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Doylestown Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law Blog

Driving tips for Pennsylvania winters

December means holidays, family and fun-filled festivities. Unfortunately, it can also mean bad weather and slippery roads. That's why the National Safety Council has released some winter driving tips that can help Pennsylvania drivers reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a safe holiday season.

According to the NSC, one of the most important things a driver can do to improve roadway safety is to have their vehicle inspected by a mechanic before the next big storm arrives. The ignition, tires, brakes, headlights, windshield wipers, spark plugs and battery should all be checked to make sure they are in good condition. Safety experts also remind drivers to never mix radial tires with other types of tires. Furthermore, it's a very bad idea to leave a vehicle running in a garage or other enclosed space. This could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Do you know how to drive safely when the snow begins to fall?

As one of our Pennsylvania readers, you know that the winter season is sure to bring plenty of snow to your area. While this is enjoyable in many ways, it makes it much more difficult to drive.

Driving in the snow is not the same as driving on dry pavement. For this reason, you must adjust your style to enhance your safety. Here are five things to do:

  • Drive slowly: When you slow down, you lessen the likelihood of being part of a motor vehicle accident as it's easier to control your vehicle.
  • Don't hit your brakes hard: Doing this in slick conditions can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. When it comes time to stop, plan as far in advance as possible.
  • Don't stop on hills: When traveling uphill, do your best to maintain a constant speed. If you stop, getting back up to speed can be next to impossible.
  • Leave more following distance: It takes longer to stop in snowy conditions so you should leave as much following distance as possible.
  • Avoid dangerous areas: For example, if you're thinking about driving down a snowy hill, you may want to search for an alternative route or wait for conditions to improve.

Tips for parents who are concerned about a child's safety

Some parents in Pennsylvania who are going through a divorce might be worried that their child is unsafe with the other parent. For example, one parent was worried about another parent's drinking. The mother had reportedly taken the child and cut off contact, and the father was concerned that she would drink and drive. She had also not been the child's main caregiver, and the father was concerned about the child's well-being.

A court might grant a parent emergency custody if the child is unsafe with the other parent, but the parent usually has to show police reports or other documentation to demonstrate that there is an issue. Even if one parent can prove the other drinks a lot, it may not sway a court. One court decided that although a father drank every night, this did not prove that he drank when he had the children with him.

Regulators struggle to understand the reasons for crashes

Philadelphia motorists often have little understanding of the true causes of auto crashes. Even police reports often don't fully reflect the reasons why accidents happened. When the National Safety Council reviewed police reports nationwide, it found that no state records all of the data that traffic safety groups and the government need to determine the major causes of crashes. By understanding why car accidents happen, safety officials can take steps to improve their prevention.

Fatalities caused by car accidents are on the rise. In 2016, around 40,000 people were killed in crashes, an increase of 6 percent over 2015 and 14 percent over 2014 figures. Many have pointed to distracted driving as a major factor in this elevated danger, but the methods used to track crashes do not allow researchers to fully understand its impact. No states provide a field or code for police to record significant driver fatigue when reporting a crash. In addition, 26 states do not provide a field for police to note if a driver involved in a crash was texting at the time. Six more states do not provide a way for police to note hands-free cell phone use at the time of an accident.

Common factors leading to a pedestrian-car accident

As a pedestrian, it's a good practice to always keep an eye on what's happening around you. Most importantly, know what drivers are doing, as an accident with a motor vehicle can result in serious injury or even death.

Knowing the common factors leading to a pedestrian-car accident can help you avoid trouble. Here are five things to keep in mind:

  • Distracted driving: When a driver isn't paying attention to the road, there's a greater chance of striking another vehicle or pedestrian. Common types of distractions include texting, talking on the phone, eating and drinking.
  • Drowsy driving: As a pedestrian, there's no way of knowing if a person is too tired to drive. However, if this happens, the driver may not be able to make sound, timely decisions.
  • Drunk driving: This remains a problem in all parts of the country, with many people consuming alcohol and then taking to the road. This impairs judgment, which increases the risk of a crash.
  • Reckless driving: From speeding to failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, there are many forms of reckless driving.
  • Disregarding traffic conditions: For example, if there is heavy pedestrian traffic, all drivers should slow down and pay close attention to the people around their vehicles.

