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How to Try to Be Safer on NC Highways

As economic recovery continues to lead to more vehicles and drivers on North Carolina roadways, the number of car accidents has also increased. And along with this increase follows an uptick in injuries and fatalities.

Data from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles shows an overall trend toward more crashes from 2014 and 2015. The number of motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians killed in car accidents has increased. The number of accidents involving teen drivers increased. And the number of accident fatalities has increased.

Certain Cars Offer Better Protection

Information from safety tests can help North Carolina drivers select a vehicle that will best protect them in an accident.

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released data on fatality rates among vehicles in the 2014 model year and equivalent vehicles in the 2012–2015 model years. The 4-door minicars showed the highest overall death rate of 87, while 4-wheel-drive large luxury SUVs have the lowest with 6.

This data corroborates previous studies which have found that, overall, smaller cars are not as safe as some larger cars.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has examined the correlation between the age of the vehicle and the severity of injuries sustained in a collision. Not only were newer vehicles found to offer the best chances of survival in a fatal car accident, but the odds of survival decreased as the model years decreased. In fact, the driver of a car that was more than 18 years old was 71% more likely to be killed than the driver of a car that was three years old or newer. These studies indicate that newer vehicles are generally safer than older vehicles.

While it may seem as though we are stating the obvious, we are. You cannot emphasize enough the importance of being safe on the road.

Negligent Drivers, Responsibility, and Liability

North Carolina law prohibits specific behaviors in order to reduce driver negligence and potential car crashes. Some of these laws prohibit:

Every driver has a legal obligation to follow these and other safety guidelines. Besides, it is common courtesy. No matter what make, model, or year of car you are driving, each of us must accept personal responsibility for safe driving habits.

Sadly, when someone is negligent behind the wheel, not only could they potentially injure innocent victims, but they can also be injured themselves. Additionally, they may stand to lose a lot financially if found liable for the accident.

Get a Free Case Evaluation From NC Car Accident Lawyers

The experienced car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin have decades of combined experience protecting the rights of accident victims in the Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, Greenville – all areas across North Carolina. Truth be known, we are among the largest personal injury law firms in North Carolina.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact us right away or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer received 3.5 times more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own*.

* Insurance Research Council 1999

What You Need to Know About NC Lake Electrocutions

Electrocutions by drowning in a lake or pool are considered by some to be “freak accidents.” The reality is that they happen a lot more often than you might think, and are often the result of someone’s negligence.

Potential for Electrocution in NC Lakes, Rivers, Pools

Being electrocuted while swimming in a lake, river, or pool is not something you might consider when taking a refreshing dip. But it happens. A 17-year-old Raleigh lifeguard was electrocuted and drowned in 2017 when she tested the water at a public pool where she worked. Negligence and “shoddy workmanship” was alleged to be the reason the water became charged, and the parents have filed a lawsuit.

How Does Drowning by Electrocution Occur?

When you are swimming in water that becomes charged, your body seizes up and you are unable to move or swim away. One of the reasons you see "No Swimming" signs at public docks and marinas is to prevent electrocution by keeping swimmers at least 150 feet away from the dock, which authorities claim is usually a safe distance.

If you own a dock on Lake Norman, Lake Gaston, Kerr Lake, or on any NC waterway, or if you run electricity to any body of water, make sure a licensed electrician checks the wiring at least every two years. Incidentally electric shock can occur in any body of water, however, experts say fresh is more of a conductor than salt water.

Safety Tips to Help Deter Electrocutions in NC Lakes

  • Use a plastic ladder, rather than a metal one, so it won’t help to facilitate transfer electricity into the water
  • If you start to feel a tingle in the water, swim away from the dock, which is where most electrical issues occur
  • Check all of the wiring around your dock, including your ground fault circuit breaker.
  • Purchase a Dock Lifeguard, a device that detects electricity on your dock and in the water around your dock.

Electrocutions Can Happen Near Boats

Boats can have faulty wiring too, which can charge the water around it.  Two boys were electrocuted in a large lake while swimming between houseboats. It was determined that the wiring was faulty on one of the houseboats and it charged the water, killing one boy and severely injuring the other.

If you are a boat owner, you should have a marine electrician periodically check your boat’s wiring and fix any problems.

