Winter Weather Driving Tips from the NC DOT

 

January 26, 2015

 

 

If travel in winter weather is absolutely necessary, you should use the following precautions:

  • Clear your windows and mirrors;

  • Reduce your speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles;

  • Maintain a safe following distance behind brine application trucks, snow plows and spreader trucks;

  • Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice first. Approach them with extreme caution, and do not apply your brakes while on a bridge or overpass;

  • If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply your brakes, as that will cause further loss of control of your vehicle;

  • If you have a mobile phone, take it with you. You can contact the North Carolina Highway Patrol statewide by calling HP (*47), or call the county emergency center by dialing 911; and

  • Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection where traffic lights are out. Treat this scenario as a four-way stop.

 

Mandatory Backup Cameras Required by May 1, 2018

 

December 17, 2014

 

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require all vehicles under 10,000 pounds manufactured on or after May 1, 2018 to include backup cameras as standard equipment. According to the NHTSA, an average of 210 people die every year as a result of backup accidents. Of those, 31 percent are children ages 5 and younger. Vehicles will be required to have rear visibility technology as of May 1, 2018 to ensure that drivers have a clear view of the area behind their vehicle in the hopes that this will reduce the number of deaths that occur annually in backup accidents. At Quinn Law Firm, PLLC, we applaud this dedication to increase the safety of both drivers and pedestrians!

 

Gap Insurance

 

October 27, 2014

 

When you're involved in an accident and your vehicle is totaled, the insurance company is obligated to pay fair market value for your vehicle. They don't have to pay off your vehicle loan or buy you a new car. Thus, when you buy a vehicle, you should strongly consider purchasing GAP insurance. Many GAP policies even cover theft if your vehicle is stolen.

 

GAP” stands for Guaranteed Auto Protection. A GAP policy will pay the difference between what is owed on your vehicle loan or what a new vehicle would cost and the fair market value of your vehicle.  You should check your GAP insurance policy to determine exactly what coverages are provided.

 

GAP insurance can be invaluable for new vehicle purchasers. You've often heard it said that the moment you drive a new vehicle off the lot, its value drops. That is true. As soon as a new car is driven off the lot, it becomes a used car to the rest of the world and is worth less than what you paid for it just a few minutes before.

 

GAP insurance is used when the amount you owe on your vehicle is more than the vehicle is worth. After the amount you owe on your loan is paid, you end up even. Although you'll still need to find a new car, you won't owe money to the finance company on the totaled or stolen vehicle that you no longer have.

 

GAP insurance is usually available when purchasing a new vehicle. However, some insurance companies will offer it on any vehicle—new or used. Other companies even offer GAP insurance on leased vehicles.

 

Protect yourself and your credit with GAP insurance today!

 

 

Texting and Other Driver Distractions

April 5, 2014


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines “driver distraction” as:

  • Texting

  • Using a cell phone or smartphone

  • Eating and drinking

  • Talking to passengers

  • Grooming

  • Reading, including maps

  • Using a navigation system

  • Watching a video

  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 3,328 people were killed in 2012 by driver distraction and 421,000 more were injured.


10% of all drivers under the age of twenty involved in fatal car wrecks were distracted when the accidents occurred. 27% of drivers in their twenties involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time.


Since texting requires the driver's attention visually, manually and mentally, it is by far the most dangerous form of driver distraction. The average time a driver's eyes are off the road when texting is 5 seconds. At 55 mph, a driver can cover 300 feet (i.e., the length of a football field) in 5 seconds.


North Carolina law provides the following cell phone and texting restrictions:

  • All drivers under 18 are banned from using cell phones while driving. Dialing 911 in the case of an emergency is the sole exception.

  • School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones.

  • All drivers are banned from texting while behind the wheel.

     

Even with the enactment of texting and cell phone usage laws, motorist distraction remains a serious and all too often a deadly threat to others on the road.

GRACO Recalls 3.7 Million Car Seats:

Is Your Child's Car Seat Safe?

March 6, 2014

 

Graco, which manufactures strollers, car seats, and other equipment for infants and toddlers, recalled 3.7 million car seats in February 2014 because of faulty buckles.

 

Although Graco denies any reported injuries, they are recalling the car seats because faulty buckles that won’t unlatch can cause children to get stuck in their car seat--leaving parents with no choice but to cut the straps in order to free their child. Suffice it to say, this could have devastating consequences in an automobile accident or fire when getting your child out of the car needs to be done very quickly.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates this is the 4th largest car seat recall in history. The recall involves certain Graco car seat models manufactured between 2009 and July 2013 including:

  • Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat.

  • Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.

