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Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

Recommended steps to prepare for winter driving

With the approach of winter, drivers in Florida will need to prepare themselves and their vehicles. While winters in the Sunshine State are often mild, inclement weather is still a possibility. That's why it's wise to have a mechanic ensure that components like brakes, an ignition and batteries are ready for the cold. The mechanic could also check tire pressure and antifreeze levels. Drivers should know the function of basic safety features like anti-lock braking and traction control.

Next, a driver will want to ensure that their vehicle carries a properly inflated spare tire, jumper cables, tire chains, a toolkit, an ice scraper, windshield cleaner and a first-aid kit. These are just some of the things that constitute an emergency kit. When stranded in the snow, a driver should not try to push their vehicle out. If necessary, they could light flares or put reflective triangles in front of and behind the car.

Your safety in road construction zones

Road construction in Florida is a never-ending frustration. Construction crews no sooner finish with one road when they are already at work tearing up another street. It may seem at times like every project the Florida Department of Transportation undertakes is along your route to and from work.

Of course, you understand the necessity of repairing and widening the highways and roads throughout the state, but even the simplest errand can become a test of patience when you get caught up in construction traffic. If driving through work zones is something you do frequently, you should be aware that frustration may be the least of your worries. Other drivers may not be as capable of controlling their frustration, and in a construction zone, there is little room for error.

Automatic braking cuts down rear-end collisions by 43 percent

Drivers in Florida may be curious about the benefits of advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking. This, combined with a forward collision warning system, alerts drivers to the risk for a crash and, if the driver does not respond in time, can brake for the driver. More and more vehicles come with it, and 20 automakers have pledged to make it standard on all their vehicles by September 2022.

A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has shown that automatic braking is effective in preventing rear-end collisions. Though researchers limited themselves to 2013-2015 GM models, they found that those models that were equipped with automatic braking and forward collision warning were 43 percent less likely to be in front-to-rear collisions than models unequipped with it.

Speeding, drowsiness partly behind rise in fatal truck crashes

2017 saw a 9 percent increase in the number of large truck fatalities, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Many people within the trucking industry are voicing their opinions about the possible reasons. Truckers in Florida may be familiar with most of these explanations.

One is that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has burdened commercial truckers with the requirement that they take a 30-minute rest break after eight continuous hours of driving. Some truckers say they would rather drive straight through their 11-hour shift because the break introduces delays and spurs the onset of fatigue. When delays occur, truckers are bound to speed. Fatigued drivers are liable to fall asleep at the wheel.

Are red light cameras causing more rear-end collisions?

Within the last few decades, the pace of life has increased rapidly. People seem to be always in a hurry, and they may take chances while driving in order to gain a few minutes of time. This could include running red lights, which could easily lead to traffic accidents.

In response to this threat, the state of Florida installed numerous red light cameras throughout the state, particularly in the state's more dangerous intersections. The cameras take pictures of those who fail to stop at red lights and send the photos and a ticket to violators through the mail. In the last year since the cameras were installed, word has gotten out that you could end up with a costly piece of mail one day.

Using technology to reduce truck driver fatigue

For drivers in Florida, truck driver fatigue can be a real danger on the roads. Truck drivers often spend long hours over monotonous stretches of highway, leaving them at risk for exhaustion. This is especially true if they're over their legal limit on hours of service or if they have repeatedly switched between daytime and nighttime driving. Because commercial trucks are so massive, other vehicles and their occupants are at a distinct disadvantage in the event of a crash.

Many companies are looking to find ways to reduce the risk of truck driver fatigue and cut down on the resulting truck crashes. New technologies have provided innovative mechanisms to highlight warning signs of fatigue and send up an alert before an accident happens. For example, two firms, Pulsar Informatics and Trimble Technologies, came together to develop a fatigue warning system for the trucking industry that gives every driver a red, yellow or green light for the risk of fatigue he or she poses at any given time.

Soft tissue injuries may be more serious than you think

A car accident can leave you severely injured, but for some accident victims, the true effects of the collision are not immediately apparent. Some injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, are internal, and you may not know how badly you are hurt until days or weeks later. All accident victims would be wise to carefully evaluate their symptoms and seek medical care after a serious crash.

Soft tissue injuries are injuries to the softer parts of the body, such as muscle areas. It is easy and rather common to overlook these injuries because they do not seem as serious as head wounds or other types of trauma, but in reality, they can have a painful and lasting impact on a car accident victim. There is no such thing as a minor injury when it is your long-term interests on the line.

How to stay safe while driving in sunny weather

Driving in Florida or any other state can be difficult during the dawn and dusk hours. This is because bright sunshine can make it difficult to see or judge where other cars or people are. One way to make driving in bright conditions easier is to buy a pair of sunglasses. In addition, drivers should make use of their sun visors as it will block sunlight without impairing their vision.

When the sun is at its brightest, drivers should increase their following distance as the sun's rays can decrease their reaction time. In some cases, it may be best to simply not drive during the early morning or late afternoon hours. Instead, drivers can wait until the sun has fully risen or fully set before driving to work or coming home at night. Those who are on the road during sunrise or sunset may benefit from pulling over if the light hurts their eyes.

How to stay safe on Halloween

While Halloween may be a time of revelry for children in Florida and throughout the country, it can be a dangerous day as well. There is a 12-hour window starting at 6 p.m. on October 31 that lasts until 6 a.m. on November 1 in which people are most likely to be killed in drunk driving accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In 2016, nearly half of those fatalities involved people between the ages of 21 and 34. To stay safe, AAA recommends that individuals take a series of steps prior to going out as well as during any nightly activities in which they may participate. For instance, those who plan on drinking should have a designated driver available to them or plan on using public transportation. Anyone who is driving that night should slow down and watch for children in the road.

Teen driver safety

Teen drivers in Florida are statistically more likely to be involved in serious car accidents than drivers in all other age groups. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released driver statistics regarding teen driver safety ahead of National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Teens who drive with other only other teenage passengers in the vehicle may be more at risk of having a serious car accident. The new research shows that fatality increased by 51 percent overall for drivers with only other teenage passengers. When teenagers were riding with at least one other passenger age 35 and older, fatality decreased by eight percent.

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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