Electrocution Accidents, Injuries, Deaths

Electrocution is generally classified as death by electric shock. Yet, it also encompasses a wide range of injuries from contact with electricity. Here are the four primary types of electrocution injuries, as defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Muscle, nerve, and tissue destruction
  • Thermal burns from contact with an electrical source
  • Falling or other similar injuries associated from an electrical shock

If a person is electrocuted in the water and survives, they could potentially suffer long-term effects, including:

  • Headaches
  • Amnesia or short-term memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, aggression, and schizophrenia

Drowning by Electrocution Liability

Drownings by electrocution are almost always a result of negligence, including faulty equipment and poor maintenance, human error, poor workmanship. Potentially liable parties may include:

  • Property owners
  • Power companies
  • Equipment and boat operators
  • Contractors or operators responsible for repairs and past maintenance

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If your loved one drowned by electrocution or was injured by an electrical shock of any kind, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation. You could be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or wrongful death.

Shocking Stats About NC’s Pedestrian Accidents

I heard an interesting story from a colleague recently about an older pedestrian who was struck by a car traveling at 45 MPH while she was crossing the street. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety if a car is going 46 MPH and strikes a pedestrian, there is a 90% chance the pedestrian will sustain a severe injury. The chance of death if struck by a car traveling 42 MPH is 50%.

The woman was in her 70s and was known in the area for her strict exercise regimen, which included lifting weights. Amazingly, she was only badly bruised and suffered no broken bones. Her doctor attributed this miracle to her weight lifting, which kept her bones strong.

This story got me to thinking about pedestrian accidents in North Carolina in general.

Speed Increases Likelihood of Severe Pedestrian Injury

AAA confirms what we all intuitively know – that speed is a major factor contributing to pedestrian accidents and injuries. In fact, increased speed can make a substantial impact on the chances a pedestrian will be killed or badly hurt when struck by a car. Here are the statistics of the potential for chances of serious injury as vehicle speed increases:

  • 16 MPH there is a 10% chance
  • 23 MPH, there is a 25% chance
  • 31 MPH, there is a 50% chance
  • 39 MPH, there is a 75% chance
  • 46 MPH, there is a 90% chance the pedestrian will be severely injured

Chances of Pedestrian Death Due to Speeding Cars

Here are the chances of the potential for death as vehicle speed increases:

  • 23 MPH, there is a 10% chance of death
  • 32 MPH, there is a 25% chance of death
  • 42 MPH, there is a 50% chance of death
  • 50 MPH, there is a 75% chance of death
  • 58 MPH, there is a 90% chance of death

NC Among the Least Safe States for Pedestrians

Over 3,000 pedestrians in North Carolina are hit by cars every year. In fact, North Carolina is one of the most unsafe states in the U.S. for pedestrians. On average, about 160 pedestrians are killed each year in North Carolina, representing about 15% of all traffic fatalities that occur on our roads.

Where Do Most Pedestrian Collisions Occur in NC?

According to a study by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, from 2008 through 2012, most pedestrian collisions, injuries, and deaths, occurred in our Piedmont region (where most people live), followed by the coastal regions and lastly, the mountain areas. (Although the city of Asheville had the most pedestrian collisions of any North Carolina city.)

More than two-thirds (71%) of North Carolina pedestrian collisions over the past ten years occurred within urban areas, and 29% in unincorporated areas.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

What can pedestrians do to try to stay safe? WatchformeNC.org offers these common-sense pedestrian safety tips:

  • Look for cars turning left or right before crossing the street. Don’t assume the driver will stop.
  • Before crossing multiple lanes, be sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.
  • Enhance your visibility at night. Walk in well-lighted areas, carry a flashlight, or wear something reflective, such as stickers or armbands.
  • PUT DOWN THE PHONE. Avoid distractions like texting and talking on your cell phone. This diminishes your ability to both hear and see.
  • Follow the rules of the road by obeying traffic signs and signals, including pedestrian traffic signals.
  • Watch for brake lights on a car, which means that a car is about to back up.
  • Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic.
  • At bus stops, cross behind the bus or at the nearest crosswalk.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway as you can.

What to Do if You Suffered a Pedestrian Injury

The most important thing is to seek immediate medical attention and follow doctor’s orders.

If you make a claim against the insurance company they will likely contact you to obtain a recorded statement of what happened at the scene. While this can be a necessary step in the investigative process, the recorded statement can sometimes be a trap. Insurance adjusters may try to use the recorded statement against you when it comes time to settle for monetary damages.

Your best course of action with regard to a recorded statement is to contact us first and see if we can help.

