Articles Posted in Auto Safety

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We hear about it all the time — serious car accidents on the Alley.

Alligator Alley is a 100-mile stretch of road that connects Naples to Weston and the rest of the west coast of Florida. It cuts across the northern tip of the Everglades and is among the most remote roads in the United States.
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Our Weston injury lawyers understand that the Alley is 100 miles of straight, long, boring road. There are no billboards. No attractions. No external distractions. It’s just your eyes on the straight and narrow lanes of traffic. When driving this trip at night, there aren’t a lot of lights to help you to see or to help you to stay awake.

There are very little opportunities to make a U-turn without running the risk of getting hit. No roads. No exits. No gas stations. To make it even worse, there are only two staffed rest stops and one gas station located between the toll booth in Naples and Weston. If you run out of gas or you run into some mechanical problems, you’re virtually out of luck and you better have plenty of time on your hands to wait for help. Lastly, we think that people underestimate the risks of drowsy driving on this roadway. More than an hour of monotonous driving can really impact a driver’s concentration.

“It’s been frustrating to try and get resources out on the Alley when there is an emergency,” said Lt. Dave Erdman with Broward Fire-Rescue.

According to the Sun Sentinel, more than 30 percent of accidents on the Alley were due to careless driving. This was back when it was only two lanes. When it shot up to four lanes, the number of accidents involving careless driving rose to nearly 45 percent.

In earlier years, the number of accidents wasn’t as high as it is today, but that’s because there weren’t as many people using it. Instead, officers were only getting calls about tourists getting bit by snakes or travelers running into alligators.

Back then, the speed limit was only 55 miles per hour, too. Today it’s 70 miles per hour and as we’ve recently reported, speed is one of the top contributors in fatal car accidents across the U.S. — and the Alley is no different. Troopers say that they’ve often clocked drivers at 90 miles per hour.

No wonder we see so many accidents.

The truth of the matter is that Alligator Alley is a long journey and it’s a trip everyone should plan for. First off, you want to make sure that you’re well rested before you venture across the state. It’s a long, straight trip and you want to make sure you’ve got plenty of energy to keep your attention focused on the road. You’re also going to want to make sure you fill up your gas tank before you hit the toll plaza. Luckily there are signs on the side of the road reminding drivers of the last gas station before the toll.
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It’s a hard thing to do — give up your car keys as an elderly resident.

The truth of the matter is that seniors are doing everything that they can to hold on to their driving abilities and their independence. Unfortunately, that’s not always the safest move. There often comes a point when the safer option is to give up the keys because of problems and difficulties that come with age. According to Sunrise Senior Living, the loss of driving privileges can happen for a number of reasons, including not being cognitively fit for driving or having poor vision.
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The American Academy of Ophthalmology recently made an announcement that senior drivers with glaucoma are actually at much higher risks for getting into a traffic accident. Researchers looked into the frequency and rates of accidents for elderly drivers who had glaucoma and compared their findings to drivers of the same ago who had normal vision. According to the study, drivers with glaucoma were about twice as likely to get into an accident.

Our Miramar car accident lawyers understand that our vision typically worsens with age. It’s a fact of life and we all need to deal with it as best we can. Your best bet is to make sure you’re getting your vision tested regularly.

“We would like to create mandatory vision testing guidelines for glaucoma patients,” said Dr. Shiho Kunimatsu-Sanuki, leader of the study.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation reports that residents of all ages can be susceptible to this condition, but your risks are higher with age. One of the most unfortunate things about this condition is that there’s no cure for it. Roughly 10 percent of those with the disease never even get the proper treatment.

Left untreated, it’s common for individuals to go blind. According to recent reports, more than 2 million U.S. residents have the disease and only about half of them even know something’s wrong.

Not sure what glaucoma is?

It’s a group of eye conditions that can cause some serious damage to the optic nerve. This is the nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain. In many of these cases, damage to this nerve is caused by increased pressure in the eye, which is also referred to as intraocular pressure (IOP).

Tests for Glaucoma:

-Visual Field Measurement

-Visual Acuity

-Slit Lamp Examination

-Retina Examination

-Gonioscopy

Halogen lights, such as the headlights of other vehicles as well as fluorescent light fixtures, can cause and uncomfortable glare for those with glaucoma. Some people with glaucoma also notice glare in stores with fluorescent lighting.

