware of.  Sports Utility Vehicles, 4 x 4 vehicles, and trucks weigh more than other passenger vehicles.  This means they need more time and space to stop.  If you are driving one of these vehicles, give yourself more time.  If you are passing one of these vehicles, give them wide berth.  Avoid cutting in front of larger vehicles.

Plows require special attention.  Give them plenty of room.  Do not pass plows on the right.  Stay at least 200 feet behind plows.

Let someone know where you are going.  Provide them with your expected route.  Also, get the Buffalo, New York traffic and road conditions.

Stay Safe this Winter

As the winter season progresses, we at The O’Brien Firm wish you safe travels.  If you or a loved one does get hurt in a car crash, we are happy to come to you to discuss the facts in your case.  You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  At The O’Brien Firm, we have over 35 years of experience representing clients in car crash cases.  There is no cost to you unless we win your case.  Contact us at (716) 907-7777.

Is Avvo a Good Way to Find a Lawyer?

There are many ways to find a lawyer.  Some say the best way to find a lawyer is word of mouth.  However, many people don’t know anyone who has needed the services of a personal injury attorney.  In that case, people may not know where to turn.  Of course, there are lots of online attorney review web sites.  However, not all online attorney review web sites are equal.  Some ranking sites allow attorneys complete control of their rankings.  Others, like  Avvo, rank attorneys based on a number of factors, including some the lawyers have no control over, and is a good place to start.

Avvo Ranking

Avvo ranks their attorneys based on several different factors.  First, Avvo considers whether an attorney has had disciplinary action by the bar association.  Second, Avvo considers an attorney’s experience.  Finally, Avvo considers industry recognition.  This includes things like publications, speaking engagements and the like.

Additionally, Avvo has two ratings features.  The first rating feature allows other lawyers to rate each other.  Lawyers are not required to rate each other.   Consequently, a lawyer recommendation has some value.

The second rating feature allows past or current clients to rate the lawyer.  Lawyers have no control over this feature.  They can respond, but they cannot get a negative comment removed from the site.  While you should expect some disappointed clients to grumble, client reviews should show a pattern.  When you see a series of positive reviews, take this as a good sign.

Interviewing an Attorney

Avvo is a good starting place for determining whether an attorney might be a good fit for a given situation.   However, there is no substitute for an in-person meeting.  As an injured party, you are looking for a lawyer who knows what they are doing.  But you also want a lawyer who you can work with.  The American Bar Association (ABA) states, “the first qualification is that you must feel comfortable enough to tell him or her, honestly and completely, all the facts necessary to resolve your problem.”

The only way to know whether you feel comfortable with an attorney is to meet with them in person.  Attorneys understand you are looking for the attorney that best fits your needs.  You can treat your first meeting as a job interview.  You are encouraged to take some time to think about what is most important to you.  Some things many people find important when hiring a personal injury attorney include the following:

  • Someone who makes house calls;
  • Someone who is available on weekends;
  • A lawyer with support staff to assist in the case;
  • An attorney who has ties to the community;
  • An attorney recognized by their peers;
  • Significant past experience;
  • A history of settlements and trials on behalf of other injured people;
  • Someone who treats them like a person, not a number;
  • Someone who is easy to talk to; and
  • A person they can trust.

Consider The O’Brien Firm

If you have been injured, please consider The O’Brien Firm.  We are happy to come to you – at your home or at the hospital – to talk to you about your case.  We also want to talk with you about your particular situation, including your family, your immediate needs, and your long-term concerns.  At The O’Brien Firm, we understand each case is different, and every client is special.  We value your business.  We never charge a fee unless we win your case.

Winter Is Coming: How Drivers Can Prepare

The National Safety Council encourages drivers to plan ahead! Winter is coming whether we like it or not. Winter driving is different. In Buffalo in the winter time, blizzards can come out of nowhere. Icy conditions happen as often as not. While newer model cars have more and more safety features, there are still steps all drivers should take to minimize danger and maximize safety.

Create a Winter Safety Kit
Don’t wait for the first snow fall to create a winter safety kit for your car. As a starting point, make it a goal to always have a full or almost full tank of gas. Never let the gas tank get below half full in the winter time. Also, make sure your car has fresh antifreeze and plenty of wind shield fluid. Finally, take a moment to ensure your spare tire is properly inflated, you have a wheel wrench, and a working tripod jack.
Your emergency safety kit within your car should also include the following items:
• A shovel for digging out of snow;
• Jumper cables;
• A tow line;
• Bag of salt to melt snow;
•Kitty litter for increased tire traction;
• Blankets;
• Mittens;
• Hats;
• Warm socks;
• Boots, if the driver doesn’t wear boots in the car as a matter of course;
• Tool kit;
• Nonperishable foods like nuts, dried fruits, and granola bars;
• Flashlight, along with fresh batteries;
• Scissors and twine;
• Reflective triangles;
• Wood matches in a waterproof container;
• Flares;
• Ice scraper;
• First aid kit;
• Portable phone charger (make sure it is fully charged!);
• Snow brush; and
• Compass.

