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People tend to feel safe when they are behind the wheel. They believe that once they slide into the driver’s seat, they will get where they are going without incident. Few people, if any, expect to fall victim to a carjacking. Unfortunately, the crime occurs more often than people believe.

Most experts say that the crime is preventable as long as drivers stay alert. One of the worst mistakes that a driver can do is to let their guard down, especially in certain situations. Here are tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of this serious crime.

1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled

When stopped at a traffic light, what do you do? If you are like many people, you quickly check your phone, change the radio station or even give yourself a once-over in the mirror. You are far better to spend that time surveying the scene around you car. Know what is happening in front of, behind and to the sides of your vehicle.

2. Don’t Be Isolated

Avoid the temptation to pull into the closest ATM that you see when you need cash. Isolated areas offer opportunity for would-be criminals. If you need to make a stop, wait until you get into a heavily-populated, well-lit area.

3. Don’t Stop

If you see a stranded motorist or pedestrian, stay in your vehicle and call emergency services. While most people are truly stranded, you never know if you are falling for a ruse.

4. Keep Your Windows Rolled Up & Doors Locked 

If you see someone approaching your vehicle and cannot drive away safely, keep your doors locked and your windows rolled up. If someone asks you for directions, you can easily talk to them through a closed window. Don’t be tempted to roll your window down or open your door for a stranger.

5. Police Impostors

Police in an unmarked car will rarely pull over a motorist. If you find yourself in this situation, advise the person that you are calling 911 to confirm their identity. A real police officer will have no problem with this. Someone pretending to be an officer may attempt to flee the area to avoid arrest.

6. Make a Scene

There may come a time when someone approaches your vehicle and you know that you are in a bad situation. Lay on the horn. Criminals do not want to draw attention to themselves. The best thing that you can do in a situation like this is to make a scene. Yell, honk, flash your lights — do anything you can to draw attention to yourself.

If you are injured in an accident in Charlotte, you may have the legal right to compensation for your injuries. Reach out to our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation. We will discuss your injuries with you, including how they occurred, and advise you of your legal options. Call today.

Drivers regularly look out for other drivers when they are on the road. People keep an eye out for others who are speeding, they look twice before passing through intersections, and they even watch out for motorcycles when the weather turns warm. Do drivers look out for pedestrians with such regularity? Statistics would say no.

On average, a pedestrian is injured by a vehicle every seven minutes. A pedestrian is killed in an accident every two hours. Pedestrians don’t hold all of the responsibility for preventing these accidents; drivers must be aware that there could be a pedestrian around any turn. Here are some tips for drivers that may help prevent these serious accidents.

1. Avoid Any Distractions

Distracted driving is especially dangerous. Drivers should keep their eye on the road at all times. A driver is much less likely to strike a pedestrian if they are paying attention to the road. If you absolutely need to talk to or text someone, pull over into a parking lot or wait until you get to your destination.

2. Pay Attention

Scan the area ahead and around your car for pedestrians. This is especially important in areas where pedestrian traffic is likely. If you are driving through a city or even a college town, know that a pedestrian could walk into the road at any moment, and they may not wait until they reach a crosswalk.

3. Watch for Children

When you are driving through a residential neighborhood, keep your eyes peeled for children. Even with the best lessons, these little ones may dart into the road unexpectedly. Stay alert near schools, playgrounds and parks. Watch for little ones riding their bikes.

4. School Bus Rules

Always stop for a school bus that has its red lights flashing. No matter how big of a hurry you are in, passing a school bus is not only dangerous, it is illegal. The only exception is if you are traveling the opposite direction of a bus, and there is a physical median (grass or concrete) you and the bus.

5. Turn With Caution

Pedestrians don’t always see a car coming up behind them. Always look carefully before you turn a corner, especially if you are near a marked crosswalk. Make eye contact with any pedestrian waiting to cross to be sure they see you. Take a moment to give the pedestrian the right of way.

6. Obey the Crosswalk

Yield to any pedestrian in a crosswalk, even if you have a green light. Slow your speed when approaching a crosswalk and allow any pedestrians to walk. Do not attempt to drive around other vehicles near a crosswalk, and do not stop over a marked crosswalk.