If you’re concerned with your driving abilities, ask a loved one to ride along with you and to evaluate your situation honestly. You should also seek a professional opinion from a doctor.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent out a warning to Americans who currently use sleep drugs. According to Philly.com, these drivers are warned to talk to their physician about lowering their dosage of commonly used kinds of insomnia drugs. Officials are hoping that lower dosages of the drugs will help these drivers behind the wheel in the morning.
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According to IMS Health, there were more than 50 million prescriptions that were handed out for sleeping pills in 2011. Close to 70 percent of the drugs were some kind of zolpidem. This is a drug that is sold as a generic drug and is sold under a plethora of names including Zolpimist, Edluar, Ambien CR and Ambien.

Our Tamarac accident lawyers understand that the FDA has received a number of event reports of this drug and its relation to driving impairment. These reports unfortunately didn’t include the information to help researchers to understand if or how the drugs affected driver’s ability to drive or their mental awareness.

“Recently, data from clinical trials and other types of studies have become available, which allowed FDA to better characterize the risk of next-morning impairment,” said an FDA Director, Dr. Ellis Unger.

What the FDA had to say:

-The FDA will be expanding its use of drive simulation testing to get a better look at how these drugs affect drivers.

-Driver simulation testing may soon expand to other drugs that could impair drivers.

-A driving simulator at the University of Iowa recently received more than $600,000 to conduct some more research. The grant was awarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA is currently working to get more information into alcohol-impaired driving, distracted driving and drowsy driving.

According to the director of operations with NADS, Omar Ahmad, testing is going to expand. Critics of the current testing process say that it’s not accurate because participants know what they’re being tested for and they know it’ a simulation, but many others say that the how the driver operates with and without the substance can be determined.

According to DrowsyDriving.org, there is an estimated 2,000 fatalities and more than 70,000 injuries that result every year because of drowsy driving. Unfortunately, these are only estimates because there is no direct way to test to see if a driver was drowsy at the time of an accident — like officials can test to see if they were under the influence.

Until further testing can be completed and analyzed, drivers are officially warned of the side effects of any sleep drug. You want to be careful and stay from behind the wheel whenever you’re feeling sleepy. If you start to feel sleepy behind the wheel, pull over and take a break. You can even take a nap. Driving while drowsy is a risk that no one should be willing to take!
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About 90 percent of drivers who are over the age of 65 report that they’re suffering from health issues that affect their driving safety.

It’s important that these older drivers are equipped with a vehicle that fits them, meaning a vehicle that is comfortable and safe for a a driver who may have a lack in muscle strength or flexibility. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, only about one out of every 10 elderly drivers with health issues is driving a vehicle that adapts to their condition, meaning it has keyless entry or a large display of dash controls.
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To help seniors behind the wheel, officials with AAA have updated their Smart Features for Older Drivers resource. It now better addresses these kinds of issues for those conscious of their health issues and the impact on their driving. AAA decided to launch this resource in partnership with the Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation with the University of Florida back in 2008. In the most recent update, the feature points out vehicles than can help to improve the safety of elderly drivers along with their comfort behind the wheel. There’s even a list of these vehicles. It also provides these drivers with an online tool to help them to determine their needs from a vehicle.

Our Margate personal injury attorneys understand that there are roughly 10,000 individuals who are celebrating their 65th birthday in the U.S. each and every year. We also know that there are families throughout the state who are coping with these age-related driving problems. According to Robert Darbelnet, CEO and President with AAA, the Smart Features resource can help to keep elderly drivers safe behind the wheel for longer.

Conditions commonly experienced by elderly drivers:

-Limited range of motion.

-Leg pain.

-Hip pain.

-Arthritic joints.

-Diminishing vision.

-Delayed reaction abilities.

These conditions not only affect a driver’s comfort behind the wheel, but they greatly increase the risks for accidents.

The truth of the matter is that everyone ages differently. It’s important that we all look for a vehicle that fits our needs. Like for drivers who suffer from leg issues, they should look for a vehicle that comes equipped with six-way adjustable power seats.

Drivers that have arthritic hands should look for thick steering wheels, four-door cars, keyless entry systems and cars equipped with plenty of power features, like powered seats and mirrors.

Drivers who have sight problems should look for vehicles that have auto-dimming mirrors as well as large displays on the dashboard.

