As people start planning for their summer vacations, many are considering a road trip. Maybe you have a fear of flying or perhaps you think that a few days in the car will be a great family-bonding experience. No matter the reason, mapping out your road trip is one of the most important things to consider when you are making your plans.
There is always a bit of risk to driving, but some locations may be more dangerous than others. If you will be driving through a single state or across several, plan your route with safety in mind. Here are five of the most dangerous states for driving.
Most people wouldn’t think of Montana when they think of dangerous drivers. After all, the state is fairly wide open. However, the state sees just more than 2 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven. It is thought that the high fatality rate is due to the fact that residents of the state drive for longer stretches than people in other states. Studies have shown, interestingly, that the state was safer to drive in before the 1990s when set speed limits were put in place.
For every 100 miles driven, there are approximately 2 fatalities. It is estimated that at least half of the roads in the state are in ill repair. Bad roads and drunk driving are the leading causes of car accidents. Unlike Montana, Louisiana is a fairly small state with a large population, putting more people on the road at any given moment.
There are 1.86 road fatalities for every 100 million miles driven. A GMAC survey showed that the state is in the bottom ten when it comes to knowledge of traffic laws. This may be contributing to accidents throughout the state.
Following closely behind South Carolina is West Virginia with 1.82 fatalities for every 100 miles driven. The state is full of mountains, making driving a problem for people, especially those not familiar with the twisty terrain. Because the state is also coal country, drivers can expect to see heavy equipment and big trucks dotting the roadways at any time of the day or night.
There are 1.81 fatalities on the roads for every 100 million miles driven. This state comes very close to tying West Virginia, making them nearly equal in risk. No studies have shown just why Arkansas is so dangerous, but anyone on a road trip through the state should keep a lookout for unsafe drivers.
It’s fair to say that an accident can occur in any state, not only those that have made the list. If you are taking a road trip, be sure to make frequent stops to stretch your legs and regain your focus, and always make sure that you stop for the night to keep your body’s natural sleep rhythms intact.
We are proud to say North Carolina is not in the top 5, but our roads can still be dangerous. If you are in an accident in Charlotte, reach out to our experienced auto accident attorneys. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of the options available to you.
If the competition for worst drivers is between teenagers and seniors, teens lose. Drivers who are between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to cause a car crash than drivers 20 and over.
Seniors get a bad rap when it comes to driving. Teens do as well, but it is more deserved. According to the United States Census Bureau, teenagers are responsible for just over 12 percent of all car accidents in the country. Seniors are responsible for just over 7 percent.
Sorry guys, but women come out as better drivers statistically. Men are more likely to be charged with driving under the influence, be cited for a traffic violation and cause an accident than women. That said, it’s important to know that men also clock more miles on the road than women.
Men are surpassed by women when it comes to which gender holds the most licenses, but men drive up to 40 percent more each year. Some people surmise that men get into more accidents because they drive more aggressively than females. This, of course, is only based on conjecture.
Bicycle versus vehicle accidents are particularly dangerous for cyclists. The power of being struck by a vehicle can send a cyclist through the air, causing a serious impact when they land. Statistics show that while cyclists are more likely to get into an accident than a vehicle driver, both are equally responsible for causing the accidents.
Only a third of reported bicycle accident involve cars. A cyclist is more likely to fall, be attacked by a dog or crash due to poor road conditions than be struck by a car. Most bike accidents, in fact, have to do with road conditions, poor signage and a lack of bike lanes.
While there may be drivers who are more statistically likely to cause a crash, anyone can be a danger behind the wheel. It is in the interest of everyone on the road for those operating vehicles to do so with safety in mind. Staying focused, obeying the rules of the road and driving for road conditions can go a long way in keeping you out of harm’s way.
If you do happen to be involved in a vehicle accident in North Carolina, you may be entitled to damages and compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Reach out to our experienced team of auto accident attorneys to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options.
Do you feel jet-lagged? Fatigued? If you are feeling more tired than usual this time of year, you aren’t alone. Daylight saving time has kicked in and left people feeling sleepy and sluggish, no matter how much sleep they’ve gotten. It should come as no surprise, then, that vehicle accidents rise after we “spring forward.”
When you stop to think about it, losing an hour’s sleep doesn’t seem like it should matter much. After all, you can always go to bed an hour earlier. Unfortunately, for many people it simply doesn’t work that way. Any disruption to our normal sleep patterns can cause havoc on our bodies.
