Archive for April, 2013

West Virginia Traffic Accidents – Teens at High Risk

Apr 2013

Recently, shared several tragic stories about car accidents involving teenage drivers. In one such story, for example, CNN indicated that an Ohio SUV went off the road and into a pond. The SUV — which had room for five passengers — had eight teenagers in it. Six of them died.

Tragically, as our West Virginia accident lawyers know, car accidents are the top cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 20.  The Governors Highway Safety Association preliminary data for 2012 also indicates that the number of car accident deaths among young people is increasing, with 19 percent more 16- and 17-year-old drivers killed than the year before. The high number of deaths and the serious dangers faced by teen drivers cannot be ignored, and parents should make a point to sit down with their kids and talk about safe driving.

Teens are at Risk

It is important for parents and kids to be aware of some of the troubling facts about teen drivers. For example, as CNN reported:

  • There were 2,700 people between the ages of 16 and 19 killed in car accidents in 2010.
  • More than seven teenagers died every day in America in 2010 in car accidents.
  • There were 282,000 teen drivers ages 16 to 19 who suffered injury in car crashes in the U.S. in 2010.
  • Only 54 percent of high-school students indicated in a 2011 survey that they always wear seat belts. Every other age group had a higher percentage.
  • Teens with passengers in their car are more likely to be involved in crashes.

Teens are also more likely than their parents realize to text when they drive, with Car Connection reporting that 26 percent responding to a University of Michigan Transportation Survey admitting they sent or received texts as they drove at least once every time.  Other studies have shown that teenage drivers are more likely to speed and less likely than adults to stop when they are feeling too tired to drive safely.

Talking to Your Teen

While car accidents are a leading cause of teen death, the good news is that many of them are preventable. Teens just have to be smart behind the wheel and make good choices and they will have a significantly reduced chance of hurting themselves or others.

It is up to parents to make sure that children understand the importance of safe driving. You can go over some of the statistics on car accident deaths with them to drive home the point, but you should also make some clear rules and have an open discussion about them.

For example, you can discuss the rules for riding with friends or passengers in the car; driving at night; drinking and driving; texting or using cell phones; and speeding.  Parents should also model their own good behavior, as the University of Michigan Transportation study indicated that children often mimic the driving habits of their parents.

By taking the time to talk to your teenager and by setting a good example, you can hopefully help to ensure your teen is a smart and careful driver. If you aren’t confident of this, then there are devices that you can use, including in-car cameras, to monitor what your child is doing as he or she drives. While your kids may not be thrilled about the idea, taking firm action could help to save their lives or the lives of innocent victims sharing the road.

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

West Virginia Traffic Safety – Avoiding Accidents at Night

Apr 2013

It is a given that is harder to see in the dark than it is during the daytime. Of course, most people know that night driving is more dangerous as a result of reduced visibility. You may not know, however, how great the increase in accident risk is or what to do to stay safe. 180957076

Our West Virginia injury attorneys know that you can see less at night, and that your depth perception and peripheral vision are both compromised by darkness as well. The National Safety Council (NSC) has also released information that is specific about some of the risks that night drivers face. NSC data indicates that drivers depend upon visual cues for around 90 percent of their decision-making when driving. With less visibility and more problems seeing what is going on around you, NSC indicates that the chances of becoming involved in an accident at night are three times greater than during the day.

How to Avoid a Night Driving Accident

Although it is more dangerous to drive at night, there are certain things that you can do to minimize your risk and stay safe. For example, NSC recommends:

  • Regular cleaning of all lights and windows. This includes the inside and outside of the windows, as well as cleaning the head lights, tail lights and signal lights. When the lights and windows are clean, you’ll have a clearer view even at night.
  • Proper alignment of headlights. Misaligned or out-of-place lights can blind other drivers and make it more challenging for you to see.
  • Avoiding nicotine or smoking. The nicotine and carbon monoxide from cigarettes impairs night vision.
  • Use of headlights whenever there is a potential need. It is always best to put them on even if they don’t make that much of a difference in your ability to see since the lights can help to ensure other drivers see you.
  • Maintenance of a safe following distance. Driving slower and leaving more space in between you and other cars is advisable since darkness makes it harder to assess distances or to make an accurate guess as to how fast other cars are going.
  • Driving within the area illuminated by the headlights on your vehicle. If you drive too fast, you can essentially drive out of the lights and find yourself with a blind spot.
  • Using your low beams when there is other traffic around so you don’t blind other drivers, and looking at the edge of the road to guide your steering if you are blinded by the high beams of an approaching car.

By following these safety tips, you can hopefully reduce your risk of getting hurt in a night auto accident. Unfortunately, NSC warns that fatigued and drunk driving are both more likely to occur at night than during the day. If you encounter a drunk or sleeping driver, that person could cause an accident to occur no matter how careful you are. The drowsy or drunk driver would be obligated to pay for the costs of any accident he or she caused.

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