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Whether you will be playing a round of golf or tooling around town, you may find yourself in a golf cart this year. The warm weather brings lots of people, including many tourists out to the beautiful golf courses in our communities. Knowing how to safely operate a golf cart can help prevent injury to yourself and others.

1. Be Courteous

Don’t drive recklessly. If you are driving on a course, be sure to obey the rules set forth for golf carts. If you are driving on the road, remember that you are in a vehicle and must abide by the same laws as any other driver.

2. Drive Sober

Do not drink and drive. It applies to vehicles, boats and even golf carts. If you will be the one in charge of driving, stay away from alcohol. In addition, you should stay away from any type of substance that could impair your ability to drive safely, including some prescription medications.

3. Distracted Driving

Avoid distractions when you are driving. If you are behind the wheel, your full concentration should be on the road or trail ahead.

4. Stay Inside

Make sure that you and any passenger in your cart keeps all body parts inside of the cart at all times. Hands and feet should stay where they belong.

5. Use Hand Signals

The turn signals on golf carts can be small and difficult to see. Use hand signals to tell other drivers and pedestrians when you intend to turn.

6. Turn Your Head

Don’t rely on not having seen anything around you just before you decide to change direction. Turn your head and check both sides of the cart as well as its rear. Only when you have looked to make sure that the way is clear should you change your direction of travel.

7. Slow Down

If you are turning sharply, be sure to slow down. Golf carts tip over easily. Taking a turn too quickly can cause your cart to tip onto its side.

8. Watch Your Speed

Golf carts move slowly when compared to traditional vehicles, making drivers less likely to slow down for varying road and trail conditions. Remember to slow your speed on hills and in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present.

9. Take the Keys

If you stop and exit your cart, take the keys with you. This will make it more difficult for anyone to take the cart.

10. Pay Attention to the Weather

A golf cart with a top will protect you from the rain, but it won’t protect you from lightning. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, take the cart back to where it came from and park it.

Golf cart accidents can be serious. If you are involved in a golf cart accident, reach out to our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

When you are out riding your motorcycle, chances are that you are paying close attention to the behaviors of others around you. You worry about other vehicles seeing you, and you stay out of the blind spots of truckers. Do you worry about road hazards?

Most motorcyclists know to avoid potholes and loose gravel, but those who are less experienced might not consider other hazards that are on the roads. Read on to discover how to stay safe on your bike when out on the open road.

1. Slick Surfaces

When rain or snow falls, it makes sense that the roads may be slick. Some don’t consider that slick roads can also be caused by heavy fog or even early-morning dew. Regardless of the reason for the slippery roadway, there are things you can do to maneuver safely.

The first thing you want to do on slick surfaces is reduce your speed. It will take you longer to stop when the roads are slick so slow down. Your front brake is responsible for most of the braking power of your motorcycle, but on slick surfaces you should use both brakes equally.

As far as your path of driving, stick to the areas that are most clear. Water tends to build up on the side of the road and, in many areas, the center of the lane can be just as dangerous. Keep this in mind when you are deciding where to drive.

2. High Winds

Strong winds can come up suddenly and be difficult to drive through. A strong gust of wind can push your bike over faster than you can react. When the winds are high, follow these tips to stay upright.

Stick to the side of the lane that allows you the most room to maneuver. Stay far enough behind and away from other vehicles that you can steer safely should you be pushed by the wind. Sit upright on your motorcycle, hold onto both hand grips, and keep your feet firmly planted on the pegs. If you have the ability to do so, steer into the wind.

3. Riding Over Objects

You may find yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to ride over an object in the road. If this is the case, hold onto the hand grips, keep your front wheel straight, and rise up slightly. These things will help you absorb the shock of driving over the object.

There are some things that you cannot prepare for when you are driving a motorcycle. Weather can change quickly and hazards can appear seemingly out of nowhere. You will be better prepared for these things if you know how to react ahead of time.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte or the surrounding areas, reach out to our team of experienced motorcycle accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will advise you of your legal options and help you make the best decisions for your unique situation.

Semi truck accidents are often catastrophic. It is easy to understand why when you consider just how much power is behind such a large truck. While there are certainly reasons for these accidents that can be attributed to truckers themselves, many come down to the behaviors of vehicle drivers.

Sharing the road is everyone’s responsibility. Vehicle drivers need to be careful when driving near semi trucks and other large vehicles. Here are four things that vehicle drivers may do that could easily cause a truck versus car accident.

