You shop for a vehicle with safety in mind. Whether you are looking for a family sedan or a sporty vehicle for yourself, you want to know that you are going to be protected when you travel down the road.
As North Carolina car accident lawyers, we know that people have a lot of faith and expectations when it comes to the safety features in their vehicles. We believe that it is important to point out that the person behind the wheel is still responsible for their safety and that of others on the road no matter what type of safety features any vehicle may have.
Research has shown that it takes more than the installation of safety features in vehicles to prevent serious injuries and deaths in car accidents. If drivers don’t educate themselves on the purpose, working parts, and limitations of these features, they aren’t driving with the necessary knowledge that could save their lives. Here is some information and examples of safety features that every driver should know how to properly operate if they are installed in their car.
Blind Spot Warning
Blind spot warning systems aren’t yet standard or included in the base model package of all vehicles. You may be wondering if the feature is worth the extra money. Here’s the basics: Blind spot warning systems monitor the left and right sides of your vehicle. When sensors detect a vehicle in your blind spot, a visual and auditory warning is triggered and the driver is now aware of the hazard.
If you are purchasing a truck, an SUV or a vehicle with limited visibility and you do a lot of highway driving this is a great feature. Even if you are purchasing a smaller vehicle, or a vehicle with large windows, or you only drive on city or rural roads, there is still value for this safety feature. Blind spot accidents can occur anywhere. This feature can certainly prevent accidents but again, drivers are ultimately responsible and should not solely rely on any safety feature. Lastly, if you have this feature, make sure you know how to use it by consulting your driver’s manual or dealer where the vehicle was purchased.
Forward Collision Warning
A forward collision warning system can warn drivers of an imminent crash, allowing the time to react appropriately. Consumer Reports does recommend that people spend the extra money on this safety feature when they are considering whether to bump up their package.
Imagine the benefit of your vehicle quickly calculating your speed and the speed of the vehicle in front of you and how those speeds relate to a potential impact. This feature allows your car to send you a warning of a potential frontal impact. It is hard to quantify the cost and value associated with something that can prevent you from becoming seriously injured.
Automatic Emergency Braking Systems
These systems don’t act immediately. They will first give you a chance to maneuver your vehicle in such a way to avoid a collision by giving you a warning (this feature is typically coupled with forward collision warning).
If you don’t use the brakes, the system will do the job for you, working to help you avoid a forward collision. When looking at an automatic braking system, ask your dealer if the vehicle utilizes dynamic brake support, crash imminent braking or both. This feature is a great example of the need to understand your safety features. Know what this feature can and cannot do and how to use it!
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Let’s say you are backing up when a car suddenly enters your path. This safety feature will alert you to that vehicle, giving you time to brake and avoid a collision. This is not the same as having a rear-facing camera in your car. This is a warning system that will light your dash or display.
It does not work in angled parking spaces and depending on the technology, it may not work in enclosed spaces. It is not suggested that anyone relies solely on this safety feature. Always check around your vehicle, use your mirrors and look over your shoulder before backing up. Again, this feature is not meant to take the place of checking around your vehicle to make sure it is sage to reverse.
Lane Departure Warning
This feature will let you know that you may be drifting out of your lane. If you couple the lane departure warning safety feature with lane keeping assist, your vehicle will make a small steering or braking correction if you don’t.
Some experts recommend that anyone who is going to spend the money for lane departure warning should only do so if they plan on coupling it with the lane keeping assist. Some systems are sensitive and warn too frequently, causing drivers to mute the alerts. Your money isn’t going to be well spent if a small beeping noise is going to irritate you to the point of silencing it.
Adaptive Cruise Control
If you don’t use cruise control frequently, this feature may not be worth the cost. Here’s what it does: For example, you have your cruise control set and a car merges in front of you and slows down.
This feature allows you to not have to do anything. The system takes over, makes the adjustment and follows the vehicle in front of you at a consistent distance.
You’re Not Alone After a Crash. Speak to a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Today
There is nothing wrong with shelling out a bit of extra money for the latest safety features if you have that capability. There is something wrong, however, with buying them and having no idea how they work.
