At Barr and Mudford, we have been representing victims of serious injury since 1967, more than 40 years. Although we’re glad to be here for those who suffer from injuries as a result of a car accident or other mishap, like you, we’d rather see accidents avoided if at all possible. Here are some guidelines to help you avoid the kinds of injuries we deal with every week.
- Don’t count on others to always stop at stop signs and signal lights. Drive defensively. Before you enter or leave an intersection, pause and look around to make sure the other drivers are obeying traffic laws and doing what they are supposed to do.
- Don’t get distracted by texting or talking on a mobile phone. Bluntly stated, when you talk or text on a handheld device while driving, you are asking for trouble because you simply can’t pay attention to what’s going on around you. In a split second, an accident can happen and there’s not a text message or phone call that’s worth your life and that of another. Do not use cell phones to text or talk while driving and don’t ride in car with a driver who does. Be safe and pull over.
- Don’t let yourself get distracted by children or other people who are in the car with you. If you reach back to help a child or try to find something you dropped on the floor, your chances of avoiding an accident go down dramatically. Even a small swerve over the center line can mean injury or death. Imagine for a moment: a line the width of a shoe is all the separates your car from other vehicles often traveling on roads and freeways at relatively high speeds. In a fraction of a second, an accident that could have been avoided changes lives forever.
- If you ride a motorcycle remember that the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident are generally much more severe than in a car accident. You have every right to be on the road, but whether it’s your fault or the other guy’s, you’re probably going to take the brunt of it. To reduce your chance of injury in a motorcycle accident: dress properly, wear a good helmet, obey the rules, and make sure other drivers know you are there.
- Don’t over-correct. If your vehicle drifts off the roadway—for whatever reason—simply slow down and stop the vehicle before reentering the roadway. Do not over-correct by turning the steering wheel severely to the left or right to try and get back on the pavement. When you over-correct, there is a strong possibility that your vehicle will flip over and roll, potentially causing great injury to you and your passengers. It is a common mistake, so be aware.
- Turn on your headlights whenever you’re driving on two-lane roads and highways.It’s all about making yourself visible when you are in potentially dangerous driving situations. Give other drivers who may be anxious to pass slow vehicles every chance to see you coming. Never stop on the shoulder of a freeway unless it’s an absolute emergency. If you have no choice but to stop while you’re driving on a freeway, pull off to the side—even off the shoulder—as far as you safely can and use extra caution if you step out of the car.
- Use your turn signals. Believe it or not, many drivers still forget to signal when making a turn or simply don’t use their turn signals because they think it’s unimportant. Time and again we’ve presented cases involving an accident that occurred when one driver turned without signaling and the other driver could not react quickly enough to avoid a collision.
- Always name a designated driver if you have been drinking. Alcohol impaired drivers cause numerous accidents, injuries, and death each year. Support Sober Graduation, DARE, and other programs that help prevent the deadly combination of teenagers, alcohol and motor vehicles. Each and every year young people are maimed or killed in accidents involving alcohol either by drinking and driving cars and boats, or as passengers in vehicles driven by others who have been drinking. Get involved, and the life you save may be that of someone very close to you.
By taking these simple precautions while driving, you can help reduce the number of car accidents and avoid causing or being the victim of serious personal injury. If you have been involved in an accident, however, please give us a call at 530-243-8008. We can help.