Articles Posted in Auto Safety

winter driving tips - seattle car accident lawyerThousands of motorists were stranded in their cars and trucks overnight in parts of Georgia when a snowstorm and icy road conditions resulted in motor vehicle accidents causing gridlock. Motorists, including school children on school buses, were stuck sleeping in their cars, trucks and buses overnight, many without food.

Washington state saw snowfall over night and our mountain passes including Blewett, Stevens and Snoqualmie can be hazardous when there is snow, slush and ice on the roadway. Our mountain passes can be closed during winter by the Washington State Department of Transportation for snow removal, during periods of low visibility, for motor vehicle accidents and for avalanche control.

Tips for Preparing to Drive Washington’s Passes

The plight of motorists in the south is headline news and so we thought we’d take this opportunity to remind drivers to prepare for travelling our mountain passes during winter storms.

  1. Check the WSDOT website before embarking on your trip to check on road conditions. If the roadways are bad, try to postpone your trip. The website provides you webcams and an interactive map is continually being updated with road conditions.
  2. Make sure your fuel tank is full prior to driving. If you have to wait out a storm, fuel can be used to heat your car.
  3. Bring chains even if they are not required. Sometimes more snow can fall than predicted. Without chains, you may not be able to continue over tehe pass.
  4. Pack blankets or sleeping bags in your vehicle before you leave in case you have to wait aside the road during periods of road closure. Also, pack your warm coats, gloves and hats.
  5. Bring a cell phone and make sure it is fully charged.
  6. Make sure you have some road flares in case you stop to help another motorists or in case you are involved in an accident.
  7. Pack food or snacks such as nuts and crackers. Also, pack water and place the water in a place where it will not freeze.
  8. If you are travelling with small children, pack extra diapers.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by negligent drivers.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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speed-limit-794996-m.jpgWe’ve all heard the Washington State Patrol say, “Speed kills.” This is not just a slogan; car accident statistics bears out the truth of this adage.

While distracted driving and driving under the influence gets a lot of attention in the media, speeding is one of the leading factors contributing to serious and fatal car accidents.

In Washington state in 2012, of the 437 people killed in motor vehicle accidents, in 159 of those cases, speed was a contributing factor. Nationwide, speeding is a factor in one of three fatal traffic accidents.

Speeding increases the chance that a simple fender bender accident will result in serious injuries or even fatalities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently published 2011 National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behaviors and found, to no surprise, that speeders tend to be younger drivers. The survey found that among drivers ages 16 to 20 years of age, 50% were categorized as speeders.

The NHTSA survey also cited the number one reason people gave for speeding is that they were “running late” to an appointment such as school or work.

While 91% of the respondents in the survey agreed that “Everyone should obey the speed limits because it’s the law,” 25% of the respondents admitted to speeding “without thinking.”

Remember when you get behind the wheel to give yourself extra time to get where you are going and resist the urge to speed.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have died.
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Snow is predicted in the Seattle and Bellevue area on Friday morning which can affect the commute. Every year, when snow hits, there are always vehicles that get stuck and accidents that occur which can make travel times even longer.

When winter storms are predicted, make sure your vehicle is prepared. Fill your fuel tank, put chains in your trunk, and equip your vehicle with emergency supplies including flares, ice scrapers, and chains.

If the storm does hit, try to avoid driving if at all possible. Instead of driving, you can use Metro but be sure to check on snow routes.

Winter Driving Tips

If you have to drive during a storm, make sure you drive carefully:

  • Drive slow and do not follow too closely.
  • Allow yourself extra time
  • Brake gently
  • Keep your windshield clear
  • Do not pass snow plows
  • Watch for ice especially on bridges and raised roads.
  • Watch for Street Closed signs and do not try to go around them.

Neighborhood Safety

In your own neighborhood, you can contribute to safety by insuring storm drains are clear of leaves to prevent flooding. If you are able to, try to shovel your sidewalk and walkways and use a de-icer. This can prevent slip and fall accidents.

Be sure to check SchoolReport.org for information on schools that are closed are on a delayed start schedule.
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icy-conditions-2-929305-m.jpghere have been spate of car accidents in Western Washington due to icy road conditions over the weekend. While the weather has been clear the cold temperatures have left roads a bit treacherous. In Tacoma this morning, there was a multiple-car accident on SR 16 this morning after one spun out on the ice.

To avoid a car accident, drivers must adjust their driving to the road conditions. Failure to do so can result in a serious injury accident and result in you being cited for negligent driving.

Safety tips for driving on snowy and icy roads
When roads are icy or snowy, you should avoid driving if at all possible. If you do have to drive, try to avoid driving until snow plows have cleared the roads. Make sure your vehicle is properly equipped with traction tires and/or chains.

It is advisable to practice winter driving in a parking lot so that you know how to handle your vehicle on ice or snow. Teenage drivers and new drivers should practice before soloing on icy or snowy roads.