Many pedestrian versus vehicle accidents can be avoided. Drivers and pedestrians share the responsibility to make sure that everyone is safe on the road. If you are involved in a car versus pedestrian accident in Charlotte, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Reach out to our experienced team for a free consultation and let us assist you. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options.

Thankfully for many of us, high-speed police chases are events viewed on television from the comfort of our couches. For others, a chase is something seen up close and personal. The bad news is that being caught up in the middle of a car chase can induce a feeling of panic. The good news is that you won’t be caught up for long.

If you see a chase approaching you, there are ways you can react to keep you safe. Here are a few tips to follow should you find yourself in this harrowing situation.

1. Drive Predictably

One of the most dangerous things you can do is to drive erratically. The natural reaction of most people is to veer to the shoulder and get out of the way. Imagine if you are on the highway and every driver in your lane tried to get to the shoulder at the same time. Not only is it hazardous, but it’s close to impossible.

Instead of applying your brakes and moving over, maintain your lane and speed. The police chasing the suspect are aware of the speed limits, and they are looking to not only get their suspect, but to keep others on the road safe. Staying in your lane and maintaining a consistent speed is a predictable behavior that can be anticipated by the police and allow them to react appropriately.

That said, if you find yourself in a direct path of pursuit and have enough time and room to move, do so.

2. Don’t Help

You’ve seen it on television and in movies. An ordinary citizen sacrifices their own vehicle and safety to help the police stop a suspect. You aren’t in a movie and the police would prefer that you stay out of the way and safe. If someone is running from the police, chances are high that they won’t give a second thought to ramming your vehicle. The best thing you can do to help is to stay out of the way.

3. Don’t Stop

One urge that you should quash is to stop in the middle of the road. You may think that you are making it easier for police to get around you, but you are making yourself an obstacle in the road. If you can pull over safely to get out of the way, go ahead. If the only place you can come to a stop is in the middle of your lane, don’t do it.

4. Keep Focused

You may find your attention being diverted to the chase instead of the road ahead. Pull your focus back and remember that you are still driving.

Chances are high that you will never be caught up in a high-speed pursuit, but you may find yourself in that small percentage of people who find themselves smack in the middle of one. If you do, follow the tips above to keep yourself and your passengers as safe as possible.

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of car accident attorneys for a free consultation. We will go over the details of your accident with you and advise you of your legal options.

People today are on the go. We are a nation of busy people, and multi-tasking has become the norm. Perhaps frighteningly, one of the most common places people are trying to do multiple things at once is behind the wheel. From eating to putting on makeup, people take care of a variety of things when the only thing they should be focused on is the road ahead.

One of the most dangerous and unlawful habits that people have behind the wheel is texting. It may seem harmless, but texting and driving is against the law in many states and it is extremely dangerous. In the few seconds your eyes are taken away from the road while texting, your vehicle can travel the length of several football fields if you are traveling at normal highway speeds. Can you imagine driving the length of several football fields without looking at the road? Please do not text and drive. Here are some ways to help make sure you don’t have the temptation to send a text while you are behind the wheel.

1. Silence Your Phone

One of the easiest things to do is to simply put your phone on silent or do not disturb. When your phone is silenced, you won’t be alerted to text messages, making you less likely to grab your phone and reply.

2. Turn Your Phone Off

Before you walk out of your door, turn your phone off. You won’t see it or hear it. It won’t light up, it won’t make a sound. There is no need to worry – all of your messages will come through once you power it back on.

3. Out of Sight

If silencing your phone isn’t enough and the thought of turning it off makes you anxious, put it where you can’t reach it. Your bag in the backseat isn’t enough. Put your phone in a locked glove box or your trunk. You don’t have to silence it and you don’t have to turn it off – putting it where you can’t reach it may be enough.

Being a safe driver and keeping your attention focused on the road is a goal that all drivers should strive for.  Please share this information with anyone you know that texts and drives and encourage them to put their phones down while they are driving.

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte, you have rights. Reach out to our team of experienced auto accident attorneys for a free case evaluation and discover what those rights are.

Francesca_Holborn_Auger_&_Auger_Disabled_Scholar_Award_winnerAuger & Auger is proud to announce that Francesca Holborn of Murrieta, California has won the Spring 2017 Disabled Scholar Award, worth $1,000.