If you have safety features on your vehicle, take the time to learn what they are and how they work. You also need to know when you can depend on them and when you can’t. Remember that you are still ultimately the one in control of your vehicle and you are responsible for safety.
It’s also important to note that, the more safety features a car has, the more likely you are to become content and inattentive when driving. Always stay aware; imagine your car has no safety features to protect you when you drive.
If you are in a car accident in Charlotte or anywhere else in the state, you need North Carolina car accident lawyers who are ready to fight for your rights. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation and discover what we can do for you. Our experienced team of accident lawyers will work hard to fight for the compensation that you deserve. (855) 969-5671 is the number you should dial for a free case evaluation to find out how we may be able to help you.
You can expect to see more people riding bicycles through your local neighborhood and urban streets as the weather heats up. People are more likely to ride a bicycle when the weather is warm than they are in the cold temperatures of fall and winter.
Besides warmer weather, more and more people are using bicycles to travel around town because of their cost and accessibility. If you live in a larger city you may have even seen some of the bikes (bikeshares) that can be used by anyone with a few dollars and a corresponding app on their phone. They are everywhere in Charlotte! It’s important to keep in mind that bicycle accidents can be very serious and that because of the limited protection that a bicyclist may have, their injuries can be catastrophic.
People don’t leave their homes with the intention of being in or causing any type of accident. That is why they are called “accidents.” Unfortunately, thousands of accidents happen every day across the Carolinas. Even though they may not be intentional, many are avoidable.
Focused drivers that are mindful of traffic laws and aware of their surroundings travel with fewer chances of causing an accident. Be one of those drivers! Here are some summer bicycle safety tips for both cyclists and drivers.
Any person riding a bicycle should be wearing a helmet. It is even a safer to wear elbow and knee pads. Very few people go to the extent of utilizing all of the safety equipment that they should! Studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury by as much as 88 percent. With a helmet and pads you may not walk away from an accident unscathed, but you are significantly increasing your odds of surviving a car versus bicycle accident scenario.
Many people believe that it is safer to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk and don’t understand why some areas make it illegal to do so. Their theory is that it is safer to ride on the street with vehicles because drivers don’t pay as much attention to what is on the sidewalk as they do to what is on the road. Others argue that riding away from the road is safer. Either way, you should always follow your local traffic laws and know when it is appropriate to your bike on the sidewalk as opposed to riding on the street.
When you were young, the adults in your life may have told you to ride against traffic so you could see what was coming at you. It makes sense, but isn’t the right way to ride a bike. You should ride with traffic for the greatest amount of safety. In many cities it’s actually the law.
It’s tempting to pop in your ear buds and pedal out of your driveway but you are putting yourself in danger. You shouldn’t have anything in your ears or attached to your handle bars that could distract you from what is going on around you. Keep your focus on the road ahead and don’t let your tunes distract you.
A good safety tip that not everyone mentions is this: Be predictable. Don’t swerve in and out of traffic, be sure to signal your turns and don’t break suddenly if you don’t have to. A vehicle driver doesn’t expect you to make sudden maneuvers and may not be able to react to you with enough time to prevent.
Sharing the road with bicyclists is annoying to some drivers but the reality is that bicyclists have the same right to be on the road as others. Here are some things you can do as a driver to prevent colliding with a bicycle.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents across the country. While you may notice a vehicle out of the corner of your eye while you are paying attention to something else, you are less likely to see a bicycle. Stay focused and attentive when you are behind the wheel.
Too many accidents (especially those involving bicycles) could have been prevented with the simple act of letting someone go, or yielding. There are specific rules that govern right of ways and when to yield. Besides failing to yield because of negligence, there are times when letting the other person go may not just be the friendly or lawful thing to do, it also may be the safest option. Always use your best judgment but if you can prevent an accident why not?
Take a look over your left shoulder before you open a car door if you park on the street. There are hundreds of bicycle riders injured each year because they run into a car door that opened unexpectedly. It’s a simple and quick thing to do to check your blind spot before you open your door into the street.