A 1999 research study conducted by Johns Hopkins University and Stanford found that there was an increase in crash-related fatalities immediately following daylight saving time. The first Monday after the clock shifted forward saw the average number of fatal car crashes rise from 78.2 on a normal Monday to 83.5.
A study conduced in the United States in 1996 found an increase in fatalities related to car accidents following daylight saving time. Another study in Great Britain found the same in 1980. Whether or not any person or group has undertaken research to show that these results are not true is unknown.
It is not clear why the number of vehicle collisions rise. What is thought is that, particularly in America, people are already sleep deprived. The change in clocks, no matter how minor, can push already tired people over the edge. The stress is felt in the body in a number of ways, and car accidents aren’t the only result. Studies have shown that heart attacks and workplace injuries also increase following the time change.
What one should take from the research and information provided is not that they should avoid driving on the Monday following the time change. What should be taken from the information is that even the smallest of sleep disruptions can impair our ability to drive safely.
If you are sleep-deprived, establishing a regular sleep pattern is the best thing that one can do. A regular night’s sleep on a normal schedule will reduce the stress on your body, will help to reset your body’s natural rhythms and make you a more healthy person overall. It’s a misconception that one can “catch up” on their sleep. There is no getting sleep back. The only thing you can do is to start establishing healthy sleep habits for yourself from this day forward.
When a person is involved in a car accident through no fault of their own, they may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. If you have been injured in a car accident in Charlotte and the other driver was at fault, reach out to our experienced team of auto accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your legal options.
With millions of people driving the country’s roadways everyday, it is easy to see why so many traffic tickets are written. At virtually any time of the day, some driver somewhere is violating a traffic law. When you know the most common moving traffic violations, you know not only what to avoid yourself, but what you can expect from other drivers on the road, helping you to avoid accidents.
Pay attention to traffic around you, particularly on the highway. If you notice someone traveling faster than the posted speed limit or weaving in and out of traffic, do your best to stay out of the way. Speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents.
People are frequently ticketed for running red lights and stop signs. When you come to an intersection, be sure to look both ways before you move through it, even if you have the right of way. If it appears that a vehicle coming from the other direction is driving too fast to stop, slow your own vehicle to avoid a collision in the intersection.
Another cause of tickets, particularly on the highway, is unsafe lane change. This can happen when a driver is changing lanes too quickly or doesn’t signal before they move over. Do your best to stay out of driver’s blind spots, and always be sure to use your turn signal if you are the one changing lanes.
It is tempting to tap your brakes or drive more slowly if someone is driving too closely behind you, but both of these maneuvers can be dangerous. Instead of playing cat and mouse with the tailing driver, get out of the way and let them pass. There is virtually nothing you are going to do that will get the other driver off your tail except for letting them pass.
No one likes to be stuck waiting for a train. It seems as though it takes forever, and it almost always happens when you are in a hurry. If the lights are flashing, stop. If the line of cars in front of you is deep and following behind them will cause you to have to stop on the tracks, stay where you are. If you are stuck on the tracks when a train comes along, your vehicle could very well be destroyed.
When you follow the rules of the road, you avoid being ticketed. When you know why people are ticketed most often, you know which behaviors to be on the lookout for when you are driving. When you know what to expect from other drivers, you are better able to avoid an accident.
If you do happen to be involved in a car crash in Charlotte, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and property damage. Reach out to our experienced team of auto accident attorneys for assistance in determining your rights. Call today to schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation.
Maybe you have seen it on television. A nefarious criminal cuts the brake line of their victim, hoping to cause a severe car accident. The victim finds out that their brakes aren’t working at the worst time, and chaos ensues.
Brake failure is rarely this glamorous, but it does happen. Brakes can fail for any number of reasons, and most of those can be attributed to wear and tear. Reacting appropriately can help to reduce your chance of accident. Keep these tips in mind if you find that your brakes aren’t stopping your vehicle.
This tip is the first and hardest: stay calm. Panicking at this point will do nothing to help you. Staying calm and collected will help you to follow the next steps correctly.
Today’s vehicles have dual-braking systems. This means that one system controls the front and one controls the back. While your brakes may fail at one end of your car and cut your braking ability in half, you should still have enough braking power to bring your car to a halt. Try depressing the brake pedal again, applying steady pressure.
If by some chance both of your braking systems have failed at the same time, reduce your speed. You can attempt to apply the emergency brake slowly. Do not jerk up on the brake. Instead, bring it up slowly and wait for your car to gradually come to a stop. If your emergency brake doesn’t help you, slow your car by taking your foot off the accelerator and letting it slow naturally. If you have a manual transmission or an automatic that allows you to drive manually, shift your car to the lowest gear.