1. Changing Lanes

A smaller car can fit into the spaces that a semi truck cannot. Unfortunately, squeezing into the space just ahead of a truck is not always a good idea when changing lanes. Trucks take a longer time to come to a stop than a typical vehicle. Swerving in front of a semi truck can cause an accident simply because of the limited response time of a trucker.

2. Passing

Passenger vehicles can see one another much easier than trucks can. Passenger vehicles are not always familiar with blind spots of semis, nor do drivers of passenger vehicles know how much room a truck needs to maneuver. Passing a semi on a hill or curve can be dangerous. Any time a vehicle passes a truck, they should do so in a way that doesn’t cause the truck driver to need to brake.

3. Blind Spots

Truckers do not only have blind spots to the sides of their rigs. There are blind spots in the front and rear as well. A good rule of thumb is this: If you can’t see a trucker’s side mirrors, they can’t see you. Keep this in mind when riding next to or behind a semi.

4. Wide Turns

Most people have seen the stickers on the back of a semi’s trailer that says the particular truck makes wide turns. If a semi is ahead of you and has its turn signal on, don’t try to make the turn faster. Be patient and wait behind the truck as it makes its right or left turn. If you are caught on the side of the truck as it is trying to negotiate a turn or corner, you could be hit.

No one wants to be involved in a truck versus car accident due to the potential seriousness of these types of incidents. The good news is that there are things that a vehicle driver can be aware of when sharing the road with semis. The next time you find yourself riding behind, in front of or next to a semi truck, keep the list above in mind.

If you are involved in a vehicle accident in Charlotte, reach out to our experienced team of accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will review your accident and advise you of your legal options. Call today to schedule your consultation and let us help you begin putting your life back together.

There are millions of dogs in the United States. They are arguably the most popular pet in the nation. With so many dogs residing in households, it should come as no surprise that thousands of people are bitten every year. No one wants to believe that their beloved dog could ever bite someone, but the truth is that any dog can bite given the “right” circumstances. Knowing why dogs tend to bite can go a long way toward preventing these injuries.

1. Cornered

When any animal is cornered, the fight or flight response kicks in. A dog will typically give several warning signs before it strikes out. In most situations, a friendly pet will prefer flight to fight. A dog that has found itself cornered with no option for flight may lash out.

If a dog feels trapped or cornered, it may lower its head, growl, pin its ears back or even tuck its tail. If you notice any of these signals, back away and give the dog space.

2. Resource Guarding

A dog, like people, enjoys its possessions. This may include toys, food and even beds. Some dogs will guard their possessions more aggressively than others. Puppies should be taught that when a human takes their “things,” they will be returned. If a dog has something, don’t take it unless you are sure that you can do so safely. This is especially important when the dog is not your own.

3. Provocation

Some dogs like hugs, and some don’t. Some dogs like having their ears stroked and some find it to be irritating. Always ask a pet owner what their dog prefers and dislikes before you reach out to pet it. You may provoke a dog unknowingly and receive a bite.

4. Sleeping

Have you heard the old adage “Let sleeping dogs lie”? This is true. Don’t disturb a sleeping dog. This can startle the animal, and the dog may jump up and bite before it even realizes what it is doing. If you need to wake up a dog for some reason, clap your hands, call its name or shake the bed. Don’t reach out with your hand wake the dog.

5. Health Issues

In some cases, a dog may become aggressive due to underlying health issues. If an otherwise friendly dog becomes aggressive or has mood changes, a trip to the vet is in order. Some dogs experience mood changes when they are ill or injured. If your dog is experiencing these changes, a veterinarian can either diagnose or rule out a health issue.

Dog bites can result in serious injury including lacerations, punctures and contusions. If you have been bitten by someone’s dog in West Palm Beach, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call our experienced team of dog bite attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will speak to you and help you determine your best course of action. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your consultation.

You were involved in a car accident but didn’t feel as though you have sustained any injuries. Because you felt just fine, you told emergency responders you did not want to be transported to the hospital and never took yourself to get checked out. You could have made a mistake. Here are some of the reasons that medical care is necessary after a car accident.

1. Discovery of Injuries

Most people have a misconception that injuries sustained during a car accident will be immediate and apparent. This is not always the case. When you are involved in an accident, your adrenaline spikes, often masking symptoms of less obvious injuries.