Since she was a child, Francesca (Frankie) knew her life would not be as easy as that of her peers. Growing up, she would ask her mother questions like,  “Why can’t I tie my shoes like everyone else, Mom?” “Why doesn’t my hand do what I want it to?” “Why can’t I see what everyone else sees?”

Her mother’s answer? “You’re special babygirl.”

And Frankie is a special young woman. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, compounded with vision loss. This made even simple tasks much more difficult. Yet, Frankie never let her disabilities keep her down. Her biggest struggle growing up with cerebral palsy and a vision impairment was accepting that there are obstacles that her body cannot conquer.

Yet, she overcame her disability by  learning that, even though she cannot do some things she is faced with, she can do so many other things. She knew she would likely never excel in activities like sports, so instead she focused on what she was good at: her academics. Yet, even though she graduated in the top ten percent of her class, she knew there was more to her identity than just being smart.

In high school, Frankie was invited to participate in the Youth Leadership Foundation Camp in Sacramento for teen leaders with disabilities. It was there she finally found people to whom she felt connected. It was there she learned that all people have their unique challenges and abilities — it is how we deal with what we are given that makes a person great. She knew from that moment that she wanted to leave an imprint on the world.

She found a way to live out her life’s mission when she was introduced to a volunteer organization called EQUU8, which uses horsemanship and horseback riding as a form of therapy for children with disabilities. For the first time in her life, Frankie was working with a therapist — but wasn’t the patient. Her experience with EQUU8 helped Frankie decide what she wanted to do with her life.

Now, Frankie is a student at Western Oregon University, working toward her undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in special education. After she earns her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in the same field with the ultimate goal of becoming a therapist for children with disabilities. In addition, she plans to create a support group for children and teenagers with disabilities.

Frankie believes that society can be more accommodating to disabilities by being more aware of the issues, and being more open to asking questions. She lives by one mantra: I can do anything until proven otherwise. She gives every experience a shot, and she is not willing to let her disability define her. She likes to work hard and surprise people with the results.

Though accomplishing this goal can be difficult, Frankie relies on her mother for support. She showed Frankie what it is truly like to be strong. Her mother had some medical problems different than Frankie’s, but with that experience her mother showed showed her to not not let her take the easy way out. She pushed Frankie to always be the best version of herself through whatever challenge she faces throughout life.

With her mission before her, Frankie looks to make the world a better place in whatever way she can, in spite of — and, to some degree, thanks to — her disability.

Learn more about the Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar Award here.

People feel safe in their vehicles. Drivers open their doors, slide behind the wheel and turn the key. They back out of the driveway or pull out of the parking lot, and they drive to their destination without issue. It happens millions of times a day across the country.

Unfortunately for some people, their daily commute won’t turn out as planned. That feeling of safety will be shattered, however briefly, as they deal with an accident caused by a mechanical problem. Driver errors aren’t the only reasons for car accidents. Sometimes, the vehicle we are so comfortable placing our trust in fails us. Here are the five most common mechanical problems that could very well cause an accident.

1. Brake Issues

The failure of brakes to work properly is one of the most common defects in vehicles. There is certainly a reduced risk with today’s modern braking systems, but problems do occur. Have your brakes inspected with every oil change, and replace them when you are alerted to the need.

2. Blow Outs

Worn out tires and those that are not inflated properly are a big problem. Cars today have low pressure sensors that alert drivers, but it is still up to the driver to make sure that they add air when needed. If your sensor comes on, pull into a gas station and fill your tire with air. The couple of minutes you spend on the task can mean the difference between an accident and getting somewhere safely.

3. Steering and Suspension

It doesn’t matter how long you have been driving or how many defensive driving courses you have taken, if you are traveling at a high rate of speed and your suspension fails, you will experience an accident. Be sure to have your vehicle inspected at regular intervals, typically recommended as listed in your owner’s manual.

4. Malfunctioning Lights

A blown out headlight won’t cause an accident itself, but it will make you less visible. When your headlights are blown out, you have difficulty seeing the road ahead. Periodically inspect your headlights and brake lights and if you notice a lamp that has blown out, replace it yourself or head to the repair shop.

5. Bad Wipers

Like lights, wipers won’t cause an accident, but they can contribute to one. Your wipers are in place to keep your windshield clear and make it easy for you to see. Wipers should be changed at least once a year on average and are relatively inexpensive. If you know that you are a bit remiss when replacing your wipers, ask that it be done with one of your oil changes.