If you have an elderly driver in your family, help them determine the best vehicle fit for them. Elderly drivers may not always be aware of the newer technology available in motor vehicles and they may not know how it can help them. Sit down and talk to them about their issues they’re having behind the wheel. Help to solve these issues by finding a vehicle more suitable for their needs.
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Before purchasing a new car, you’re going to want to do your homework. This is especially important with the recent damages from Hurricane Sandy. We’re talking about damages to vehicles resulting from flooding.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), consumers are being warned to keep their eyes out for vehicles that are being sold without the disclosure regarding flood damage.
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In the state of Florida, dealers are prohibited from making any kind of deceptive, misleading or false statements about the history or the condition of the vehicle in question. Dealers are also required to disclose “Salvage” vehicles to consumers. “Salvage” is the category that is used for vehicles than have been damaged in a flood. If sold without the proper disclosure, a dealer may violate Unfair Trade Practice laws and face some serious consequences.

Our Boca Raton personal injury attorneys understand a vehicle can appear to have no damage, but damage from flooding can seriously mess up a vehicle’s safety mechanisms as well as its computer. Both of these instances can serve as some serious safety hazards and dangers to a new owner. You have a right to know what you’re buying and sellers have an obligation to be honest with you.

We’re here with some tips to help you to look into a vehicle before purchasing:

-Be sure that, before purchase, you take the vehicle to a certified mechanic to get a thorough look at it.

-Keep your eye out for a deal that’s too good to be true. That’s one of the biggest red flags.

-Take the time to look at the vehicle yourself. Look inside and out.

-Take a peek at the engine. Look to see if there’s a high water mark on the radiator. This is a clear indication that the car has indeed been flooded.

-Inspect the engine for corrosion or rust on the wires on the engine and on other components under the hood.

-Look at the carpet. Keep an eye out for an odor or any kind of mildew.

-Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable dealership when car shopping.

-Be cautious of car auctions. These are where many flooded vehicles end up.

-Before you purchase a vehicle, ask the dealership if you can have a detailed report of the history of the vehicle.

Most importantly, you should be extra careful when dealing with private sales. Those who are selling a vehicle on the internet or through any other kind of advertisement are not regulated by the State of Florida, meaning that they aren’t required to let you in on this kind of information. Do your own research to avoid being duped.
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Being stranded on the side of the road can be a scary experience. Just ask Angel Soto Jr. According to The Palm Beach Post, he had to have one of his legs amputated, had one of his feet fractured and was locked up in a hospital room for weeks — all to save the life of a helpless motorists. Any regrets? No way, says Soto Jr.
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The victim he helped was Alexander Proscurshim from Boynton Beach. He was sitting on the side of the road after he crashed his truck. He was bleeding from the head. Soto Jr. stopped to lend a helping hand. Just seconds after he stopped though, a passerby slammed right into Soto’s truck.

Our Palm Beach personal injury attorneys understand that these can be some of the most dangerous scenarios on our roadway. While Soto says he is glad to be alive, he realized that he’s going to have a long and painful recovery. Doctors told him he’s going to have to learn how to hold himself up on his left leg before they can attempt to attach a prosthetic leg. Rehabilitation can’t be made though, until his feet heal.

It’s not just the physical pain. He’s also dealing with a lot of emotional trauma. Dr. Gene Rodriguez, trauma surgeon at Delray Medical Center, Dr. Gene Rodriguez, says that these are damages that can last a lifetime.

Even though Soto Jr. is keeping it positive, he says he’s angry at the other driver for being so careless. He adds that he believes that the driver was on the phone when the accident happened. That’s a behavior that’s not regulated by state law. Florida continues to be one of the only states in the country that still allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off of the road and pay attention to cell phones and other communication devices while driving.

Unfortunately, officers with the Boynton Beach Police say that they can’t find anything that proves the driver was on the phone. Subsequently, criminal charges have not been filed. The driver has been charged with reckless driving though, and Soto Jr. plans on filing a personal injury lawsuit.

If you should find yourself on the side of the road, we’re asking you to follow some simple safety precautions to help keep you and your passengers safe:

Make sure you always travel with a cell phone. If your car breaks down, make sure you pull off to the side of the road as far as you can. Turn on your hazard lights to make sure others see you. Call roadside assistance or a family member to request help. It’s also a good idea to keep your car packed with an emergency kit. In this kit, you should keep emergency flares, a flashlight, some tools, water, nonperishable food items and a first-aid kit. You also never want to accept a ride from a stranger or emergency responder of any kind without first checking for identification. Most importantly — you want to stay inside of your vehicle with your seat belt on while waiting for help. One of the most dangerous things you can do is get out of your vehicle. This only puts you at greater risks for another accident.
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Most Floridians will be doing their fair share of traveling within the next few weeks. It’s the holiday travel season and everyone will be out heading to and from gatherings with friends and family members.