If you are the type of driver who loves to turn up the volume and rock out, reconsider your habits. There is no way you will be able to hear a cyclist yell for your attention if your radio is at full volume. Stay focused!
Keep a watchful eye on corners and near alleyway, driveways and road obstructions. A cyclist could dart out from any one of these places before you know it. If you can’t see behind what is ahead of you, slow down a bit before you pass it.
No one wants to be involved in a bicycle versus car or truck collision. If it happens to you and you suffer an injury, you may have the right to compensation. After a bicycle accident in Charlotte, North Carolina or elsewhere, reach out to our team to learn more about your legal rights! Our consultations are free and it will never cost you any money to see if we can help you.
When it comes to the worst drivers in America, people have strong opinions on who they believe should carry the title. Some believe it to be seniors. Others think that the distinction belongs to teenagers. Of course, there are those who think other certain groups also hold the title.
According to a report recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, those between the ages of 19 and 39, or Millennials, are proving to be quite dangerous behind the wheel. The report states that 88 percent of this generation has engaged in at least one behavior behind the wheel that could be considered risky within the past month.
The behaviors undertaken include texting and driving, speeding and running red lights. Most people have accepted that texting while driving is a dangerous behavior. Many would agree that speeding and running red lights is also risky. Unfortunately, these behaviors are nothing new for young drivers.
Here’s what is new: Drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 typically don’t feel as though their behaviors are dangerous. They are widely unapologetic. According to the executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Dr. David Yang, “Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19 – 24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable.”
Dr. Yang goes on to say that these drivers need to understand the potential consequences of their behaviors. It’s also important that Millennials guilty of risky behaviors change those behaviors and drive more safely. The report released says that close to 12 percent of drivers between 19 and 24 feel as though it is acceptable to drive through a school zone at 10 mph over the posted limit. Fewer than five percent of all drivers feel the same.
The good news for millennials, and maybe the bad news for the rest of us, is that they aren’t alone in their risky attitudes. For other groups surveyed, at least 60 percent reported engaging in the same behaviors, texting, speeding and running red lights, in the last 30 days.
It means that, as a nation, we aren’t the most responsible motorists on the planet. While millennials may be statistically the most unsafe drivers, the rest of the population that is of driving age isn’t much better. It’s up to each person that gets behind the wheel of a car to operate it safely.
Distracted driving is known to be particularly dangerous, causing more accidents each year than any other behavior. If you have a smartphone, put it on “do not disturb” while you’re driving. If you have a hands-free system, use it sparingly, if at all. Remember that when you get behind the wheel, you’re number one focus is the road ahead.
If you are involved in an accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team. We will help you arrange a free consultation and tell you more about your legal rights and options. Call today to schedule your case evaluation and take the first steps in being compensated for your damages.
When people think of burn injuries, their thoughts may travel to cooking accidents or even house fires. Many don’t consider burns as the result of motor vehicle collisions, but these injuries do occur. In fact, car accidents cause a fair share of burn injuries treated by medical professionals across the country.
The aftermath of a burn injury can be devastating. Burns cause serious pain and often require rehabilitation. In some situations, burns can be so severe that they lead to death. When you or a loved one has been burned as the result of a car accident that was not your fault, you may have legal rights to compensation.
Any motor vehicle that runs on gasoline has the potential to catch on fire in a collision. In some cases, a fire erupts and traps a victim in their vehicle. In other cases, a person is burned after they are able to escape their flaming car after an accident.
Burn injuries may also be caused by a collision with a large truck carrying fuel or other toxic chemicals. If these chemicals leak after a serious accident, they can burn the victims and even witnesses who stop to assist.
A burn can be minor or severe. Any burn, no matter how slight, should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. A doctor will examine the burn and place it into one of three categories:
Again, burns should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. Each type of burn may be treated in a different way in order to manage pain and promote healing. First-degree burns may be treated with over-the-counter remedies, while second- and third-degree burns may require extensive care. Third-degree burns may require skin grafts, surgery, rehabilitation or all three.