If you are in an accident in Charlotte, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Reach out to our experienced team of car accident attorneys for assistance. We will review the details of your accident and talk to you about your legal options. Call now to schedule your free consultation.

If you spend enough time driving in your car, you undoubtedly have seen pieces of tire scattered along the side of the highway. This debris is the result of a tire blowout, typically from a semi truck. Unfortunately, passenger vehicles can sustain blowouts as well, and many people don’t know how to react when a blowout happens.

Causes of Blowouts

While manufacturer defect cannot be ruled out as a cause for tire blowouts, other causes are much more common. Potholes, cuts, small punctures and even overloading the vehicle can cause tires to fail. A tire blowout can happen quickly, but new technologies have reduced the number of accidents that are caused by these mishaps.

Unfortunately, when an accident from a blowout does occur, the results are often severe. This is typically because a driver does not know how to react to such an incident. It takes a quarter of a second for a tire to blow. This offers very little reaction time. In many cases, the loud noise coupled with the sudden movement of the car causes drivers to react drastically.

How To React to a Blowout

Experts suggest that there are ways for drivers to respond to blowouts that can help to reduce the chances of becoming involved in an accident. Knowing how to respond to the situation before it occurs can keep you and your passengers, as well as others on the road, safe. Here’s what to do.

1. Continue Your Speed

Do not slam on the brakes if you experience a blowout. You are going to lose traction when one of your tires goes. The best thing to do is to let off the accelerator, but do not apply the brakes. Doing so will allow your vehicle to slow naturally without causing it to slide out of control.

2. Counter Steer

Gently steer your car in the direction opposite of your car’s desired pattern of travel. This will help to counter the vehicle’s movement and allow you to avoid colliding with other traffic. Do not yank on the steering wheel in a panic. This type of action will only serve to cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

3. Slow Down

Once you have the vehicle under control, it is safe to brake gently. As the car slows, it will be easier to steer it to the side of the road. Once you get there, bring the car to a complete stop, gather your emotions and call a tow truck operator. Unless you have been in an accident, it is not necessary to call the police.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by another vehicle’s tire blowout in Charlotte, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and property damage. Call our experienced car accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation. You should not have to suffer financially due to someone’s error or negligence. Let us assist you in recovering damages for your accident.

Cars today come with multiple safety features meant to protect occupants in a crash. What happens when one of those features is the thing that causes injury? If you aren’t at least somewhat familiar with how airbags respond in a crash, you could find yourself with injuries you wouldn’t have sustained otherwise.

When you are in a head-on crash, the airbag may deploy depending on how fast your car was moving at the time of the collision. When the airbag bursts from the steering wheel, it is at speeds over 100 MPH. Not only does the airbag come out at high speeds, but it is covered in the chemicals that help it deploy and is hot. Imagine a hot beachball covered in chemicals rushing toward your face at speeds higher than a professional fast pitch.

Once the airbag deploys, it only stays inflated for a second or two. The bag will deflate almost immediately and leave the cabin of your car filled with dust and those chemicals that help it escape your steering wheel. These chemicals can cause irritation to the skin and eyes.

In some cases, people are injured because an airbag deploys when it should not. For example, if an airbag sensor is bad, an airbag can employ while you are driving down the highway. In other cases, the crash sensor is malfunctioning and causes the airbag to deploy too late. No matter the reason, thousands of people have been injured by airbags that did not work properly.

It is important to note that people can be injured by airbags that are working exactly as they should. When this occurs, the driver may be found to be responsible for their own injuries depending on the situation. For instance, airbags are meant to work in conjunction with seat belts. Your seat belt holds you to the seat in a crash, and the airbag protects your head as it moves forward. If you aren’t wearing a seat belt in a crash, you could suffer serious injury from an airbag.

People have also been injured by airbags because they were sitting too close to the steering wheel. In other accidents, people were leaning over the wheel or reaching for something when they crashed and the airbag deployed. This, again, can cause severe injury. Experts recommend sitting as far back from the steering wheel as is physically comfortable for driving. Avoid leaning over the steering wheel while driving at all times. Sitting back in your seat with your seat belt buckled is the safest driving position, and be sure that your passengers are also buckled up.