NC Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact one of our personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. Click here to contact us right away (24/7) or call 1-866-900-7078.

Victim of a Drunk Driver? Let Us Help You Fight for Compensation.

Drunk driving accidents can often have tragic outcomes for victims as well as for the drunk driver.

Victims could suffer permanent and crippling injuries and potentially lose their lives. Drunk drivers who cause the accidents could have their lives derailed due to criminal charges. Even civil charges can have life-long and ruinous financial consequences.

One recent collision illustrates how tragic drunk driving accidents can be, and it underscores the importance of preventing drunk driving collisions.

If you do enjoy an adult beverage or two,
click here to contact one of North Carolina’s sober ride services.

They take you AND your car home.


Tragic Consequences for North Carolina Drunk Drivers

The News & Observer reported on an impaired driving collision which could result in the driver spending 70 years in prison. The driver, a Goldsboro resident, was charged with multiple felonies after a collision he caused in Raleigh led to six people injured and three deaths. The crash happened at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Highroads Boulevard in Raleigh.

The impaired driver was in a 1995 SUV traveling approximately 50 miles per hour. He lost control of the vehicle and struck a light pole, a street sign, and a tree before overturning.

Seven people were inside the SUV at the time of the collision – one of the victims who died was sitting in the driver’s lap at the time of the collision. The victims who were killed were just 22, 21, and 18. Two of the victims were thrown from the vehicle as a result of the force of the impact.

The driver, just 22-years-old, was convicted of three counts of aggravated felony serious injury by vehicle, as well as three counts of aggravated felony death by vehicle. Each felony could potentially carry a lengthy prison sentence, and he is facing 17 years in prison for each death and seven years for each serious injury if found guilty. His father, who is a pastor, indicated he would be paying for the victims and the families of the victims who were killed and injured in the accident.

When I read this story, I couldn’t help but wonder how the drunk driver’s father plans to pay for the victims who died and their families. Our attorneys and paralegals have dealt with hundreds of drunk driving cases. Believe me. We try to leave no stone unturned when it comes to compensation for injuries and deaths. There is not enough money in the world to compensate for the death of a child.

Tragic Endings for Victims and Families

Our firm handled a drunk driving claim for the family of a father and husband whose life was cut off in one instant because of a drunk driver. A negligent driver.

This father and husband was in his car, stopped in traffic. The drunk driver had left work early in the day to go drinking with his friends. He was so drunk that he didn’t even slow down when he plowed right into the rear of our client's car. The impact was so forceful the victim was ejected and killed on impact. The victim who was a pillar of his community left behind a devastated wife and young children. This one irresponsible, irreversible event plunged his family into a downward spiral.

We went after everything we could to help ease this family’s financial burden to try to get them a settlement that would help pay for therapy, loss of financial support, funeral expenses, and punitive damages, among other things*.

Getting behind the wheel after drinking is not only irresponsible, it is not worth it. Yet people do it anyway. A lot.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts reported that in 2013, every 52 minutes a death occurred as a result of a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.08 or higher. That equates to more than 10,000 children, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, grandparents, sisters, brothers – loved ones – whose lives were cut short. Those deaths represented one-third of all traffic deaths. One third!

What Does a BAC of 0.08 Mean?

In North Carolina a BAC of 0.08 is the legal limit of the amount of alcohol you can consume before you are considered too drunk to drive. That is about four standard drinks in one hour for a 170-lb. man or three drinks in an hour for a 140-lb. woman.

But why would anyone push the envelope with so many sober ride services throughout North Carolina, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, Fayetteville and surrounding communities.

Most of these sober ride services make it very convenient by taking you and your car home.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From NC Personal Injury Lawyers

Drunk driving accidents are cases of negligence plain and simple, and we will try to pursue every avenue for compensation for you. If you or a loved one was injured by a drunk driver contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Damages may include:

  • Medical costs, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages for reckless disregard for life
  • Liability of the bar, restaurant, or person that served an inebriated person
  • Liability of a party host who served alcohol, particularly to a minor

 

*Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or a law firm's past results.

5 Common Reasons People Call Tow Trucks (And How to Avoid Them)

A colleague was sharing her recent experience of driving over a curb which lacerated her tire. She called AAA, and a tow truck driver towed her car to a repair shop.

While riding in the tow truck with the driver she shared an interesting conversation about how the majority of the calls the driver responds to are from stranded motorists who could have prevented their situation with a modicum of planning and foresight. And common sense.