Give Your Car a Winter Weather Check
It is a good idea to have a qualified mechanic review your vehicle systems before winter arrives. They should check the ignition, brakes, spark plugs, hoses, and fan belts. They should also check wiring, the battery, the distributor, air filters, fuel filters, and emission filters. Finally, they should check the PCV valve, the battery, air pressure in the tires, tire wear patterns, and the antifreeze level. A few dollars of preventative maintenance can go a long way this winter when the temperature drops.

Before You Leave. . .
Any time the weather gets really cold, it’s natural to want to warm up the car before taking a trip. While warming up a car ahead of time is fine, never warm up the car in an enclosed area. Even if the garage door is open, it is not safe to leave a car running in an attached garage. Rather, let the car warm up out in the open, in the drive way or in front of the house.
When the weather appears dangerous or unpredictable, consider waiting out the storm. If that is not possible, make sure you inform a family member or friend of your planned route. Call them when you arrive safely. In the unlikely event your car goes off the road or is involved in a crash, knowing your route can shave valuable minutes off rescue efforts.
If you find yourself stranded in an unfamiliar area, the National Safety Council recommends you don’t leave your car. Instead, remove the flares from your winter tool kit and light them. Place the flares in front of and behind your car. Take a moment to make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t blocked by snow, garbage, mud, or other objects.

If You Get Hurt in a Crash
In winter driving, crashes are inevitable. While we hope you never need us, The O’Brien Firm is here for you if you do. If you have been hurt in a crash, we will come to you to meet with you and discuss your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Why Do So Many Cases Settle?

At The O’Brien Firm, over 98% of our cases settle before trial.  Many of our multimillion dollar cases have settled without a client ever appearing in a courtroom.  When people think about trials, they often view the opening statements, direct and cross examination, and closing arguments, as “litigation.”  This is part of litigation, however, this does not provide a complete picture of what constitutes litigation in a given case.  Below is a simplified version of how attorneys handle personal injury cases.

How Attorneys Evaluate Cases

When someone is injured in a crash, the first step is talking with an attorney experienced in personal injury cases.  When you meet with an attorney, they ask questions designed to determine how you were injured, when you were injured, why you were injured, what consequences you dealt with or continue to face, and who was responsible.  Next, your attorney will seek to gather information which may further inform them of the facts and circumstances of your case.

When an attorney determines there is a legal cause of action, they can file a complaint against the wrongdoer.  That party then answers the complaint.   Next, the parties engage in something called “discovery.”  In its simplest sense, discovery is the opportunity for the attorneys to obtain documentation in support of their claim.  This can include medical records, police reports, videos which may have recorded the accident, statements from witnesses, and other information that either supports the injured party’s claim, or detracts from the strength of their claim.

Once discovery is complete, the attorneys evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases.  Then the negotiation begins.  Attorneys consider past medical expenses, and past lost income, which are easy to calculate.  They also consider future medical expenses, which are not always as easy to calculate.  Depending on the nature of your injuries, attorneys consider other costs, such as loss of future income, and pain and suffering, both past and future.  In evaluating what a case might be worth, of course, attorneys must honestly evaluate any possible defenses asserted by the other side.

Case Negotiations

Once an attorney feels they have adequate information and have evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the case, they will engage the other side in negotiations.  It is not uncommon for the attorneys to have several discussions over days or weeks, seeking to come up with a dollar amount that is satisfactory to both sides.

In New York, settlement conferences are mandatory in many personal injury cases.  During settlement conferences, the court requires the appearance of attorneys fully familiar with the action.  These attorneys must also have authorization to resolve the case.  This results in meaningful discussions of the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case, which often results in resolution.

Why Settle?

There are any number of different reasons parties settle personal injury cases.  In some cases, due to the facts at hand, the insurance company makes an offer at the limits of the policy.  In other words, there may be no advantage to taking the case to trial because no additional recovery can occur from the insurance company.

Even in cases where a larger award is possible at trial, the opposite is also true.  Whenever you leave the question of the amount of the award to the jury, you run the risk the jury will award less than the amount offered.  The jury even has the option of coming back with no award at all.

Another reason cases often settle is the value of time.  Trial preparation and trials take time.  The parties attend the entire trial.  Additionally, they must work with their lawyer to prepare.  The parties testify and opposing counsel cross-examines the witness.  For the inexperienced, this can be quite stressful.  On balance, settling may be the better choice considering the following:

  • The amount offered;
  • The added time commitment required for trial prep and trial;
  • Stress;
  • The potential for a slightly higher award; and
  • The risk of no award.