If you have been injured in a car accident or by a defective airbag in Charlotte, reach out to our experienced personal injury attorneys. We understand the intricacies of car accident law and will put our knowledge of the local court system to use for you. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and property damage. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation and discover your options.

It’s not uncommon to hear of a rollover accident in the news. Typically, the story begins with tales of someone speeding, making a quick maneuver and ending up on their roof. There is a reason these accidents are in the news so frequently. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than 280,000 accident involving rollovers each year. These accidents cause the deaths of more than 10,000 people annually.

Statistics point out that SUVs are far more likely to experience rollover than any other type of vehicle. Just over a decade ago, 35.7 percent of all fatal accidents involving an SUV ended up with a rollover. The reason behind this is that SUVs tend to be more top-heavy than other vehicles, moving their center of gravity to a higher elevation.

What Causes Rollover Accidents

These type of crashes are related to the stability of a vehicle in turns. A higher center of gravity, like that which is found in SUVs, and a narrow wheel width contribute to a vehicle being unstable. When a driver of one of these vehicles makes a sharp turn or takes a curve too quickly, they are at risk of rolling over. Most at risk are 4-wheel drive pickups and SUVs, both of which have higher ground clearance.

Rollover Rating System

There is no federal rollover standard for vehicles. There has been mounting pressure from consumers and experts for this type of requirement, but none has been enacted as of yet. The NHTSA did, however, introduce a rollover rating system in the early 2000s. The administration bases the ratings on a five-star system and looks at the vehicle’s center of gravity and the amount of space between the front tires. When a vehicle is given five stars, it has a low chance of rolling over. If a vehicle is given one star, it stands close to a 50 percent chance of tipping.

It is important to note that any car can rollover in the right situation. A car struck with severe force or even one that hits a median or curb can be launched into the air. That said, very few other classes of vehicles stand the risk of tipping during a turn like SUVs do. Drivers of these vehicles are urged to drive with caution and mind the posted speeds of the road. Drivers and passengers can sustain severe injury in a rollover crash, and some have been ejected from the vehicle, suffering fatal injuries as a result. The best protection in a rollover crash, and almost every other crash, is the wearing of a seat belt.

If you have been injured in any type of car accident in Charlotte and another driver was found to be at fault, that driver may be liable for damages. Contact our experienced team of car accident attorneys to determine the types and amount of compensation you may be entitled to. We will review the details of your accident at no cost to you and advise you of your legal options.

man driving a carThink back to your driver’s education training. If you are like most adult drivers, you were taught that defensive driving was your best option if you wanted to avoid a car accident. The tide may be turning on that bit of advice. Today’s drivers are being told that offensive driving may be the right idea.

The word “offensive” brings to mind someone speeding in and out of traffic, cutting people off and generally driving recklessly. In this case, however, that is not at all what people are discussion. Offensive driving is a manner of driving that is proactive rather than reactive. Think about it.

When you are defending yourself, you are acting in response to someone’s actions. For example, you may see someone speeding up behind you on the highway and move to the next lane to give them room. A person may try to veer into your own lane because you were in their blind spot, and you either slow or swerve to avoid them. These are examples of reactive, or defensive, driving.

Driving with an offensive mindset, however, means that you behave in such a way that you stay out of situations that could cause an accident. For example, you are going to pass a big rig and drive as close as possible to the shoulder to leave plenty of room between you and the truck. You travel the speed limit and adjust that speed for current road conditions. You use your turn signal when you are changing lanes or turning corners to alert other drivers to your intended direction of travel. These are all examples of being proactive rather than reactive.

Now that you know the difference between defensive and offensive driving, which do you think would protect you most? Perhaps the best type of driving involves a combination of offense and defense. After all, you have heard the old adage: The best offense is a good defense. By following the rules of the road, driving in such a way that you are keeping other drivers safe, and understanding how to react when you encounter someone who’s driving skills could use a bit of sprucing up, you are putting yourself in a position to avoid accidents that can be avoided.

No person is 100 percent safe when they get behind the wheel, no matter how they choose to drive. If it’s been a few years, or more, since you last took driver’s ed, a defensive or tactical driving class could provide a refresher or even a few new skills — not to mention a discount on your auto insurance.

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte that is determined to have been the fault of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Do not assume that an insurance company has your best interests in mind. Reach out to our experienced team of car accident attorneys to discover how we can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Call today for your free consultation.

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