Here are five things her tow truck driver said he wished all drivers would be mindful of to help them avoid the hassle of having to have their cars towed.

E does not mean Everywhere

When your fuel gauge is on E, stop and get gas. Better yet, he advised, get gas when you have a quarter of a tank left. First, running out of gas can be unsafe in today’s cars because when the engine quits so does your ability to steer the car. He added that running out of gas can be damaging to your engine too because the sediment that settles to the bottom of your gas tank can get sucked into the engine and possibly cause the fuel line to freeze. Fixing that is a lot more expensive than a tank of gas.

If your Check Engine light comes on…

…check your engine. The driver emphasized that this distress call represents the majority of calls he receives. He likened the Check Engine light to a toothache. If you ignore it, it can get worse, cause more problems, and potentially be more expensive to fix. This type of call could almost always have been avoided in the first place, he added. If your Check Engine lights illuminates, he advised, first pull over in a safe place and check to see if your gas cap is loose. (A loose cap sends an error message to the car's computer.) If the gas cap is loose tighten it and continue driving. The light should eventually go off. If it does not, get your engine checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

Locking your keys in the car

Who has not forgotten their keys, misplaced them, or locked them in the car? The tow truck driver offered what he referred to as a “no brainer” solution that costs less than $5.00. He suggests purchasing a magnetic key holder and affixing it underneath the rear bumper of your car. This simple device can save you the time and headache of having to call AAA, or the expense of summoning a locksmith.

Dead battery is easy to prevent

The tow truck driver said that when he tows cars with a dead battery, the owners will often seem surprised that the battery died. He said he usually askes them one question, “Have you noticed your car has been hard to crank or turn over lately?” That is the first sign that you need to replace your car battery. There are other signs too, but they may not always indicate a battery drawing its final few breaths. They are worth mentioning: an engine that cranks but won’t start; an engine that starts intermittently; an engine that has trouble starting in cold weather; having to have the car jumped frequently. If you see any of these signs, take your car to have the battery’s charge tested. If the voltage is low it’s time for a new battery.

Worn tires need replacing sooner than you think

If you have a penny you can ascertain whether your tires are worn or bald. Place your penny head first into some of the tread grooves on your tire. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn and probably need replacing. Bald tires are particularly dangerous because of the potential for shredding and blow outs, which can cause an accident. And they are more likely to hydroplane in wet weather. Additionally, when there is less tread there is less traction to grip the road when braking and in wintry weather. For less than $5.00 you can purchase a tire tread depth gauge to more accurately measure your tread. A tire is considered bald when one or more of the treads shows 2/32 of an inch. Interestingly, consumerreports.org considers tires unsafe before you can see the top of Lincoln’s head. They say that tires can give up a significant amount of grip even at the halfway point, and they suggest replacing your tires when the tread reaches 4/32 of an inch.

“Move over/slow down”

It’s the law in North Carolina to move over and slow down when you see an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the side of the road. If you’re on a four-lane highway you are required to move to the inner most lane of that highway. If you’re on a two-lane, road you’re supposed to come to either a complete stop, go left of center, or reduce your speed. This tow truck driver had been a firefighter before he decided to drive a tow truck as a result of an injury he suffered while fighting a fire. He said sometimes being on the side of the road with cars and trucks whizzing by too closely can be more frightening than running into a burning building. At least there’s some predictability in fighting fires. With all the distracted drivers on the road, he said he never knows when someone might crash into him because they are distracted.

I hope you have learned as much as I did from this tow truck driver’s experiences and common-sense advice. While there will always be emergency situations that may call for a tow truck, at least these five non-emergency situations can sometimes be prevented with a little planning.

FREE Hands-On Safe Driving Training for North Carolina Teens

More teens died in North Carolina car accidents in 2016 than compared to previous years. WRAL reported on the troubling statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Administration showing that car crashes and accident-related fatalities are becoming more likely among young drivers in North Carolina.

A common reason for teen car crashes and deaths is distraction from other passengers. There’s a reason North Carolina law limits the number of passengers and their ages in cars driven by teens.

It is dangerous!

Teen Car Accident Risk Rises With Additional Passengers

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a comprehensive report on how dangerous it is for young people to have teen passengers under the age of 21 with them while they are driving. The report showed that if a teenager has one other passenger in the car with them who is 21 or under and there are no older passengers in the car, the risk of a collision for a 16 or 17 year old driver is 44% greater per vehicle mile driven as compared with a teen driver who doesn't have younger passengers in the car. With two or more passengers, the risk of a collision is doubled and with three or more passengers you can quadruple that risk.