By seeking medical attention, even if you don’t believe you sustained an injury, you may be alerted to issues you weren’t aware of. A medical professional can give you a thorough examination and tell you if you really are okay or if you have sustained injuries that require intervention and treatment.

2. Medical Advice

When you seek medical care, the doctor or other staff will provide advice on taking care of yourself following your accident. They may make recommendations regarding follow-up care, home treatment options and even provide referrals to specialists.

When you fail to seek medical advice following a car accident, you could be limiting your ability to file a lawsuit for compensation. Even if you have injuries that don’t show up for days or weeks following the accident, the fact that you did not seek immediate medical treatment will likely be used against you in court.

3. Faster Recovery

When you seek medical treatment right away, you are able to undertake prescribed courses of treatment sooner. This means that you will be on the road to recovery faster than you would be should you choose to not seek medical attention. This is especially the case when a medical professional is able to diagnose a condition you weren’t even aware of. Diagnosis and treatment are important in the case of any injury, but especially those sustained in a vehicle collision.

Even if you think that you aren’t injured in a car accident, it is important to have a physical examination and let a trained professional tell you that you are healthy and well. When you delay attention and diagnosis, you also delay  your treatment which means that you could be feeling unwell longer than necessary. Remember that a car accident does not always result in broken bones and other obvious injuries.

If you have been injured in a vehicle collision in Charlotte or on any of the other very busy roads in North Carolina, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more under current state law. Reach out to our team of auto accident attorneys for a free case evaluation to discover the damages you may recover. We will review the details of your accident, including any vehicle damage or injuries sustained, and advise you of your legal options. Call today to schedule your consultation.

You have been driving your old car for years. You love your car. The four wheels sitting in your driveway are paid for, and you loathe the idea of taking on another monthly car payment. But should you?

It’s not unusual for people to pay off a car and then hang on to it. They may use it for work or hand it down to their kids. They may use it as their primary form of transportation simply to save themselves from being forced to make a car payment for something newer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people hanging onto their beloved cars may be putting themselves at risk.

What Is “Old?”

When someone says “old car,” what do you picture? In this instance, the NHTSA is talking about pre-2008 models. This is the year that safety features began improving by leaps and bounds, resulting in the lowest fatality and injury rates in decades.

If you are driving a vehicle of a model year prior to 2008, there are some statistics you should be aware of according to the NHTSA.

1. Risk of Crashing

If you are driving a car that was made before 2008, your likelihood of being involved in a crash is 30 percent. This is compared to a likelihood of 25 percent in a newer vehicle.

2. Injuries

If you do happen to be involved in a collision in an older car, you have a 79 percent chance of walking away without injury. In a newer vehicle, your chances of walking away are increased to 82 percent.

3. Thousands of Lives

It is estimated that in 2008, 2,000 lives were saved thanks to safety improvements found in vehicles. That numbers is expected to be even greater today as technology has improved dramatically.

4. Preventable Accidents

When accidents that occurred before 2008 were studied, it was determined that had those accidents occurred in vehicles with safety features introduced in 2008, close to 200,000 would have been prevented.

Does this all mean that you have to give up your cherished car in order to make yourself safer? Well, maybe….. If you are driving a vehicle that is 10 years old, or older, and can afford to do so, shelling out for a newer model may help to protect you and the ones you love. You don’t have to buy the latest and greatest, but you should look for a car made post-2008.

While nothing can prevent every car accident from occurring, there are certainly steps that we can all take to avoid them. If you happen to be involved in a collision in Charlotte that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries, damaged vehicle and more. Reach out to our team of experienced auto accident attorneys for more information about what you may qualify for. Your first consultation with your attorney will be held at no cost to you. Call today to schedule your case evaluation.

If you are like many drivers, you got your license many years ago. It’s not unusual to forget the things we learned, especially when we were teenagers. It’s even more common to forget the information we never have to use. One of the things most often forgotten when it comes to driving is how to behave when traffic signals go down.

You may remember what to do when the light at an intersection goes out. Then again, maybe you have forgotten. Read on for a quick reminder on what to do when the lights go out.

1. Intersections

When you come to an intersection and notice that the lights aren’t working, treat it like you would if there were a stop sign present at each corner. Let vehicles that are already in front of you go first. If you and another vehicle arrive at the same time, yield to the vehicle on the right.