For many of these trips, we’ll have to hop on the Interstate, whether it’s Interstate 95, Interstate 75 or Interstate 4.
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The truth of the matter is that these roadways are dangerous, not only when you’re driving along them, but in the unfortunate event that you experience a breakdown. Regardless of what kind of car you have or how new it is, breakdowns can happen. For this reason, everyone needs to be prepared, needs to know how to stay safe and needs to have a plan in place.

Our Lantana personal injury lawyers encourage you to prepare before setting out. We’re also here to offer your some preventative measures to help to keep you out of these kinds of situations and we’re here to offer you with safety tips should you become stranded amid a see of passing motorists.

Before heading out, you want to make sure you’ve taken all of the proper safety precautions you can to make sure your vehicle is in traveling condition. Before heading out on a long trip, consider having it checked out by a mechanic. You’re urged to check the fluids under the hood. Make sure they’re all fresh and full. You also want to take a peek at your tire pressure. Make sure that all of your tires are filled and match the vehicle’s specifications, which are typically found on the inside of the driver’s door and may differ from the specifications printed on the side of the tire.

You’re going to want to fill up before you head out, too. You don’t want to run low on gas out there. There’s no telling where the nearest gas station will be.

Breakdown Safety Tips:

-If you get stuck on the side of a busy roadway, don’t get out of the car. If you can, get your vehicle to a safe location or wait it out and call for assistance.

-Always keep a roadside emergency kit with you. Make sure you have reflective triangles, flares, blankets, flashlights, jumper cables, antifreeze, band-aids and water and nonperishable food items.

-If you get a flat tire, just ride on the rim (slowly) until you get to a safe area. Even if driving on a flat means the wheel itself is damaged, it is far more important you ensure your personal safety.

-Put your hood up. That’s the international sign for “help.”

-If someone approaches your vehicles who you do not know, do not open the door for them. Simply crack your window and ask them to call for help.

-If you see an emergency call box and need to use it, make sure you can get to and from it safely before using it.

All too often, victims of breakdowns on the side of the road are injured by passing vehicles. These victims might believe that other drivers can see them, but the truth of the matter is that the other drivers can be distracted or just can’t see. Stay safe out there, prep your car for road trips and be ready in the event of a breakdown.
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According to The Examiner, your teenager faces serious increases in their risks for an accident when they’re driving with young passengers.

The new study was released by officials with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It was released to coincide with Teen Driver Safety Week. In the study, there were close to 10,000 young drivers (16- and 17-years-old) who were involved in fatal accidents from 2005 to 2010. In these accidents, there were about 4,000 who had a young passenger present in the vehicle.
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“This much is certain: mixing teen drivers with teen passengers is simply toxic,” said AAA’s John Townsend.

Our Port St. Lucie car accident attorneys understand that many states have a Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program that regulates the number of young passengers that newly-licensed teens can have in their vehicles. Florida is not one of those states.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), newly-licensed drivers only have to follow nighttime driving restrictions. Law enforcement officers can do nothing if your teen’s vehicle is packed full of young riders. That means that young drivers in the state can be open to the distractions presented by passengers at any and all times and there’s nothing anyone can do about it — Except parents.

Parents are asked to create a parent-teen driving contract to create and enforce household driving rules to make up for where our state’s GDL program lacks.

In your parent-teen driving contract you should set your own rules regarding the number of passengers permitted in your teen’s vehicle, the time of the day they’re allowed to drive, the areas that they’re allowed to drive, an agreement for communication while your teen is out of the house and a strict curfew. Drivers who follow household driving laws are more likely to follow state and federal driving laws and are therefore are less likely to get into an accident. Make sure you lay down the consequences for breaking these rules, too!

What newly-licensed teen drivers need to be concentrating on are the rules of the road, and not on the distractions that are presented by passengers.

Statistics conclude that, in the close to 1,200 studied fatal accidents, teens were speeding 20 percent of the time. When three or more young passengers were present, that number shot up to close to 50 percent of the time.

The study also concluded that teens were more likely to drive at night and to drive under the influence of alcohol when teen passengers were present. Just because your teen isn’t old enough to drink, it doesn’t mean that they won’t.