FREE Hands-On Driving Course for NC Teens

Hands-on teen driving courses geared toward teens may be able to help teen drivers become more aware of the real dangers they face from passenger distractions as well as other safety hazards, such as hydroplaning and skidding, veering off the road, etc.

One such driving safety course offered to teenagers in Raleigh, Charlotte, and surrounding areas (including other states) is Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe).

B.R.A.K.E.S is a national non-profit organization offering
behind-the-wheel training in advanced safety maneuvers for teens, and it is FREE*.

The instructors are professional drivers who are or have been involved in drag racing, law enforcement, or movie stunt driving. The school is AAA-approved, endorsed by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, and Consumer Reports listed the organization among its preferred list of defensive driving schools. KIA sponsors the school by supplying the cars the teens drive during training.

B.R.A.K.E.S is headquartered in Charlotte and offers monthly training courses at the Zmax Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as periodically in the Raleigh area. Click here to sign up for Raleigh courses.

Attorney Brian Clemmons enrolled his teen daughter in a B.R.A.K.E.S course. “She had been somewhat of an insecure driver,” Brian said. “And frankly I wasn’t totally comfortable having her drive in certain situations. This course, I feel, helped develop her confidence on the road. You could see how her self-assurance soared and she became a much better driver immediately after taking it.”

The course exposes your teen to the following hazards while driving a car, but in the safety of a large protected area.

Distraction Exercise

Your teen will be taught how difficult it is to negotiate a tightly coned course while the instructor distracts them. The course is designed to demonstrate just how dangerous cell phones, text messaging, music, traffic, and friends in the car can be.

Accident Avoidance/Slalom Exercise

This two-part course teaches students how to make a split-second reaction to negotiate a quick, evasive lane change without losing control. It is designed to simulate an object or animal suddenly appearing in front of a car. The second part of the course is a coned slalom course where students must negotiate the vehicle around cones while focusing on weight transfer, hand positioning, and eye scanning.

Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery Exercise

Drop wheel accidents are among the highest causes of injuries and deaths across the U.S. The drop wheel recovery course teaches students how to effectively recover from a drop wheel situation by regaining control of the car and safely returning to the roadway.

Panic Stop Exercise

Students are taught the proper technique to stop a vehicle in the shortest distance while maintaining vehicle control. Students experience first-hand the effects of an A.B.S. (Anti-Lock Braking System) and its ability to keep the wheels from locking while pulsating brake pressure.

Car Control and Recovery Exercise

The skid pad course is designed to prepare students to learn how to drive in bad weather and not to lose control. Students are taught how to properly recover from both over-steer (rear wheel) and under-steer (front wheel) skids.

If you are unable to attend a Raleigh class, the school offers classes once a month in Charlotte. Or you can access the B.R.A.K.E.S 2018 schedule for upcoming Raleigh and Charlotte courses.

NC Attorneys Evaluate Car Accidents FREE

Many of us are parents and we understand how much is at stake when our teens get behind the wheel. If your teen has been in an accident due to the fault of another person, click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

 

*B.R.A.K.E.S training asks for a $99 refundable deposit to hold your reservation. If you choose to leave your deposit, it becomes a donation which is tax deductible to you.

10 Ways to Try to Prevent Rear-End Crashes in North Carolina

During my commutes to and from work every day, it never fails to amaze me just how many people drive in ways that could all too quickly end up in a rear-end car crash situation. As a personal injury lawyer, we see how people’s lives can change for the worse in one split second, just because they became a victim of a rear-end crash or other car injury.

Rear-end crashes make up almost half of the car accidents in the U.S.

According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions. Drivers and passengers are at risk of being severely hurt due to rear-end accidents. No one knows this better than personal injury lawyers.

We have represented hundreds of clients who have been injured – sometimes seriously – as a result of rear-end collisions. One client^, a mother, was simply driving home from work one afternoon, stopped in traffic when a distracted driver rear-ended her so hard she was ejected out of the car and killed.

Then there’s the story of Tony who was also rear-ended. He had been “living the dream” before he lost everything as a result of a distracted driver rear-ending him at a high rate of speed. Read Tony’s story here.