Finally, settlements are agreements between the parties.  Jury awards, however, are not agreements.  Either side can file an appeal.  Appeals can challenge the decision of the jury.  Alternatively, appeals can challenge the rulings of the judge during or pre-trial.  Appeals can drag on for months or years.  Settling the case provides finality and certainty.

Injured?  Contact The O’Brien Firm

If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  At The O’Brien Firm, we have a proven track record of successful litigation from pre-suit discovery through trial.  Contact us to discuss your case.

 

 

Big Trucks and Blind Spots

Understanding the “No Zone”

The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) identifies large blind spots as one of several operating limitations of large trucks and buses, along with long stopping distances and making wide turns.  Big truck blind spots include 20 feet in front of the truck, 30 feet behind the truck, as well as blind spots to the right and the left of the vehicle.  As a simple rule of thumb, passing vehicles should presume they are in a truck driver’s blind spot unless they can see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side mirror.

Safety Tips in Blind Spots

The FMCSA offers several suggestions for driving safely around large trucks and buses.

Be Aware of Your Position

Because truck driver blind spots are large, drivers are encouraged to stay out of “no zones” whenever possible.  Obviously, this isn’t always possible.  Drivers should bear blind spots in mind when passing a big truck, or merging next to a big truck.  Drivers should also watch for trucks turning, backing up, or changing lanes.

Passing Safely

When you pass a big truck, recall first the blind spot up to 30 feet behind the truck.  Make sure you are out of this blind zone.  Signal your turn before moving into the left lane.  Accelerate to pass the truck quickly and safely.  Do not linger in the blind spot on the side of the truck.  Make sure you can see the truck in your rearview mirror before you return to your own lane in front of the truck.

When a truck is passing your car, stay in the right lane and slow down slightly.  This gives the truck driver room to pass safely.  It also allows the driver to pass more quickly, getting you out of the blind spot faster.

Watch for Signals

Buses and trucks need more turning room.  Consequently, they may initiate turns from the middle lane, rather than the far right.  If a truck driver is signaling a turn, believe them, even if they don’t appear to you to be in a turning lane.  Never try to speed by a truck on the right when they are signaling a right – hand turn.  Recall, you are driving directly in a “no zone,” and the truck driver may not see you.  Similarly, when a truck comes onto the highway, merging from the right, bear in mind the driver’s extended blind spot.  If you can slow down, or change lanes further to the left, do so.

Big Truck Statistics

FMCSA offers some sobering facts about accidents with large trucks and buses.

  • 7 out of every 10 people killed in crashes with large trucks are occupants of other vehicles.
  • 30 % of all fatal crashes that occur in work zones involve one or more large trucks.
  • 61 % of all fatal crashes involving large trucks happen on rural roads.

If You Have Been Injured by a Big Truck or Tractor Trailer

If you are injured by a big truck, or if you have lost a loved one in a crash with a big truck, you may be entitled to compensation.  At The O’Brien Firm, we will come to you to discuss your case at no cost to you.  We only charge a fee if we recover for you.  Give us a call at 716-907-7777 today.

 

 

More Driving Accidents Happen In The Summer Months

Summer is here and along with the beautiful weather and sunny skies, there is also a greater risk of being in an automobile accident for drivers and their passengers on the road.

Many drivers think that they’re more likely to be in a driving accident during the winter months when it’s darker outside for more of the day, and when there’s bad weather conditions like snow and ice on the road.

Peak Months for Car Accidents

But according to data from car insurance companies as well as NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the peak months for car accidents from year to year are typically July, August, and September.

While drivers tend to be more alert when it’s darker outside or when there are inclement weather conditions, clear skies on a bright summer day can lull some drivers into a sense of safety and complacency that leads to distracted driving.

NHTSA also points to the higher number of holiday travelers in the summer months, and the markedly higher number of drivers impaired by alcohol, causing almost twice the number of traffic fatalities in the summer months than during the rest of the year combined.

Teen Drivers and Distracted Driving

Traffic researchers have also found that teen drivers spend 44 percent more time on the road during the week in the summer months than they do during the school year, so the most inexperienced drivers, who are the most prone to distracted driving accidents, will be out in greater numbers for longer periods of time over the next few weeks.

In fact, the stretch of calendar from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which is summer vacation for most students, is called “The 100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers, and nine out of the ten deadliest days in the year for young drivers on U.S. highways are between May and August.