The truth of the matter is that teenage drivers are involved in more accidents per mile than any other age group of drivers. It’s important that we work to bring these risks down by enforcing our own household driving rules. Limit when they can drive and who they can drive with.
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A child was injured after he was hit by a van near the intersection of Boynton Beach Boulevard and Winchester Park Boulevard, reports The Palm Beach Post.

The 10-year-old was riding his bicycle when the crash happened. Boynton Beach Fire Rescue reports that the child was taken to a local hospital for observation.
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Our Boynton Beach injury lawyers understand the risks children face for traffic accidents when traveling along our roadways. They’re not always able to comprehend the workings of motor vehicle traffic. It’s important that we talk with our kids about these dangers. Our young ones are walking to and from the bus stop and to school and they’re also playing outside after school. Let’s equip them with safe traveling habits now so they can safely travel outside for a lifetime. That’s why officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are bringing back Chuggington, the animated series helping to teach kids safe walking and bicycling habits.

The NHTSA reports that there were close to 3,000 school-aged kids who were killed in traffic-related accidents in 2010. A majority of these fatalities happened during the afternoon hours, or between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., as kids are out of school and are heading home.

This year’s campaign, “Think Safe. Ride Safe. Be Safe!” is working to make sure that kids follow a few safety tips when getting to and from school and when playing outside once school it out. Please review the following safety tips and share them with the young traveler in your family.

Walking:

-Always walk on the sidewalk if there’s once available.

-When there’s no sidewalk, make sure that you walk as far off the road as possible and walk facing on-coming traffic.

-Don’t shove or push others near the road. No horseplay!

-Look left, right and left again before crossing the road.

-Never allow children under the age of 10-years-old to walk near traffic alone.

-Never allow children of any age to walk alone. Make sure that they’re walking with a friend or with a group of kids.

-Always use a crosswalk.

Bicycle:

-Always wear a helmet and make sure the chin strap is buckled.

-Always ride on a bike path or on a sidewalk. Never ride in the street.

-Never ride next to your buddies. Always ride in a single file line.

-When you have to cross a street, get off of your bike and walk it across.

-Never ride during evening or early-morning hours.

-Make sure bicycle are equipped with lights and reflectors.

-Make sure you wear light clothing to make yourself more visible to motorists.

Chuggington is also asking kids to take the pledge to put safety first. Kids are asked to always buckle up, to always wear a helmet on a bicycle and to only cross the street with an adult.
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A vast majority (about 80 percent) of drivers who are 65-years-old and older are taking medications on a regular basis. Unfortunately, only about half of them have talked to their doctor or another medical professional about the problems that these medications might give them behind the wheel.
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Now, there is a new way for you to get this information. It’s the “Roadwise Rx” tool. It’s online and it can give you custom information regarding the medications you take and what negative affects they might have on your driving abilities. It was created and developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, according to Consumer Affairs.

Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys understand that’s it’s not only your doctor-prescribed medications that you have to worry about messing with your driving skills. You need to worry about over-the-counter medications as well! Drivers are urged to check out this new tool from AAA to make sure that none of their pills are putting them at serious risk for a car accident. If your medications are going to alter your ability to drive, then you need to either avoid the medication, find alternatives or gain thorough understanding of possible side effects so you can best manage your risk.

What this tool does is it helps to generate information regarding the medications or the herbal sublimes and foods that you’re consuming and how they’re reacting with each other to affect your driving.

“Roadwise Rx lets users move beyond the old-fashioned ‘brown bag’ review with an easy way to virtually pool together their medications and talk to their doctors,” said Beth Mosher with AAA.

Because of chronic medical conditions, older drivers are oftentimes subjected to a number of medications on a daily basis. There are certain types of medications that can increase your risks for an accident by more than 40 percent. Some ingredients in over-the-counter medications can have some of these same affects. Some cold and allergy medications have ingredients in them that can hinder your ability to drive as much as someone who is legally drunk!

According to the most recent research, one out of every five elderly drivers is taking at least five different medications at one time. As the number of elderly drivers continues to increase — with more than 10,000 turning 65 every day — there are going to be more drivers out there who may not be aware of how their prescriptions are affecting them behind the wheel. Roadwise Rx is going to help drivers of all ages to learn more about these affects and how to stay safe on our streets.

In 2020, officials say that one out of every six people is going to be 65-years-old or older. Most of these individuals will be licensed and driving, too!
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