10 Ways to Reduce Chances of Rear-End Crashes

The prevention of rear-end accidents is the responsibility of every driver every time they get behind the wheel. Here are ten tips drivers should remember to try to reduce the chances of a rear-end accident.

  1. Don't tailgate. We all know what tailgating is and we know we should not do it. Tailgating is reckless and dangerous. It is rude. And it can often be avoided. If you tailgate and leave too short of a stopping distance, there's a very real chance you will end up hitting another car and you could be blamed for causing an accident.
  2. Check your mirrors often. Look to see what the drivers behind you are doing and if they will be able to stop in time.
  3. Leave two to three car lengths between you and the car stopped ahead of you. If someone from behind is going to crash into you, you may have enough room to push forward without rear-ending the car in front of you.
  4. Don't stop short or cut people off. When a driver slams on their brakes suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly changes lanes or pulls in front of another vehicle, cars around them may not have time to react. This can result in a rear-end accident. Try to always be aware of cars around you and try to anticipate their moves.
  5. Go the speed limit and try to maintain a steady speed. Drivers who slow suddenly can cause a car following them to hit them.  A driver who goes too fast also faces an increased chance of hitting another motorist who is in front of his vehicle. Faster speeds mean more momentum, which results in a longer stopping distance and makes rear-end crashes more likely. These types of accidents can also result in more serious injuries.
  6. Pay careful attention at all times. All motorists need to pay careful attention to what is going on in front of them to avoid having to hit the brakes suddenly. Stay off cell phones and avoid using other distracting devices – even maps.
  7. Look a few cars ahead of you in anticipation of what may happen. If you see cars braking up ahead it gives you more time to brake and allows the car behind you to begin braking (assuming they are paying attention). If you are behind a truck stay back until you can see the driver’s face in his side mirror. If you can see his face, he can see you. And stay out of the trucker’s blind spots. Truckers have a lot of them. Directly in front of the truck (because of the long hood). Directly behind the truck. And especially on the right side of the truck. Click here for more safety tips for driving near big-rigs.
  8. Check your brake lights periodically.
  9. If you are being tailgated don’t brake to try to get them to back off. This can result in a rear-end situation and, depending on the driver’s demeanor, it could make them angry and lead to road rage. Simply try to move to another lane when safe to do so.
  10. Avoid drunk or drowsy driving. Both drunk and drowsy driving can make it harder to pay attention to what is going on with other cars and can cause delayed reaction time, which makes rear-end accidents much more likely to occur. If you have been drinking call a sober ride home service. Many in North Carolina will take you and your car home. And if you become tired while driving, stop to rest for about 20 minutes. A recent AAA Foundation  study found that one in five fatal auto accidents involved drowsy drivers. Click here for tips on what to do if you begin to feel drowsy while behind the wheel.

NC Car Crash Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation for Rear-End Crashes

If you were injured in a rear-end accident, contact us right away or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer received
3.5 times more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own*.

 

* Insurance Research Council 1999

^Client identities have been removed or changed to protect their privacy

 

Be Safer on NC’s Rural Roads. Here’s How.

By Jennie R. Glish

Driving on rural roads in North Carolina can be a spectacular experience, especially during autumn. But these roads can also be challenging particularly in poor conditions such as at night and during rain and fog.

Unfortunately North Carolina has the dubious distinction of having the third most rural road fatalities in the country, behind California and Texas. The 855 rural road deaths in NC account for 62% of the 1,379 overall traffic deaths recorded statewide.

NC Ranks #3 in Rural Road Fatalities

Rural Road Fatalities, top 3 statesWhether maneuvering the Great Smokey Mountain’s circuitous path to the summit, or taking in the salty air along NC 12 on the Outer Banks, traveling safely is a priority. The Tar Heel state boasts some truly amazing landmarks, but the path to get us there often finds us on two-lane rural roads. While inviting, these rural roads can often put travelers in harm’s way if they don’t follow some basic safety and travel guidelines.

We offer some insight here on what to expect while driving on rural roadways and guidance about how to arrive at your destination safely.

Expect the Unexpected on Rural Roads

Being aware of your surroundings and paying attention are keys to staying safe. Here are some routine hazards you can sometimes expect when driving along North Carolina’s rural roads.