This may take some maneuvering on your part, but work your way out of traffic if you can. Use your turn signals and pay close attention to the traffic around you. Make your way cautiously to the right side of the roadway. Once you get to the shoulder, let your car coast until it comes to a stop. When it does, put it in park and turn off the engine.
Speaking of turning the engine off, don’t do it until your car has come to a complete stop. It may seem like a smart move to turn the power off to the car, but this will reduce your steering capabilities. Keep your ignition on until your car has come to a rest. Once it has, turn the key and turn on your hazards.
There is no doubt that a brake failure is frightening. The good news is that, barring congested traffic, you can typically steer yourself to safety. If you find yourself without brakes, follow the tips above to help ensure you and the vehicles around you don’t collide.
If you are in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of car accident attorneys. We will help you decide the next steps to take at your free consultation.
You have been injured in a car accident and have decided to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries. You also want your car repaired and don’t feel as though you should have to pay for it. In order to prove your case, your attorney will have to provide evidence to the court. Just what type of evidence may your attorney attempt to use?
Medical records are the best way to show the court how you were injured. This is why it is always recommended to seek medical attention following an accident. The records submitted to the court may include notes, test results and copies of images. Your attorney will need your permission to secure these records on your behalf.
You will undoubtedly have been financially responsible for things related to your car accident before your case makes it to court. In order to be reimbursed for these items, your attorney will need to present bills, receipts and even estimates to the court. Save every piece of paper that you can following your accident.
Your attorney may provide the court with pictures and videos. These may include images of the accident scene, the vehicles involved and even your injuries. The more you can document the better.
Police reports will be used by your attorney to paint a picture of the accident. The police report can help in assigning blame. For example, the police officer may have noted that the other driver was cited for a traffic infraction as a result of the accident. This may help your attorney prove that the other driver was at fault.
If you are out of work following your accident because of your injuries, your attorney will use your pay stubs to show the court how much you are losing. In many cases, the at fault driver is legally liable to pay your lost wages if the accident has caused you to be unable to return to work.
In some cases, your attorney may use witness testimony to prove your case. If anyone stuck around after your accident to talk to the police on your behalf, you should have gotten their contact information. If you did, your attorney may ask that they testify in court as to what they saw or heard before, during and after the crash.
There are a variety of types of evidence that your attorney may introduce in court in order to help prove your case. When a person is involved in an accident, the more information they can gather, the stronger their case will be.
If you have been involved in a crash in Charlotte or the surrounding area, an experienced auto accident attorney can help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to. Reach out to our team today for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and help you take the next appropriate steps.
It is a fact that teens are involved in vehicle collisions more often than adults. While there are several factors that come into play in any accident, there are commonalities in those that involve teenage drivers. Inexperienced license holders often make errors that lead to crashes. Some of the most common errors that can be attributed to a lack of experience are driving in ways that aren’t safe for road conditions, failing to respond to hazards correctly, and distracted driving.
When it comes to teen drivers, experience is often the best teacher, but that experience shouldn’t come at the expense of someone else. If you have a teen, understanding the common causes of accidents caused by young drivers can help you better teach your child how to behave behind the wheel.
1. Distracted Driving
Like with adults, one of the most common causes of teen driving accidents is distracted driving. Teens may do any number of things that takes their attention off the road and traffic. These include talking or otherwise interacting with passengers, adjusting the radio, digging through bags, eating or drinking, and using electronic devices for texting, emailing or posting to social media. Any of these distractions will cause a teenager to lose focus on the road.
The National Young Driver Survey spoke to teenagers across America. Of those surveyed, most defined speeding as traveling more than 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. What many did not seem to understand was that traveling even a single mile over the posted speed limit was illegal and dangerous. Speeding is such a concern for teen drivers because it takes a vehicle longer to stop the higher the speed, and teens already possess less experience for reacting properly in an emergency or hazardous situation.
3. Nighttime Driving
Another factor that comes into play with teens and accidents is nighttime driving. When driving at night, people have even less time to see what is ahead and react appropriately. It takes experience to be able to recognize hazards quickly. Nighttime driving is very different than driving during the day, and teenagers should practice with an experienced driver several times before venturing out after dark on their own.