If you have been burned in a car accident in Charlotte, you may be entitled to compensation for the medical costs you have incurred and will in the future. Reach out to our experienced team of personal injury attorneys to discover more about your legal rights and options. We can help you hold the at-fault driver accountable, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call our office today or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.
You’re driving down the road at dawn on your way to work. You’re driving safely and paying attention to the road ahead. All of the sudden a deer leaps into your path and you can’t avoid hitting it. What do you do now?
Once you’ve shaken off the stress of just having been in a collision, it’s time to take action. Here are six steps to take if you find yourself in this situation.
If your car is operable, pull it over to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights so that other cars will see you. If you get out of your car to check on the animal or look for damage, don’t walk into the roadway. Both you and your car are going to be less visible in times of low light.
For insurance purposes, it is a good idea to have a police report made so you can share it with your insurance company. If you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, hitting a deer is typically a covered loss. If you swerve to avoid hitting a deer and hit a tree or some other object such as a tree, fence or other vehicle, that claim will typically fall under your collision coverage.
If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the current road conditions, the area surrounding your car and the animal if it is still present. If there were any witnesses that stopped to assist you, ask if you can have their contact information should you need it in the future.
If the animal is still present, keep your distance. You can use the zoom on your camera to get photos. The deer could act unpredictably if it’s injured. No matter how bad you feel about any injuries the animal sustained, you have to remember that it is a wild animal and could harm you.
Your car may not be safe to drive after you hit a large animal like a deer. Look for any leaking fluids, loose parts or broken lights. Make sure your tires are still inflated and that all latches on your car shut tightly. If you don’t believe that your car is safe to drive, call for a tow.
Reach out to your insurance agent when you get home. They will want to know what happened and you will want to start the process of having your car repaired if necessary. The sooner you speak with your agent, the faster you can get your vehicle fixed.
While there is no fault when you strike a deer except maybe your own, if you are hit by a driver who swerved to avoid an animal in Charlotte, you may have legal rights to compensation. Call our attorneys to arrange for a free case evaluation and discover more about your legal options. We may be able to secure compensation based on injuries sustained because of a negligent driver.
It’s easy to understand how a person could be held at fault for a car accident if they were negligent or behaved recklessly in some way. It’s also possible to potentially hold a driver accountable if they were operating faulty equipment. In some cases, defective automobiles can also be found to be the responsibility of the manufacturer of the automobile or automobile part manufacturer.
Any serious injury accident caused by faulty or defective equipment should be investigated. The goal of such an investigation is to thoroughly determine any potential negligence claims against the person operating the vehicle or against a manufacturer or repair shop that could have been negligent in the manufacturing or repair of the vehicle — resulting in serious injury.
Here are come common types of faulty equipment frequently involved in motor vehicle accidents.
Tires aren’t made to last forever, even though some people believe they are. The tires on any vehicle are rated for so many miles and should be replaced at that point. That’s not to say that tires won’t fail before their mileage is up. When an owner realizes that their tires are under-inflated, over-inflated or even that tread is worn or missing, they could be held responsible if a tire fails and results in an accident.
Brakes can be expensive. It’s why so many people wait until they can’t possible wait any longer to have them changed. Unfortunately, this choice could lead to an accident. If you have heard screeching, scraping or grinding when you apply the brakes, or you notice that you have to push the pedal nearer the floor to get your car to slow down, you need to have your brakes looked at. Don’t risk not being able to stop when you need to. Additionally, there have been successful cases against brake repair shops when their faulty repairs resulted in serious injury accidents. Each case is different and should be investigated as soon as possible after the accident occurred.
This is true especially when it snows and you don’t take the time to clear off your windshield and rear and side windows, but it can also occur because you fail to do one easy thing: Change windshield wiper blades. In order to work properly, your blades have to be making appropriate contact with your window. Over time, wiper blades wear and fray, inhibiting their ability to keep your windshield clear. If you cause an accident because you couldn’t see due to faulty blades, you could be held liable.
Additionally, driving in unsafe driving conditions can also lead to an accident that might not otherwise occur in good weather. If you are going to be on the roads, make sure you can see and that the weather is appropriate to drive in.