  • Sharp twists and turns, blind turns, steep hills, and dips
  • Poor visibility of road signs, faded roads signs, signs hidden by trees or bushes and even knocked down
  • Narrower roads which can be harder to maneuver or to pass other vehicles
  • No or low shoulders and sometimes no guard rails
  • Crossing wildlife and farm animals
  • Slow-moving vehicles, including farm vehicle crossings (some 50,000 farmers use North Carolina’s rural roads)
  • Rough pavement, potholes, and uneven surfaces
  • Rocks and other debris
  • Poor lighting making for harder visibility at night and in poor weather

Top 3 Causes of North Carolina Crashes

The top three causes of all traffic accidents in North Carolina in 2015 were due to speed, lane departure, and distracted driving*, according to North Carolina 2015 Traffic Crash Facts. These infractions can be particularly dangerous on rural roads because of the potential hazards above.

3 Tips For Driving on NC’s Rural Roads

Stay Alert and Watch For

  • Speed limit and other roadway signs that indicate upcoming road conditions or sharp turns
  • Animals, deer, and small critters can run across roads with little warning. Click here to learn how to try to avoid hitting a deer, and if you cannot, what you should do.
  • Other drivers who may be swerving or driving unsafely

Stay Prepared and Check For

  • Sufficient gas and cell phone charge. You don’t want to end up stranded, especially at night or on a road with no shoulders.
  • Proper tire traction
  • Roadside tool kit. Always carry a spare tire, a jack and lug wrench, flashlight (and extra batteries) and roadside flares or beacons, jumper cables, duct tape, a multi-purpose tool, an escape tool, and water at the minimum. Depending on weather conditions where you live, you might also want to include something to keep warm, a rain poncho, a candle and lighter. And if you travel with your family, include items they may need – diapers and wipes if you have a baby, non-perishable food, medications, etc.

Share the Road and Prepare For

  • Enough space between cars
  • Anything you might suddenly happen upon in the road, such as an animal, fallen rock, limb or tree, huge pothole, or standing water

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From NC Accident Lawyers

If you sustained a car accident injury due to another driver’s negligence on any kind of road in North Carolina, contact us right away or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case. We work on a contingency basis, so you pay no attorney’s fee unless we recover for you.

*P.S. Click here to read a fascinating blog on why our brain’s chemical makeup compels us to look at incoming texts.

N.C. Police Target Aggressive Drivers in Ghost Cruisers

Car Accident Lawyer North CarolinaBy LaDonna Williams

Most drivers view aggressive driving as a serious or extremely serious risk that puts everyone’s safety in jeopardy. They are right, of course, but that doesn’t stop many from doing it, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Recently, authorities in North Carolina committed to cracking down on this issue by investing in “ghost cars.” CBS North Carolina reports that these cars don’t look like your typical marked cruisers, as you can see from this WBTV NC photo.

The cruisers do have markings, but their graphics and decals are barely visible during daylight hours, allowing law enforcement officers to blend in with the rest of traffic. People are on their best behavior when they spot a police cruiser, the logic goes. The goal with ghost cars is to address aggressive driving habits, like speeding, tailgating, and unsafe lane changes by putting motorists on notice that police may be in the midst.

North Carolina law defines aggressive driving as careless or heedless operation of a vehicle in a manner that willfully or wantonly disregards the rights and safety of other drivers. To prove a violation, officers need to show an offender committed two or more of the following:

  • Running a red light
  • Running a stop sign
  • Passing illegally
  • Failing to yield right-of-way
  • Following too closely

A violation is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor – a charge that may betray the severity of impact these actions can have on innocent passengers and other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

One study published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention revealed that aggressive driving tends to increase the severity of traffic crashes.

Recovering Damages After an Aggressive Driving Accident

In some cases after an aggressive driving accident the involved parties may find themselves tempted to argue with the other driver. On the other hand, others may sometimes feel compelled to apologize. However, our North Carolina accident attorneys would urge drivers involved in any crash to neither blame nor apologize after any kind of car crash. Instead, a polite exchange of insurance and driver’s license information as well as contact information of potential witnesses is in order. Also, if you are injured, seek immediate medical attention. Click here for steps to take after you’ve been involved in a car crash.

A person who is injured and plans to file a North Carolina car accident lawsuit for damages will have to prove negligence. Your attorney will need to show:

  • Defendant owed a duty of care (in this case, to safely operate a motor vehicle)
  • Defendant breached that duty (by failing to safely operate a motor vehicle)
  • Defendant driver’s actions were the actual and proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries
  • Plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the crash

N.C. Car Wreck Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

Aggressive driving behaviors are undoubtedly a breach of a motorist’s duty. However, proving it sometimes can be challenging, and this is why we encourage injured parties to seek legal counsel from an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney.