4. Seat Belts
People between the ages of 16 and 24 are less likely to wear a seat belt than any other age group. Teens who live in an area where not wearing a seat belt is a secondary offense rather than a primary one are 15 percent less likely to buckle up. Seat belts have been shown to reduce fatalities in most accidents. Teach your child to buckle up no matter how the law is enforced in your area.
Teenagers are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road simply due to a lack of experience. The more time one has behind the wheel, the more likely they are to be able to avoid hazards and react properly when they encounter dangerous conditions. If your teenager is a new driver, take them out for practice as often as you can.
If you are involved in an accident in Charlotte and someone else is found to be at fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our team of car accident attorneys today for a free consultation and learn more about your rights.
Take a moment and conduct an Internet search for “Facebook and driving” or “Periscope and driving.” You will receive pages of results of news stories of people involved in accidents around the country because of these dangerous driving habits. People are sitting behind the wheels of their vehicles and, instead of paying attention to the road ahead, sending live video feeds to their followers on social media.
Coined “Facedriving” by some media outlets, people are no longer only distracted by texting and driving or talking and driving. Several people have been arrested for using Periscope or Facebook Live while driving. Even after deleting their videos, these people learned that nothing is deleted in the online world. Why is this behavior so dangerous?
1. Eyes Off the Road
It has been shown that reading or responding to a text can take a person’s eyes off the road for the length of a football field if they are traveling at normal highway speeds. Imagine the number of football fields one can cross virtually blind while they are busy live streaming. Taking your eyes off of the road ahead for even a few moments is incredibly dangerous for yourself, your passengers and other on the road.
2. Hand Off the Wheel
While some people are certainly using some type of cell phone holder while they are streaming videos, others are using their hands. If they are holding their phone, who is holding the wheel? Taking your hands off of the steering wheel not only affects the way you drive and control your vehicle, but it will take longer, even precious seconds, to get your hands back on the wheel and avoid an accident. Experts recommend keeping both hands on the wheel at 9 and 3 to maintain optimum control of a vehicle.
3. Mind in the Game
Driving is an activity that takes mental acuity. You may not realize it is happening, but your brain is performing at high levels when you operate a motor vehicle. Decisions are being made every second, and your full attention is needed. When people are focused on their cell phones, thinking about what they will say, how they look and how they will respond to their followers’ comments, they aren’t keeping their mind on their driving. This dulls reaction time in the case of an emergency or hazardous situation.
In days past, cell phones were thought to be dangerous because people paid more attention to talking and texting. Today, electronic devices are seen as dangerous because of all the things people are using them for behind the wheel, including streaming live feeds. If you feel the need to send live videos to your friends and family, wait until you are in a safe place to do so.
If you are involved in an accident in Charlotte or the surrounding area, call our team of car accident attorneys. If someone else is found to be at fault for your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. Reach out today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Late winter to early spring is becoming more and more unpredictable. One week you’re outside sunbathing, and the next you’re bundled up like an eskimo. As the climate continues to change, day-to-day weather becomes wilder all the time. But it’s not just sunbathing schedules that are affected by fickleness of the weather.
Car accident rates are also affected, and in a major way.
According to Resources for the Future (RFF), a nonprofit independent organization that conducts research into energy, environmental and natural resource issues, warm weather means more drivers on the road. And that can be deadly.
Chances are, you last learned about the differences between climate and weather when you were in elementary school. To fully understand the claims being made by RFF, let’s review the terminology commonly used in their research.
Weather is a short-term measure of how the atmosphere is acting. This can range from changes by the minute to trends in a few months. Weather is determined by temperature, condensation and more. Climate, on the other hand, is a look at long-term patterns, typically over many years.
As such, when organizations like NASA look at climate trends, they will look at decades of data to do so. Even if there are drops in temperature in a month or year (or freak blizzards in March), the overall climate trend is toward becoming hotter — which means the weather is warmer more often than not. And it’s this data that the researchers at RFF used for their study.
RFF Fellow Benjamin Leard noticed that little research had been conducted regarding the effects of shifting weather patterns on car accidents. An overall warmer climate means warmer, wetter weather. It also means more Americans taking road trips or generally enjoying the weather by driving around. To better understand how this affects traffic accident rates, Leard and his team looked at mass amounts of data.
Specifically, they evaluated 46.5 million police-reported accidents, weather reports from more than 2,600 stations across America and daily travel logs of 207,455 households. This data covered the years from 1990 to 2010. The initial findings were not surprising in the least: accidents increase when the weather is below freezing, or when there is snow or rain on the road. But the change when the weather was warmer than usual was unexpected.
