Archive for February, 2013

If You Know a Driving Behavior is Dangerous, Would You Do it Anyway?

Feb 2013

If you know a driving behavior is dangerous, would you do it anyway? It seems like the answer to this question should be an obvious no. After all, everyone knows that auto accidents can be deadly, so why engage in behavior that ups your chances of becoming involved in a crash? Unfortunately, a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that there are many drivers who are aware that certain behaviors are dangerous but who are doing these things anyway.

Our West Virginia car accident lawyers believe that the results of this new AAA study are very important. They show how much room for improvement there is as far as drivers making smart choices. We urge everyone to take a look at the survey results and to make the commitment not to do things they know are dangerous when they drive.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Survey

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey is called the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture index. The survey asked drivers whether they viewed a specific driving behavior as bad; whether they thought that society as a whole disapproved of the behavior, and whether they engaged in the behavior. Here is what AAA found:

  • Most drivers said drinking and driving is met with strong disapproval and is extremely dangerous. Yet, 2.1 percent said that in the past month they may have driven while over the limit. In total, 14 percent of drivers said that at least once in their lifetime they may have driven while impaired.
  • 48.6 percent — almost half — of drivers said that using cell phones should be banned outright when driving, even if hands free devices were used. Yet, more than two-thirds of the drivers surveyed said they had chatted on a cell in the past month as they drove.
  • Almost every driver said that it was extremely risky to send emails or to send or read a text message as they operated their vehicles. However, one in four said they’d done one of these actions in the past month.
  • Speeding 15 mph or more over the limit on a highway was a behavior that 49.6 percent of drivers admitted to doing in the past month. However, only one in four drivers said they thought speeding was acceptable.
  • 38.4 percent of drivers had run a red light in the past month, although the majority of the drivers described this behavior as dangerous.
  • 45.9 percent of drivers had fallen asleep while driving one or more time in their lives, although, again, most drivers described drowsy driving as really dangerous behavior.

Unfortunately, the results of the AAA survey revealed that most drivers know these risky behaviors are dangerous and increase the risk of an auto accident. Yet, despite having this knowledge, drivers do not seem to act on it. Instead, drivers choose to do things that they know are dangerous and that are, in some cases, against the law.

These study results were disappointing and show that many drivers should take responsibility for making safer choices for themselves. Unfortunately, drivers who do things they know are dangerous don’t just risk their own lives. Innocent victims can be affected as well when a car accident occurs.

If you’ve been in an auto accident in West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office at 1-800-HURTLINE.

Stay Safe from Winter Weather Accidents in West Virginia

Feb 2013

In late January, an auto accident occurred in Charleston, West Virginia, along Route 3 when a car crashed head-on into a truck. According to a news report on the accident, West Virginia state police attributed the cause of the crash to bad winter weather conditions.

Our West Virginia personal injury attorneys urge every driver to be prepared for winter weather, to be alert for winter weather advisories that may be issued and to follow safe winter driving tips.

Staying Safe from Winter Weather Accidents

The tragic crash in this case was attributed to snow and ice on the roads. Ice, and especially black ice, can create a situation where vehicles lose traction and where drivers lose control. Ice can cause a vehicle to skid or to spin out and unfortunately, the natural instinct to slam on the brakes can sometimes make the situation much worse. Bad winter weather can also impede visibility as snow, heavy rain and fog can make it very hard to see.

Unfortunately, all of these winter weather conditions and all of the dangers created by bad weather contribute to causing many auto accidents during the cold months. Every driver needs to learn some basic safe-driving tips during the bad weather months in order to avoid becoming the victim of a crash. For example, drivers should:

  • Listen to the news and check for winter storm or winter weather advisory warnings before planning to drive. If there is a driving warning or bad weather warning, do not drive unless you absolutely have no choice but to brave the weather.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and avoid speeding. In many cases, you may need to actually drive at a speed that is below the normal speed limit in order to avoid a crash.
  • Leave ample room to stop by keeping several car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you. Bad weather is no time to tailgate.
  • Use your brakes gently to avoid skidding. Leaving plenty of space between the car in front and going slowly will allow you to avoid slamming on the brakes.
  • Use low gears on hills or if you are in danger of losing traction on your vehicle.
  • Keep your car in good repair and make sure to have the car and tires checked regularly by a qualified mechanic.
  • Don’t let your gas tank get too low because you never know when you might be trapped in a snow-related traffic jam. You do not want to run out of gas.
  • Don’t ever pass a sanding truck or a snow plow and give these vehicles wide berth.
  • Learn the proper techniques for managing a skidding vehicle. The techniques differ depending on whether your front wheels or back wheels skid. provides tutorials for both.

Hopefully, by following these winter safe driving tips, you can avoid becoming the victim of a crash during cold, icy and snowy West Virginia winter days.

If you’ve been in an auto accident in West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office at 1-800-HURTLINE.

Are West Virginia Drivers Falling Asleep at the Wheel?

Feb 2013

Car accidents are a top cause of death in the United States, and there are a lot of reasons for this unfortunate statistic. Most people are aware, for example, that drunk drivers on the road pose a menace to the safety of all drivers. However, studies show some other drivers are just as dangerous as intoxicated drivers. These drivers are people who are too tired to think clearly and act quickly and who, in many cases, are literally falling asleep at the wheel.

Our West Virginia accident attorneys have recently taken a close look at a new study that was designed to reveal how many drowsy drivers are on the roads throughout the United States. The study contains some important details on the dangers of drowsy driving that everyone in West Virginia needs to be aware of.

Drivers are Dozing Off  Throughout the U.S.

The recent study on drowsy driving was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With more than 147,000 people surveyed, the study was the largest ever performed on the subject of drowsy driving.  It was conducted via the telephone and people in 19 states in the U.S. received telephone calls, as well as people in Washington, D.C.

The questions asked via the telephone survey requested that respondents share details about their sleeping habits, about their work schedules, and about their behavior when they were driving. One of the key questions asked in the study was whether the responding driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel any time during the past 30 days. Falling asleep was defined as nodding off or closing the eyes even for a few seconds.

The study results were surprising and upsetting, especially in light of the fact that many drivers may fall asleep for just a split second and are not even aware of it. Despite the fact that the numbers may have been underreported, far too many people said they had dozed off in the 30 days before answering the phone survey. For example:

  • Of all drivers surveyed, 4.2 percent said that they had fallen asleep.
  • Of all male drivers surveyed, 5.3 percent said they had fallen asleep.
  • Of all female drivers surveyed, 3.2 percent said they had fallen asleep.
  • For drivers ages 18-44, 4.9 percent said they had fallen asleep.
  • For drivers over 65, 1.7 percent said they had fallen asleep.
  • For drivers who were retired, only 1 percent said they had fallen asleep.

The data revealed that sleep habits played a big role in whether a driver had dozed off or not, with those who snored or who got less than 6 hours of sleep per night more likely to admit to drowsy driving. Educational attainment, on the other hand, was not a factor that had an impact on dozing off.

Unfortunately, as these statistics show, there are lots of drowsy drivers out there — including right here in West Virginia. These drivers put themselves and everyone else in a position where the chances of a crash are much higher.

If you’ve been in an auto accident in West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office at 1-800-HURTLINE.