  1. Slow down and leave lots of stopping room. When roads are icy or snowy it may take you longer to stop. Leave more space between you and the car in front of you than you are accustomed to.
  2. Apply brakes gently.
  3. Use your headlights to increase visibility and so other drivers can see you.
  4. Keep your windshield clean.
  5. Clear snow off the roof of your car.
  6. Do not use cruise control.
  7. Be especially cautions on overpasses and bridges as these types of roads freeze first.
  8. Do not pass snow plows
  9. Don’t be overconfident in an SUV or all-wheel vehicle.

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safe driving winter attorneyThanksgiving is Thursday and the holiday party season has begun. With the next few months filled with celebrations that include friends and family, there is an increased rick of car accidents because of increased traffic, driver distraction and driving under the influence.

Holiday safety tips for Seattle drivers

  • Be sure that your car has been serviced, especially if you are travelling across a mountain pass or travelling to a ski resort. Making sure that your vehicle has been winterized including checking your tire pressure and anti freeze can help make your car safe.
  • Clean inside your car before travelling. Extraneous “stuff” in your car can pose a hazard.
  • Equip your vehicle with an emergency kit. Driving conditions in Western Washington can be treacherous when there is frost, ice and snowy conditions. Be sure you pack an emergency kit in case your car breaks down or you get into an accident. An emergency kit should include a blanket, a flashlight, ice scraper, flares and jumper cables.
  • Check road conditions. The Washington State Department of Transporation has an excellent website which can provide road and mountain pass information. The website provides live webcam feeds which can show you what kind of traffic you are likely to encounter. In severe weather, it is wise to avoid certain roads or to postpone one’s trip.
  • Take your time. Be sure you give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and do not speed or drive aggressively.
  • Use your seat belt. Make sure you use your seat belt and also make sure that your passengers buckle up as well. Seat belts do save lives in an auto accident.
  • Avoid alcohol. Many people celebrate the holidays with alcoholic beverages and eggnog. Be sure to avoid alcohol before driving or use a designated driver that refrains completely from drinking.
  • Spread your holiday cheer and be courteous and patient with other drivers. Be sure to signal and to follow all traffic laws.

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bellevue car accident lawyerAs Bellevue personal injury attorneys, we have spent the last 30 years representing car accident victims and their families. We know that teenage drivers are more prone to get into car accidents than other drivers still it was troubling to read a new study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) which reveals that teenage drivers between 15-17 are about eight times more likely than young adult drivers to be involved in a fatal car accident if they have passengers in their vehicle.

The TTI study gave both the good and bad news. The good news is that fatal car accidents for drivers 15-17 years old are down 60% nationwide in the last 10 years. The bad news is that the fatal car accident risk for 15-17 year old teenage drivers with teen passengers in their vehicle is up 30%.

While the TTI study did not look at the cause of the increase in fatal car accident among teenage drivers they did point out two factors that may be at play here:

  1. Text messaging and cell phone usage became ubiquitous during this same time period
  2. Speeding was a common factor in the fatal car accidents during the past 10 years.

Washington state has tried to address the problem of teenage drivers driving with other young people in the car by creating an intermediate driver’s license. For teen drivers under the age of 18, they are prohibited from driving with passengers under the age of 20 years old except for immediate family members for the first six month after obtaining their license. For the next six months, they are not allowed to have more than three passengers under the age of 20 who are not family members in the car.

In addition to restrictions on the number and age of passengers in their vehicle, the intermediate license laws prohibit teens for driving between 1am and 5am for the first 12 months unless they are supervised by a licensed driver who is 25 years or older.

The intermediate driver license law also prohibits teenage drivers from using cell phones or other wireless devices while driving even if the devices are hands-free.

The Washington law was created because lawmakers know that teen drivers transporting their friends are often distracted by the passengers in their vehicle. Studies also show that teenage male drivers are more apt to drive aggressively when they have peers in their car including speeding.
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seattle car accident lawyerRecently near Seattle, Washington, a $70,000 Tesla Model S became a YouTube sensation when it caught on fire. You can see the video of the Tesla engulfed in flames here.

The fire apparently was caused when the battery was impaled when the driver ran over a large metal object in the roadway. Though Tesla Motors claims that the fire contained the blaze to the front part of the car, the video clearly shows that the vehicle was engulfed. Fire fighters responding to the blaze were hampered by the fact that adding water to the fire seems to increase the fire’s intensity. Fire fighters learned that dry chemical extinguishers worked better on the fire.

The news of the battery fire caused Wall Street investors to become jittery and the Tesla’s stock fell about 6%.

Luckily in this case, the driver of the Tesla smelled smoke and pulled over before the fire engulfed in flames.

The Tesla fared well in crash front and side impact crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the Model S in every category that it was tested. Because of the absence of a gasoline engine, the vehicle has a longer crumple zone in front. The vehicle has a low center of gravity because of where the battery is mounted and it is nearly impossible to roll over.