The Deadliest Day of the Year for Car Accidents

The #1 deadliest day of the year for automobile accidents on America’s roads is right in the middle of “The 100 Deadliest Days.” A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the Fourth of July holiday is the most dangerous time to drive all year, with more car accidents than New Year’s Eve, Saint Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, or Super Bowl Sunday.

Summer Roadway Hazards

Another reason for the increase in driving accidents during the summer months is the increase in equipment failure caused by the summer heat. Engines in older cars are more likely to overheat and worn tires are more likely to blowout, creating road hazards and increasing the chances of a car accident.

There are also more complicated and hazardous road conditions during the summer months, especially as roadway construction crews are at the peak of their activity all year, shutting down traffic lanes, increasing congestion, creating detours, and creating more chances for distracted driving to cause an accident.

Avoiding Automobile Accidents in The Summer Months

Rather than allowing the clear, sunny weather and the excitement of summer time lull you into a state of complacency and distraction, know that responsible, alert, defensive driving is more important now than at any time all year, and could save you from a damaged vehicle, a personal injury, even death in an automobile accident.

(Though you should make sure you are alert and drive responsibly every time you get behind the wheel, and know how to engage in the best driving practices referred to as “defensive driving” year-round.)

Best Practices While Driving

Never drive while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or medication, or if you are sleep deprived or in a state of extreme emotional distress. Leave your phone in your purse or pocket and keep your eyes on the road as you drive and each hand at the “ten” and “two” o’clock positions on the steering wheel.

Have a good awareness of the road around you, looking ahead to see what’s down the road, keeping your eye on what other drivers are doing in front of you, and to the left and right, and glancing occasionally at your rearview mirror to know what’s going on behind you.

What To Do If You Are in An Automobile Accident

Stay calm and remember safety first. Making sure you and everyone else is safe and unharmed, and calling 911 if anyone is injured should be your first priority.

Don’t take responsibility for the accident and don’t assign blame to the other driver either. Get their contact, vehicle, and insurance information, and take pictures of the accident. Document everything you can and look for any witnesses that might have seen what happened.

We highly recommend that before you make a statement to an insurance company, you call an experienced vehicle accident attorney to make sure your best interests are protected.

If you or a loved one has been in an automobile accident, contact The O’Brien Firm at (716)- 907-7777 if you have any questions about your rights.

Trucking Accidents and Increased Driver Safety

In 2015, nearly 4,000 mothers, children, fathers, brothers, and sisters lost their lives in large truck crashes. Though some of the victims were the truckers, themselves, the majority – 69% – were from passenger cars.

Despite these discouraging numbers, law enforcement is working to find an answer. Between creating teen safety driving courses that encourage safer driving around large trucks to implementing Operation Safe Driver Week, police, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance are leveraging education to curb the number of these devastating accidents.

To combat these disturbing statistics, Operation Safe Driver Weeks holds activities across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to increase commercial traffic enforcement, including safety belt and driver roadside inspections. It also hopes to improve driver regulatory compliance and commercial driver education while educating youth about sharing the road with larger trucks.

A few of the takeaways – for teen and adult drivers – is to avoid driving distractedly or when intoxicated, and steer clear of blind spots.

How Trucking Accidents Occur

While there’s hope that these educational incentives will change lives and prevent accidents in the future, there are many people who lost their lives in preventable situations. A few reasons accidents may happen involving trucks include:

  • Drowsy/Exhausted Driving. Sometimes, drivers are pushed to the limits by the companies they work for. Other times, they push themselves because of financial incentives. Either way, driving without rest is both dangerous and illegal.
  • Poorly Loaded Freight. When freight isn’t loaded correctly, it means the truck is off-balance and drivers can easily lose control, leading to accidents. Sometimes drivers load their own freight without proper training, leading to this imbalance. Sometimes, the people who load it for the company don’t take into consideration the importance of proper loading.
  • Poor Truck Maintenance. Whether a truck is driver-owned or company-owned, it must be properly maintained and inspected before hitting the highways at top-speed. A simple tire blow-out can lead to devastating consequences for other drivers on the road.

Trust O’Brien Firm with Your Case

At The O’Brien Firm, we seek justice for those who have been injured in trucking accidents. We never give up on our clients; we keep fighting until they get the compensation they deserve. To us, every case is personal. With The O’Brien Firm, you will never feel like a number. If your loved one died as a result of a trucking accident or you were injured, talk with our team. When you consult with one of our Buffalo personal injury lawyers, they will research your situation and develop a personalized and unique approach to your case.

 

At The O’Brien Firm, we consider not only our clients, but also their families and loved ones. Our mission is to ensure that when the lawsuit is over and the dust has settled, everyone is able to make a fresh start.

 

When you choose The O’Brien Firm to handle your case, you can focus on recovering from your large truck accident, knowing we will work hard to pursue the justice you deserve.