There was little to no difference between warm and cold days regarding accidents with just property damage or injuries. However, fatal car crashes took a surprising jump when the weather was warm. When the temperature was above 80 degrees, fatalities increased by 9 percent when compared to days at 50 to 60 degrees. Though these findings are initially startling, the numbers logically make sense.
It’s not just drivers who are out and about on nice days. When the weather permits, people often choose alternative modes of transportation, such as walking, riding a bike or riding a motorcycle. When passenger car drivers collide with pedestrians or motorcyclists, the chance of fatalities is significantly increased. Climate change-induced warm weather draws more people outside to use transportation that doesn’t offer protection in the event of a crash, which increases the number deaths.
Experts believe that, if drastic measures are not taken, global temperatures will rise by nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit by 2099. If climate and car crash patterns hold, warm weather could cause nearly 850 additional deaths by the end of the century. However, warmer climate would cause far less snow and much more rain. This would actually save about 245 lives a year. In today’s dollars, the additional 600 traffic fatalities a year from 2010 to 2099 would cost over $61 billion in total.
While taking action to stop and reverse climate change is the ultimate, more short-term solutions are becoming more available to prevent car crashes. Technology like anti-brake systems, better airbags and crash-avoidance systems could cut down on the number of accidents. However, according to the “Peltzman Effect,” people tend to drive less safely when they have better safety technology in their vehicles.
Another possible solution that is soon to be more widely available on the market is the self-driving car. According to McKinsey and Company, a leading consulting firm, automated vehicles could reduce car crashes by as much as 90 percent, saving the economy about $190 billion annually. Though some experts disagree with those exact numbers, they do agree that accident rates would drop in some capacity.
Perhaps the easiest short-term solution is policy change. For instance, in 2008, there were more than 34,000 fatal car accidents. In 2009, that number dropped to about 31,000. Why? The recession hit, and fewer people were driving. Though inducing a recession would be wholly unwise, increasing gas prices through higher taxes would encourage more people to carpool or use public transportation — thus sufficiently decreasing the number of fatalities.
The main challenge is getting Americans away from the status quo. Buying a car and hitting the open road has become a basic American freedom. Summer road trips are a tradition, and warmer weather throughout the year encourages drivers to put more miles on their cars and other vehicles. Car accident rates can be cut by adopting simple personal policies, such as safe driving habits, carpooling and taking public transportation when possible. And by moving toward a greener lifestyle as a society, such as driving a fuel-efficient car and using electricity only when needed, it may be possible to stop global warming in its tracks and, as such, reduce roadway fatalities.
Distracted driving is on the rise, and there are few things more distracting than passengers — including children. Distracted driving is on the rise, and it is the leading cause of car accidents in many parts of the country. If you regularly travel with your children in tow, one of the best things you can do is to keep them entertained.
When your children have things to do in the car, they are less likely to fight, argue and engage you in distracting conversation. Here are five ways you can keep your little ones busy in the backseat.
Have a go bag for each of your children. Purchase a small backpack or other type of bag for each of your kids and let them pack them with things they can do in the car. Coloring books and crayons, comic books, MP3 players and more can be packed in the bag and pulled out for entertainment. By letting your children choose their own items, they are more likely to put them to use.
You may not want to listen to the latest Disney soundtrack in your car but if it will keep the kids quiet, why not? Let your children choose a playlist before your journey to prevent arguing over the radio station. Even better, if you can find an audio book to play, your children may be quietly engaged for the whole trip.
Come up with an in-car game to keep the kids occupied. Give them a piece of paper and a pencil and tell them to make a mark every time they see a green car. Tell them to point to every blue house they see. There are dozens of games you can play in the car. It won’t keep the kids completely silent, but it will give them something to focus their attention on if you make the game age appropriate.
If your little ones have their own electronic devices, download a movie and let them watch it, with ear buds in, in the backseat. Netflix offers the ability to download movies if you are a subscriber. You can also purchase or rent movies from a variety of other sites and services.
Find an appropriate container and make snack packs for your children. This will prevent you from having to listen to a chorus of “we’re hungry” every time you pass a fast food restaurant. Pack a bottle of water or a juice box to go with the snacks and you will have happy munchers sitting behind you.
Traveling with children can be distracting, but you can minimize those distractions by using the tips above. You may not be able completely eliminate your children’s talking or moving, but you can reduce both with a bit of pre-planning.
If you are involved in an accident in Charlotte, you have legal rights. Call our experienced team of car accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your options.