Since there are only about 12,000 of the vehicles that have been sold, it is too early to tell whether the battery is going to be problematic or whether this is a rare and isolated incident.

The Model S has earned all types of accolades including the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year and the 2013 World Green Car.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Tesla Model S, an electric car, a 5-star safety rating in every category that the vehicle was tested. This makes the Tesla Model S the safest vehicle ever tested by the NHTSA. Read Tesla’s Press Release.

In earning a combined 5.4 star rating, the Model S scored 5 stars in front, side, rear and rollover car accident tests, making it the car in which occupants are least likely to be injured.

One of the advantages of the Model S, as far as safety is concerned, is that it has a longer crumple zone because it does not have a large gasoline engine block.

The Model S can be equipped with children’s seating in the third row and it is equipped with a double bumper with the third-seat option is chosen. Because of the double bumper, the vehicle received a 5 star in rear impact car accident testing. The third row seating is the safest for children in frontal or side impact car accidents.

In rollover accident testing, the testers were unable to make the car roll with normal methods. That is because the car has a low center of gravity because the battery pack is mounted below the floor pan.

The Model S is equipped with eight airbags including a head, knee and pelvis airbags in the front of the vehicle and two side curtain airbags. Other safety features include a rollover crash sensor, third row LATCH attachment for child safety seats, rear door child safety locks, three point driver and front passenger safety belts and secondary lab anchors.

This award is exciting for Tesla Motors, Inc., of California, which was founded in 2003.

Tesla Motors began retail delivery of the Model S in June of 2012.
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Let’s start with the good news. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenage drinking and driving has decreased by 54% since 1991. The bad news is that car accidents are the number one cause of teenage death and one in ten teenage drivers who are in high school drink and drive putting themselves 17 times more at risk of dying in an automobile accident.

According to the CDC, in 2010 one in five teenage drivers who were involved in fatal car accidents had alcohol in their systems. 81% of these drivers had BAC limits higher than .08% even though drinking any amount of alcohol and driving is strictly prohibited in the U.S.

Washington state is very aware of the dangers of teenage drinking and driving. The following laws were put in place and that over the past 20 years and have really helped in bringing the incident of teenage drinking and driving down:

  • Minimum legal drinking age — it is illegal to purchase or sell alcohol to persons under the age of 21. The state enforces this law by monitoring retailers and hitting them with a big fine or closure if they flout the law.
  • Zero tolerance — it is illegal for teenage drivers to drive after they have consumed any amount of alcohol.
  • Graduated Driver’s License — Washington state has a graduated driver’s license which requires teens to pass a driver training course, complete 50 hours of driving practice, and places restrictions on the number of passengers in the car and nighttime driving.

Parents are Key

You pledged to protect your teen from the day they were born. Watch a new video and make your own pledge to keep your teen driver safe.Parents can reduce the odds of their children being involved in a car accident by modeling good behavior, discussing safe driving with their teen, coaching their child in supervised practice driving in both the daytime and nighttime.

Parents who create contracts with their children and establish rules report that their teenage drivers have a lower rate of traffic violations, risky driving and car accidents. Parents can and should set rules on where the teenage driver is allowed to drive and with whom.

Parents should know the danger zones for teenage driving. Teenagers have twice the risk of being involved in a car accident at nighttime so it is wise to limit nighttime driving until your teen has a lot of experience.

Parents should also set up rules for wearing a seat belt. Seat belts are proven to reduce a teenager’s risk of being seriously injured in a car accident.

Parents should also set rules about text messaging and talking on the phone while driving. Of course parents should model good behavior for the teen.
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The Insurance institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just released a video which shows how they conduct rear-end crash tests to see how well car seats protect people from whiplash injury.

The IIHS developed BioRID, a dummy which was built to simulate the human anatomy with a spine and a vertebrae. The head, neck and torso of the dummy simulates how a real person would move and the likelihood of a whiplash or neck injury in a rear-end crash at 20mph.

The video is pretty interesting to watch and one can see it here on the IIHS YouTube channel.

 

 

The IIHS, along with motor vehicle manufacturers, have found that the design of car seats and headrests/restraints is effective in reducing the risk of whiplash injuries. According to the IIHS, over 60% of new motor vehicles have head restraint systems that are rated “good.”

Whiplash Injury

Whiplash is a non-medical term which people use to describe a wide range of injuries to the neck caused when there is  hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck in motor vehicle accidents. Whiplash injuries are most common in rear-end car accidents though they can also occur in falls or during contact sports.

Whiplash injuries can occur even in low-speed car accidents and the IIHS is currently doing their testing at 20mph.

In a whiplash injuries, the bones, discs, muscles and tendons in a person’s neck can sustain a sprain or a more serious injuries. Sometimes, a person can sustain a spinal cord injury which can result in qudriplegia or even death.
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