Proper vehicle maintenance is the responsibility of every owner. If you aren’t sure what you need to do or when, consult your owner’s manual. Keeping up on maintenance could not only prevent costly repairs, but it could prevent you from causing an accident.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of attorneys to arrange a case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options. Call today to schedule your appointment and discover more about your rights.
You’re driving down the road in your car or on your motorcycle. All of a sudden a car comes flying up behind you, laying on its horn and blowing by you in the passing lane. It cuts you off, forcing you to slow down dramatically, and hovers in front of you controlling the way you can drive. You have run into an aggressive driver.
Some people get behind the wheel and focus on the task at hand. They obey the rules of the road and they tend to themselves. Others get behind the wheel and pretend that they are on a racetrack, driving in a way that puts not only themselves but others in danger. Here is how to respond (or not respond) to an encounter with an aggressive driver.
Let’s be honest: If you are the victim of an aggressive driver, you have every right to lose your cool. But don’t give in to your first impulses. Chances are that flashing your high beams, blaring your horn or making hand gestures is only going to inflame the other driver and make the situation worse.
If you can safely get in a different lane of travel, do so. This is clearly easier to do if you are on a highway and not a city street. Signal with your blinker and move to another lane when it is safe. You don’t want to put anyone else at risk by cutting them off. Giving the aggressive driver plenty of room may get them to leave you alone.
Aggressive drivers seem to be more agitated during rush hour when cars are sitting bumper-to-bumper on the highway. Most of us creep up to the car in front of us, leaving very little room should we need to maneuver. If you have been met with an aggressive driver, always plan to leave yourself as much space as is reasonably possible. Instead of creeping up on the car in front of you, leave yourself some room to move.
Don’t make eye contact with the aggressive driver. Your goal is to diffuse the situation, and you don’t know what making eye contact will do. In many cases, it only serves to challenge the other driver and make matters worse.
If you have done everything you can to avoid and deescalate the aggressive driver, your last option is to call 911. You will need to know your location and, hopefully, the license plate number of the offending driver. Let the police handle the situation like they are trained to do.
If you are involved in a vehicle collision in Charlotte or elsewhere in the Carolinas, reach out to our office. We will help you arrange a case evaluation and advise you of your rights. Call today for assistance and learn more about your legal options for compensation.
Two cars are involved in an accident. One driver wasn’t paying enough attention and rear-ends the vehicle ahead of them. The driver in the first car jumps out dramatically, holding their hand to the back of their neck and hollering at everyone nearby.
Scenes like this give whiplash a bad name. Yes, it is a real condition, but not a medical term. In fact, before automobiles were invented, the condition had a different name: railway spine. People involved in train accidents were the sufferers of the condition.
Despite what people may have come to believe, the condition is a very real one. If you’ve ever suffered whiplash, you know just how painful it can be. Here is some additional information about this condition and your rights.
When the neck is suddenly extended due to a force, the ligaments, muscles and vertebrae in the neck and shoulders can be damaged. This type of injury is commonly found in rear-end collisions where the head is thrown forward and then back again in a fast or violent manner.
When your head moves back and forth so quickly, the spine can take the shape of an S. This can lead to injury in the muscles of the shoulders and back. When the trapezius muscle, in particular, is injured, the result can be constant and persistent pain.
If you were in an accident, you will typically know if your head was thrown forward and then back again. If this happened, you may experience whiplash. Then again, you may not. Your symptoms may not be immediate, but should appear within 24 hours. Those symptoms include:
If you notice any one or more of these symptoms, it’s important that you go to the doctor, even if you visited one immediately after the accident. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and may request diagnostic imaging to rule out any other conditions that could be contributing to your discomfort.
Signs of whiplash shouldn’t be ignored. While the condition itself may heal on its own or with home therapy, there could be other conditions present that are causing your symptoms.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys and arrange a case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options and the best next steps. Call today to schedule your consultation and begin the process of recovering what you deserve.
