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Rochester Personal Injury Law Blog

Your New York winter driving safety checklist

Here in Western New York, we know it's not a matter of if we will get snow, just a matter of when and how much. The answers tend to be "soon" and "a lot." Perhaps you learned to drive on snow and ice and aren't too concerned about the winter weather, or perhaps you are new to the area or new to driving. Either way, every winter driver should go through their winter driving safety checklist to make sure they are prepared for changing conditions. Here are a few things to check to make sure your car is ready:

Spilling a hot beverage and the risk of a crash

Most drivers know that drinking alcohol while driving increases the chances of a car crash and is against the law. However, some drivers do not realize that car accidents can also be caused by the consumption of legal beverages while trying to drive. Not only can drinking or eating anything lead to distracted driving but drinking something that is very hot can cause a driver to lose control of their car if they spill or burn their mouth. As a result, drivers should avoid drinking anything altogether until they are no longer behind the wheel.

In the fall months, many people enjoy pumpkin spice lattes, tea hot chocolate. Moreover, people often drink hot coffee at all times of the year. This can be dangerous for a number of reasons, even if a driver does not spill any. Reaching for the cup can distract a driver from the road and someone may also take their eyes off of the road or their hands off the wheel after burning their mouth. When someone does spill a hot beverage while driving, they may be startled and take their foot off of the gas pedal or brake. Or, a driver may collide with a car in front of them after accelerating forward rapidly because they burnt their leg and pushed the gas pedal too hard.

Marijuana use and car crashes

Marijuana is already legal in a number of states and this drug is becoming more and more accepted, with the state of Michigan recently legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. People use marijuana for a number of reasons, whether they consume an edible for medical reasons or smoke the drug for recreational purposes. Either way, it is important for drivers to be aware of how using marijuana can interfere with their ability to safely operate a vehicle. Unfortunately, some people do not show any common sense and get in their vehicle while they are intoxicated, which is extremely concerning regardless of whether or not the substance is legal in their state.

Unfortunately, drivers who are under the influence of marijuana may be more likely to cause an accident for a variety of reasons. They may have difficulty responding to an occurrence on the road, such as avoiding an oncoming vehicle. Moreover, those who do not have very much experience with marijuana may become extremely intoxicated and be unable to stay in their lane, stop at signs or follow other traffic safety laws.

How can I deal with the sudden loss of a loved one?

If you’ve lost someone you love to another person’s negligent actions, you may be reeling from the suddenness of the event. For many people these types of deaths are far more traumatic, as there is no lead up to prepare you for losing someone you love. While every person needs to navigate grief in their own way, Psychology Today offers the following advice to make the process less troubling.

Be prepared for an angry response

Looking in the rearview mirror while driving

Sometimes, looking in your rearview mirror can help prevent a crash. For example, you may observe that a reckless driver is accelerating toward you at a high rate of speed and be able to avoid them, or you could use your rearview mirrors to ensure that there are no vehicles behind you before switching lanes. However, some drivers may actually increase the chances of a crash by looking in their rearview mirrors because they become distracted and take their eyes off of the road in front of them.

People may use their rearview mirrors inappropriately while driving for a variety of reasons. For example, someone may apply makeup or use their mirror to examine something on their face when they should be paying attention to the road. Or, drivers may use their rearview mirrors to see people who are riding in the back of the vehicle while they are carrying on a conversation. Unfortunately, this can increase the chances of a fatal accident that claims the innocent lives of those riding in other vehicles or results in numerous injuries.

The consequences of a head-on crash

Motor vehicle wrecks occur in many ways. In some instances, a vehicle is struck from behind, while other crashes involve a car being hit from the side or only one vehicle (such as a driver who veers off of the road and collides with a tree). However, head-on crashes can be especially devastating, since these accidents often involve two vehicles heading in opposite directions colliding at high speeds. These accidents often prove fatal and they may leave those who survive with debilitating injuries.

When two vehicles collide head-on, drivers and passengers may be ejected from the vehicle or thrown into the windshield, resulting in the loss of life, significant cuts or other injuries. The consequences of these accidents can extend beyond injuries and death. Sadly, these accidents are often so severe that they leave victims with lifelong injuries and other hardships, such as an inability to keep performing their job duties.

Construction and the risk of electrocution

Construction workers face a plethora of hazards on a regular basis, whether they work in high places and become injured or killed after falling or they frequently use dangerous equipment. However, the risk of electrocution is especially concerning and does not only threaten the well-being of electricians but anyone who is working on a construction site. In Rochester and all across New York it is pivotal for construction company owners and workers to be aware of the dangers associated with electricity on job sites and take precautionary measures to avoid accidents. Unfortunately, these accidents will keep happening and they can leave people with many hardships.

Someone who is electrocuted may be seriously hurt and unable to keep working due to a severe burn or falling from a high place after being electrocuted. If you are suffering due to an electrical accident that occurred while you were working on a construction site, it is very important to go over your options and explore any helpful resources that are available. Workers' compensation may be one way to move forward from the accident and, depending on what happened, you may even need to file suit over negligence.

How many motorcycle wrecks result in a fatality or injury?

Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, especially if a motorcyclist comes across a reckless driver on the road or road conditions deteriorate due to inclement weather. Unfortunately, when someone is involved in an accident while riding a motorcycle, they may face an especially high chance of being hurt or even passing away. While it is important for everyone on the road to be aware of accident risks and focus on road safety, this is especially true for those riding motorcycles. In the event that an accident does occur, motorcyclists should focus on addressing immediate and long-term challenges, which may include legal action.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that roughly 80 percent of all motorcycle collisions result in either the loss of life or an injury. In comparison to collisions involving passenger cars, motorcyclists face an especially high chance of losing their life or being hurt. The NHTSA reports that motorcyclists are four times more likely to be hurt than passenger car occupants in a wreck, and 16 times more likely to pass away.

Haze, poor visibility and car crashes

Motor vehicle wrecks have different causes, but weather plays a role in many of the collisions that occur. Drivers often realize that snow, ice and rain can be dangerous on the road. However, there are other ways in which weather can adversely affect road conditions, some of which are less common. For example, haze can lead to reduced visibility and increase the likelihood of a crash. In some states, haze is especially concerning at this time due to wildfires that are burning in the Western U.S.

Those who find themselves on the road while it is very hazy should be cautious and avoid any potentially dangerous behavior, such as driving fast. Moreover, drivers should be aware of other vehicles on the road and the fact that other drivers may drive erratically because of the limited visibility. Aside from haze, other factors can lead to reduced visibility, such as thick fog and even smog.

See a doctor even if you feel OK after a car crash

Being the victim of a car crash may be a new experience for you. Even a minor rear-end collision can be scary, and you will feel shaky at the very least.

You should seek a medical evaluation, even if you feel OK. Symptoms of an underlying injury may not be immediately apparent, and there is a reason for that.

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