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Doylestown Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law Blog

How do you prepare for a holiday road trip?

With the holiday season closing in, there's a good chance you're making your plans and thinking about what you need to do to prepare. If you come to find that you're taking a road trip, there's a lot that goes into remaining safe.

Here are five things you can do to properly prepare for a holiday road trip:

  • Inspect your vehicle: You don't want anything to go wrong with your vehicle on your trip, so visit your mechanic before leaving home.
  • Map out a safe route: It's likely that there is more than one route for reaching your destination, so consider all your options.
  • Get rest before leaving home: You don't want to take to the road when you're tired. Instead, you should be feeling your best when you get behind the wheel.
  • Avoid distractions: There are many common distractions that have a way of sneaking up on you. From conversing with passengers to talking on the phone, you need to keep all of these out of your vehicle so you can concentrate on the task at hand.
  • Know what to do in an emergency: You hope nothing goes wrong, but you know it's a possibility. From a breakdown to an accident, prepare for every type of emergency.

Accident rates go up in urban areas and for large truck drivers

There was a 2 percent decline in traffic fatalities in 2017 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, there was an 18.7 percent increase in fatalities in crashes involving large trucks. There are many possible reasons why this is happening including the fact that more vehicles are traveling on roads in Pennsylvania and around the country.

In addition to higher levels of traffic, large truck driver habits may also be leading to increased crash fatality rates. In 2017, there was a 16 percent increase in the number of fatal large truck accident victims who weren't wearing a seat belt compared to 2016. Impaired driving is still a problem, but drivers are increasingly impaired by drugs as opposed to alcohol. NHTSA data found an increase in those who had THC, opioids and prescription drugs in their systems at the time of a fatal accident.

Do these things to keep your passengers safe

When you get behind the wheel, it's easy to pay attention to the things you can personally do to remain safe. After all, you're in full control of everything that happens.

Just the same, you should take the time to make some key decisions to keep your passengers safe. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Don't move until all your passengers are strapped in: There is no excuse for anyone in your car not wearing a seat belt. Make it a habit to check this before you pull away.
  • Drive a safe vehicle: Some vehicles have better passenger safety ratings than others. Check yours and then decide if you're okay with driving it in the future.
  • Children require special attention: For example, any child that requires a car seat should be double-checked before hitting the road. Also, make sure you regularly check the installation of the seat, as this is important in the event of an accident.
  • Don't engage in too much conversation: This keeps everyone safe, as too much conversation can be a distraction that increases the risk of an accident.

Divorce after the age of 50 and the financial considerations

Getting a divorce can be devastating at any age. Divorces between adults over the age of 50 have increased greatly over the last several decades in Pennsylvania. Most people at this age have planned for retirement for many years and wonder how they will be able to afford it after a divorce. There are several ways to prevent a divorce from affecting retirement.

Speaking to a financial advisor who specializes in retirement accounts is a good first step. A 401(k) may be subject to division in a divorce. It is important to be flexible when considering options during a divorce since it may be possible to keep a retirement account in exchange for allowing the other spouse to retain other marital assets.

5 ways to make sure drivers see you on your bike

Whenever you take your bike out on the road, you want to make sure that drivers can see you. Many accidents happen when people in cars fail to spot cyclists and cause accidents that could have easily been avoided.

Now, this isn't to say that such an accident would be your fault. You do have a right to use the road. If a driver doesn't see you while you're riding legally, the ensuing accident may be entirely their fault. Still, your goal should be to understand the risks and take what steps you can to keep the accident from happening in the first place.

Smartphones linked to accident numbers

A vehicle management platform called Motus has released a report focused on the increasing amount of distracted driving among people who are part of the mobile workforce. The platform has the largest pool of retained drivers in the world, and utilized data from that driver pool to determine that mobile workers use their cars more than any other employee type. Pennsylvania travelers should be aware of the dangers posed by distracted driving.

The 2018 Distracted Driving Report, makes a connection between the rate of smartphone ownership and rising car accident figures between 2013 and 2017. More specifically, the report points out that ownership of smartphones rose to 77 percent in 2017 from 55 percent in 2013, and the number of car accidents was 6.4 million in 2017, compared to 5.7 million in 2013.

Rainy season brings dangers on the road

As summer gives way to fall in Pennsylvania, people can find themselves dealing with a lot of rain. In addition to lower visibility and slick roads, hydroplaning can occur. Hydroplaning or literally floating on the surface of water is a major cause of vehicle accidents in wet weather.

Hydroplaning occurs when there is so much water on the road that it creates a layer of water between the tires and the road surface. The tires lose traction as the vehicle floats on the water. It doesn't actually take much water for hydroplaning to happen. Drivers are often warned to avoid puddles, but heavy rain alone can create a situation where hydroplaning could occur.

There are many reasons why speeding is dangerous

As a driver, it's easy to push the limit in regard to speed. Even if you know the posted speed limit, you may get the feeling that going a bit faster is acceptable.

There are many reasons why speeding is dangerous, and all of them have to do with the increased risk of an accident. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The faster your vehicle is moving, the less likely it is that your vehicle will be able to handle the force of an accident
  • The faster you're driving, the less reaction time you have, such as if you need to stop in a hurry for another vehicle or pedestrian
  • Speeding requires harder braking in an emergency, thus increasing the risk of losing control of your vehicle
  • Speeding increases your stopping speed
  • When you're speeding, other drivers may find it difficult to determine just how fast you are going
  • Speeding risks are enhanced during traffic, inclement weather and particular types of road designs (such as curves)

Planning for the school year after divorce

Divorced parents in Pennsylvania can take advantage of the new school year as a time to help children also deal with the transition of their new family situation. They may want to talk to their children about the year ahead and their goals. While this may include academic goals, it is also important to acknowledge relationships, extracurricular activities and jobs for older children.

Ideally, this conversation would take place with the other parent present, but if that is not possible, the custodial parent can still encourage the child to talk to the other parent about these things as well. The parent can help the child create a list of the top three goals for the school year. Parents may also want to talk about what support they can offer children in any challenges ahead.

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Doylestown, PA 18901

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