If aggressive driving has led to a serious accident resulting in personal injury, we can help you explore your legal options.

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer to represent them received 3.5X more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own*.

Contact us for a free case evaluation to see if we can help or call us at 1-866-900-7078.

* Insurance Research Council 1999

Kids Can Suffer Heat Stroke in a Hot Car in 10 Minutes. Here’s What to Know.

All of us know what it’s like to experience a hot car. The leather exterior of the steering can sometimes be too hot to touch and the stifling hot air makes it difficult to breathe. After just a few minutes, your heart rate begins to rise as your body tries to cool itself down.

Most of us wouldn’t sit in a hot car for more than a few minutes before turning the air conditioning on. But what if you were stuck in your car on a 90-degree day and you weren’t able to turn on the air conditioning? What if you were a child strapped into a car seat? Helpless.

Nationwide approximately 37 children die by overheating in cars every year. North Carolina ranks number 6 in the country since 1991 for hot car deaths, according to data from kidsandcars.org, an organization that advocates for stronger car safety measures for children.

I am a mom of a young child, and these statistics break my heart. Children cannot defend themselves against high temperatures like adults – their body temperature climbs three to five times faster. Even cool days can pose a threat. Every 10-20 minutes, the internal temperature of a car can rise 20 degrees.

Children have died in cars when the outside temperature was as low as 60 degrees.

Cracking the Windows Doesn’t Help

Some people believe that opening the windows will keep their child from overheating, but Kidsandcars.org asserts that lowering the windows does not help.

It is extremely important to make sure you always take your child out of the car with you, no matter how quick your errand may be.

As a busy single working mom, I certainly understand how some parents might think, “I’ll just run in and run out of the drugstore and it will only take a few minutes.” We’re busy and in a rush, and taking a child out of a car seat and putting him back in again can take time. Especially if the child is unwilling or sleeping.

Call 911 if a Child is Unattended in a Car

If you see a child left unattended in a car, take action right away by calling 911. If you notice signs of heat stroke, let the 911 operator know you plan to break the window to help the child cool down.

Signs of Heat Stroke

If you notice any of these signs, prompt action is in order.

  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Sluggishness
  • Seizure
  • Hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Hallucinations

How to Rescue a Child From a Hot Car

Check out this video from the Today Show that shows exactly how to rescue a child (or a pet for that matter) out of a hot car. It’s good info to know.

Half of Child Deaths in Overheated Cars Occur Because Someone Forgot

Most child deaths occur when parents unintentionally leave their infant in the car. Many parents are quick to assume that they would never “forget” their child in the backseat. But parents do forget. Parents of every background have forgotten their child in their car – it has happened to social workers, doctors, lawyers, police officers, soldiers.

52% of heatstroke deaths in cars occur because someone forgot a child was in the car.

As a parent, you’re probably used to a fast-paced and strict schedule. Some days, it may feel like you’re on autopilot – you’re so used to a particular routine that you don’t even consciously think about it. Any sudden new tasks can be difficult to remember to incorporate into your day. For instance, if you’re used to waking up and driving straight to work every morning, it may be easy to forget to drop off your child at daycare. These tragedies often happen during busy times – especially around holidays or schedule changes when parents are stressed and fatigued and forget more easily.

4 Ways to Remember Your Child Is in the Car

While it’s difficult to prevent stress and fatigue, there are several ways to help remember your child in the backseat:

  1. Put something you need (like your purse, employee ID, or cell phone) in the backseat next to your child, so that you’ll have to open the back door in order to grab it.
  2. Use drive thru services when available.
  3. Always keep your vehicles locked – even when they are sitting in your garage – so that your child can’t sneak inside and accidentally lock themselves in.
  4. A free app called Kars4Kids Safety is designed to act as an alert system for parents. A customizable alarm rings on your phone when you exit the car to remind you that your child is still inside!

Let’s spread awareness along with these helpful tips in order to try to ensure our children’s safety.

P.S. Your furry friends are at risk, too. Leaving your pet in a hot car can be extremely dangerous and have deadly consequences – animals may suffer heat stroke in as little as 15 minutes. Dogs are only able to cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads, making them especially vulnerable in hot weather. If you’re running errands, it may be best to leave your pets at home.  

 

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078