2. Flashing Red Light

A flashing red light is the same as a stop sign. When you get to an intersection with a malfunctioning red light, come to a complete stop. Yield to any vehicles that have made it to the intersection before you, and always yield to pedestrians no matter where they are.

3. Flashing Yellow Light

Flashing yellow lights mean to yield. You can proceed through the intersection with caution, but you should give the right of way to any vehicles that have already made it into the intersection. Yield to pedestrians as well.

In some cases, especially when power is not restored in a timely manner, there may be temporary signs placed at the intersection or even police officers present directing traffic. Obey these signs and officers, no matter what you believe you should do otherwise. At any time there is a light that is not working at an intersection, drive more cautiously than you normally do. Be prepared for other drivers to not know how to behave, and proceed carefully.

It is not a bad idea to call the local police department’s non-emergency number to report a light out. They may have already received a report, but they may not have. Police cannot respond to a light outage if they don’t know that it exists.

When traffic lights go out, it is fair to say that the chance of accident rises. There are laws to follow when the lights aren’t working, meaning that if you are involved in an accident, it may not be your fault. When this is the case, you may be entitled to compensation for any injury or property damage you incur.

Call our team of experienced accident attorneys if you are involved in a car accident in North Carolina. We will review the details of your collision and advise you of your legal options. Your first consultation will be held at no cost to you. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation.

Car accidentNewly-released data has shown that America’s roads are not as safe as many may have thought. The National Safety Council recently published a report that traffic fatalities rose by 6 percent last year. In 2015, fatalities rose by about 7 percent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not released its official findings yet (which takes into account deaths that don’t take place on public roads), but they estimate deaths rose by 8 percent.

Though traffic death rates have fallen by nearly 25 percent since a decade ago, this emerging trend shows 2016 was the deadliest year on record since 2007. Experts believe many different factors have played a role in this increase, from the economy to the climate to driving habits. Regardless of the cause, traffic injuries and deaths have a massive impact on the national economy and the well-being of American citizens as a whole.

The Top Cause? Driving Habits

How we drive has, perhaps, the biggest effect on traffic fatalities. The National Safety Council recently surveyed about 2,000 adults who drive at least 15 minutes a day and have a valid driver’s license. About 83 percent of respondents said driving was a major safety concern for them. However, those same respondent’s driving habits painted a different picture.

About 10 percent of drivers said they drove after drinking, and drove dangerously because of it. Others said they drove after smoking marijuana or taking prescription painkillers/opiates. While these choices are obviously frowned upon, many more revealed they drove in the same way as many Americans.

Nearly two thirds said they felt comfortable speeding, while about half said they were comfortable texting either manually or by way of Siri, Ok Google or other voice controls. (As it turns out, there is no difference in distraction levels between manually texting and using voice commands.)

Other Factors that Increased Fatalities

Gas price sign at pump stationOf course, unsafe driving practices aren’t the only cause of increased traffic fatalities. Gas prices have plummeted in recent years, and as such, more people are able to afford driving around. Moreover, the economy has mostly recovered from the Great Recession of 2008, so more cars are on the road as more people drive to work and for pleasure. With more people driving more regularly, traffic fatality rates naturally increased.

An often overlooked but significant factor in the increase in traffic fatalities is climate change. When the weather is warm, traffic deaths increase. This happens for a few different reasons. Warmer weather invites more drivers to hit the road with the windows down, enjoying the day. However, it also invites more people to get out and walk, bike, ride their motorcycles and take other forms of transportation that don’t provide the same protection as a passenger vehicle. When these individuals are in an accident with a car driver, the risk for death is much greater.

The Cost of Increased Fatalities

There is a very real economic cost associated with so many traffic accidents and fatalities. It is estimated that, between deaths, injuries and property damage, $432 billion was spent or lost due to traffic accidents in 2016. This statistic includes costs like medical expenses, lost productivity and wages, employer costs, property damage and administrative expenses. Economic costs increased by 12 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Of course, the human cost of traffic fatalities is far more pressing than any economic loss. Every day, thousands of families across the United States are suddenly faced with the fact that their loved one has been killed or seriously injured in a car wreck. While eliminating all traffic accidents may only happen when every person is driving an autonomous vehicle, for now these statistics can be reduced for 2017 by adopting safer driving habits, from slowing down to getting off the phone.