As much of the country braces for a cold and icy winter, it’s a good time for a reminder about driving through the rotten weather. Living in Charlotte means that you don’t have to deal with snow on the roads too often, but what if you’re traveling? Knowing how to avoid winter-weather car accidents can help keep you and your family safe. Here are the top causes of winter crashes and how you can avoid them.
Icy roads are incredibly dangerous, especially if you can’t see the ice. Black ice is that which coats the road very thinly, making it difficult to see until it’s too late. If you know that freezing rain is predicted or if it is extra cold when you get up in the morning, it’s a good idea to assume there will be ice on the road and behave accordingly.
Drive slowly and plan on taking a bit of extra time to get to your destination. Slow down slightly as you cross bridges and, if you encounter ice, take your foot off of the gas and coast over the patch. Don’t slam on your brakes and don’t accelerate. If you find yourself sliding, steer into the slide to regain control of your tires.
One of the first things you should do before winter weather hits is to make sure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled. If you need to add fluid, choose one that is rated for winter weather and has added deicer. These fluids are typically orange, pink or purple, making them discernible from the typical blue of washer fluid. While you’re at it, make sure your other fluid levels are where they’re supposed to be.
Bald tires and those that aren’t inflated properly are another leading cause of accidents in the winter. When you tires don’t have enough tread or when the tread isn’t meeting the road properly, you are putting yourself in danger. If you aren’t sure what to look for when it comes to your tires, ask a mechanic to take a look for you. If your tires are worn or, worse, bald, you should have them replaced before you have to drive through snow and over ice.
Cold weather driving isn’t something that people in every state are used to. As winter begins to grip a larger number of states each year, knowing how to drive in poor conditions is something that benefits everyone. While people up north may be more used to driving over snow-covered roads, people in the south may want to learn how to do it properly.
In many cases, winter-weather accidents can be avoided. If you happen to be involved in an accident in Charlotte that was due to someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and property damage. You shouldn’t be put into financial difficulty because of someone else. Call our office today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Adults aren’t the only people who want to enjoy New Year’s Eve. Preteens and teenagers may have their own ideas about ringing in 2018. Instead of telling your child no when it comes to their going out, consider laying down some important ground rules for how they can spend New Year’s Eve without having to stay at home or being one of the few kids at a party for grown-ups.
1. Lay Down the Plan
Know exactly what your child will be doing, and with who and where, at least two days prior to the big night. Your child should know how they are going to get to the party, the address where they will be, the time they are leaving home and the time they will return. Do not accept I don’t know as an answer to any of those questions.
2. Speak with the Parents
If your child will be partying at someone’s home this holiday, insist on speaking with the parents or guardians of the party host. You want to be confident that there will be no alcohol at the party, that the party is actually permitted to take place, and that there will be plenty of supervision present.
3. Make Sure You Can Be Reached
Your teen should know that they can call you if and when they need you. Stay available while your child is out. If the party gets out of control, your teen should have no doubt that they can call you for a ride home. If that phone call comes, save your questions for the morning and just focus on getting them home safely.
4. Have Kids Check In
As embarrassing as it may be, let your child know that you will be calling at various times throughout their evening to check in on them. Let them know that if they don’t answer the phone, you will come looking for them. They may prefer that you weren’t calling, but you make the rules!
5. Host The Party
If you really want to keep your child safe, you can always host a party for the kids at your own home. You will have peace of mind and your kids and their friends will have a good time. If you are friendly with the parents of the teens, invite them as well. The kids can celebrate in the basement while the parents celebrate upstairs.
You don’t have to nix the New Year’s Eve party for your kids because you are afraid of the dangers lurking out there. Let them go, but make sure you lay down these ground rules. Know who they are going to be with and where they will be. Know when to expect them to contact you next or arrive back at your home. Reiterate over and over, no drinking and driving, no riding with someone that has been drinking, and don’t take rides or drinks from people that they do not know.
We understand how stressful accidents can be, especially if they involve a child or another loved one. Reach out to our team to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights. We have been helping injury victims in North Carolina for over 20 years. Give us a call and let us know how we can help you.