Are you following these holiday driving safety tips?

Driving during the holiday season is unlike any other time of the year. For example, with so many people traveling to meet family and friends, there are sure to be more people on the road than you might normally see.

Here are several holiday driving tips to keep you safe this year:

  • Buckle up: Everyone in your vehicle should wear a seat belt, even if you're only taking a trip down the street.
  • Don't drink and drive: It's common for people to consume alcohol during the holidays. While it's okay to have a few drinks, you should never get behind the wheel after doing so.
  • Avoid distractions: There are many driving distractions during the holidays, such as Christmas lights and texts from loved ones. Avoid all distractions, as you don't want anything to pull your attention away from the road.
  • Obey the speed limit: It's easy to overlook this tip, especially if you're trying to make good time on a road trip. Know the speed limit and obey it.
  • Don't drive drowsy: A long holiday road trip can take its toll on your body. If you're too tired to drive, give the wheel to someone else or pull over and get some rest.

Do you know how to share the road with others?

It's always preferable to find yourself on the road when there's not a lot of traffic. Unfortunately, you have no way of controlling this. There will be times when you're stuck in heavy traffic and wondering what you can do to maintain your safety.

Here are several things you can do to better share the road with others:

  • Make yourself visible: There are many ways to do so, such as by moving out of a person's blind spot and using turn signals when merging and changing lanes.
  • Be courteous: For example, don't hesitate to let a person in front of you on the highway. Just the same, leave more space when following others in heavy traffic. A little of courtesy goes a long way in keeping everyone safe.
  • Don't let your emotions take over: It's easy to turn into an aggressive driver, especially when the roads are crowded, and others aren't doing what they should. As tempted as you may be, keep your emotions in check. Nothing good can come from confronting another driver, so avoid doing so at all costs.

What you should know when your teen starts to drive

If you have a teenager who is ready to learn to drive, you may be secretly panicking inside at the thought of turning over your keys. With patience and wisdom, however, you can guide your teen through this important milestone just as you have through all the others. Here are a few things you should know before your teen gets behind the wheel:

Dealing with the family home during divorce negotiations

When married couples in Pennsylvania and around the country divorce, the family residence is usually the most valuable asset discussed during property division negotiations. Deciding how to deal with the family home is challenging because this is often an emotional issue, but making decisions based on sentiment rather than pragmatism can cast a long shadow and should be avoided.

A straightforward way of dealing with real estate during a divorce is to sell it and divide the proceeds, but people may be reluctant to leave the home where they have raised a family. Spouses can surrender their rights to ownership by signing quitclaim deeds in return for cash or other assets, but this can lead to problems in the future if the person who retains the property fails to make mortgage payments in a timely manner. This is because banks are not bound by the provisions of divorce settlements and will pursue any individual who signed mortgage documents when accounts fall into arrears.

The top cause of death in the US is often avoidable

People die of diseases, allergic reactions, plane crashes and even lightning strikes. Many of these causes seem random and unavoidable, but Pennsylvania readers may be surprised to learn that the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44 is unintentional injury. This means that, in some cases, these deaths are entirely avoidable.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61,749 people died of some sort of unintentional injury in 2016. These deaths came in the form of unintentional poisonings, falls, fires, drownings and more. However, the most common cause was motor vehicle accidents. Each year, over 32,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives in car crashes, and an additional 2 million are injured. Most of these auto accidents are caused by preventable human mistakes, such as speeding, drunk or drugged driving and distracted driving. Failure to wear seat belts is another major contributing factor.

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Goldman Law Offices

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Doylestown, PA 18901

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