Most people know that distracted driving is a problem. One of the most widely talked about distractions is texting and cell phone use. What most people don’t talk about often is drowsy driving, which is responsible for injuring around 40,000 people in car accidents each year.

A Widespread Problem

According to the United States Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving is behind 100,000 or more car accidents annually. The studies conducted by the agency looked only at accidents that occurred at night, creating the high possibility of even more than 100,000 accidents being attributed to drowsy driving each year. Likewise, the studies look at single-vehicle crashes rather than those involving multiple vehicles.

Commonalities in Drowsy Driving Accidents

There are some characteristics that are common in drowsy driving accidents. These include:

1. Time

Most accidents attributed to drowsy driving occur late at night or early in the morning: people driving between the hours of midnight and 8:00 a.m. The remainder of the accidents tend to occur between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. These are the times that the body’s clock makes us sleepy.

2. Single Drivers

According to one study, vehicle crashes caused by drowsy driving involve a single driver in 82 percent of occurrences. It is thought that this is because a single driver has no one to help keep them alert. When there are passengers in the vehicle, they will notice when the driver is tired and keep them awake or take a turn behind the wheel.

3. No Avoidance

When accident investigators look at a crash scene involving a drowsy driver, they often notice that there was no evident attempt to avoid the accident. There are normally no skid marks on the scene, and witnesses do not see brake lights and report not seeing the car swerve.

The Riskiest Drivers

When it comes to people involved in drowsy driving accidents, there are those who are more at risk than others. Young men are more likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash. Shift workers, those who travel for business, and people who do not regularly get enough sleep are also at risk for being in this type of accident.

Drivers who are on medications for which drowsiness is a side effect are also at risk for drowsy driving accidents. People who are intoxicated and those who suffer with sleep disorders are also at risk.

Preventing Drowsy Driving

There are three ways that people can prevent drowsy driving. The first thing to do is to make sure that you get enough sleep at night. Secondly, pull over if you are driving over long distances and feel yourself getting sleepy. Get some rest before you continue down the road. The last thing to do is to avoid drugs, medication and alcohol before driving.

If you are involved in a car accident in North Carolina and suffer injury or property damage, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our team of experienced attorneys for a free case evaluation. Learn about your legal options today.

When you are involved in a car accident, your injuries may be immediate. You may suffer lacerations, broken bones and contusions. It doesn’t always work that way. Not everyone involved in an accident will have immediate injury. In some cases, injuries and symptoms don’t appear for days or weeks after the accident. Here are the most common symptoms that occur in the days following a crash.

1. Headaches

A headache may develop several days following an auto accident. A headache may be minor, or it may indicate that there is an underlying problem. If the headache is severe or doesn’t subside after a day, medical attention is warranted.

2. Neck and Shoulder Pain

In a typical car accident, the head is thrown this way and that. Whiplash is one of the most common delayed injuries associated with a vehicle accident. You may experience a stiff neck or shoulders when you wake up or after you remain still for a long period of time.

3. Back Pain

Back pain experienced after a car accident is typically the cause of an injury to ligaments, tendons or muscles. If you were hit in the rear or side of your vehicle, you can reasonably expect to have lower back pain in the days following the accident. Back pain that does not go away after a few days should be diagnosed by a medical professional.

4. Stomach Pain

If you begin to experience pain in your abdomen or notice swelling, it shouldn’t be ignored. Pain of this type can indicate internal bleeding and needs medical attention as soon as possible. If you have any tenderness in your belly or pain in a specific area, seek medical attention.

5. Behavioral Changes

People who have been involved in car accidents may experience behavioral changes. These can be difficult for the victim to recognize, but they can be very easy to recognize for the friends and loved ones to recognize. Frequent and quick changes in mood may be exhibited, a general change in overall mood, and getting angry more quickly than normal may all be seen. This may be a sign of a concussion or other serious injuries.

Any person who has been involved in a car accident may experience injury. These injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on the type of accident. Injuries may appear immediately or they may be delayed in onset. No matter when injuries appear, medical attention should be sought in order to receive a proper diagnosis and the necessary treatment.

If you have been involved in a car crash in North Carolina, you may experience financial difficulty due to medical bills, time off work and more. Reach out to our experienced team of attorneys today for assistance in determining the type and amount of compensation that you may be entitled to. We will review the details of your accident at no cost to you and help you make the best decisions for you and your family.

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