 

Car seat safety is of the utmost importance for parents. If you’re involved in an automobile accident, your children could be severely injured if not properly restrained. If you’re unsure whether or not your car seat is safe, you can go to one of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's inspection stations and have your child's car seat inspected for free. Nothing is more important than the safety of our children!

All New Cars Must Be Equipped with “Black Box” Data Recorders By September 2014

February 22, 2014

 

Many people don't realize that cars have “black boxes” just like most airplanes do, but they’re already being installed in almost all new cars and trucks. They record information from the vehicle’s sensors about the driver's every move and more. 

After a car crash, the data can be downloaded from the black box, also known as a crash data retrieval system, to a computer and stored to help lawyers and law enforcement officers determine what factors caused the crash and resulting injuries including data regarding the vehicle's speed, whether or not brakes were applied, how the car was being steered and even whether or not seat belts were in use. Information from the 10-20 second period prior to an automobile accident can prove to be invaluable in such a determination.

As a word of warning after an accident, it's important to download the data as soon as possible as some black boxes will only retain the recorded data for a limited period of time. Also, it's important to make sure that you do not give the black box contained in your “totaled” vehicle to an insurance company before the data is retrieved.

As of September 1, 2014, these “black box” data recorders will be mandated by law in all new vehicles.  

 

Be Careful What You Post on Facebook!  

January 28, 2014

 

If you've been injured in an accident, be careful what you post on Facebook or other social networking sites! Posts such as "I was in an accident, but I'm OK" may later be used by insurance adjusters or defense attorneys in an effort to minimize your injuries. That goes for pictures you post as well. There's nothing like a picture of someone out laughing and drinking at the club or playing sports to do damage to their claim for compensation for pain and suffering.  

It's best not to put anything in a post, text or email that you don't want an insurance adjuster or defense attorney to read.  

 

Remember, "Anything you say (or post) can and will be used against you in a Court of law!"

 

 

You Are Entitled to Claim Lost Wages Even if You are Paid by Your Employer!

November 1, 2013

 

If you are unable to work due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident or if you lose time from work for doctor's appointments, you are entitled to compensation for the time you missed from work even if you've already been paid by your employer. You may receive sick leave benefits or use vacation time. However, those are your benefits, and evidence of those benefits is not admissible in Court. If you lose a vacation day, you have suffered a loss. Being paid by your employer for missing time from work because of the pain you are suffering from an automobile accident does not make up for the vacation time you could have spent with your family. Your time is valuable.

 

Let us help you recover compensation for the time you missed from work and for the other damages to which you are entitled! Call Quinn Law Firm, PLLC today!

 

 

Dog Bites!

August 30, 2013

 

Dog bite victims may be able to recover compensation for their injuries from irresponsible dog owners under several legal theories.  Under one theory, there may be liability for violation of a safety statute, ordinance or regulation. For example, when a dog owner ignores a leash law and simply lets his dog roam the neighborhood, that person could be held accountable for making such a foolish choice.

 

In North Carolina, dog owners are also generally held liable under basic negligence principles if they knew or should have known that their dog had vicious propensities or was dangerous and failed to take adequate precautions for the protection of others.

 

Also, if the dog has previously bitten anyone or been declared dangerous by the authorities, then the owner becomes responsible under the theory of strictly liable for any future bites. Homeowner's or renter's insurance may provide coverage for the negligence of their insured which results in a dog bite. If you or a family member has been bitten by a dog, call Quinn Law Firm, PLLC today!

 

 

Pedestrians, Bicyclists or Motorists: Who Has the Right-of-Way?

July 22, 2014

 

When not using a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, pedestrians must yield the right-of-way when crossing the road.  When a sidewalk is available, pedestrians must use the sidewalk instead of walking on the road.  When sidewalks are not available, pedestrians walking along or on the highway should walk on the extreme left of the road or shoulder facing traffic and must yield the right-of-way to traffic.

 

Unlike pedestrians walking outside of crosswalks, pedestrians in crosswalks do have the right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in residential and business areas except where there is a traffic or pedestrian signal.  Also, whenever any vehicle is stopped at an intersection crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross, any other motorist or bicyclist approaching from the rear is not permitted to overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

 

When riding a bicycle on a road, the bicyclist must ride in the same direction as other traffic.  Also, the bicyclist must travel in the right-hand lane and should ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the highway. Exceptions to this law are provided when the bicyclist is:

Passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction

Avoiding a dangerous obstruction

Riding on a one-way street

Preparing to make a left turn

 

At intersections, both motorists and bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic when making a right turn on red.

 

Being struck as a pedestrian or while riding a bicycle can cause catastrophic injuries and even death.  If this happens to you or a family member, call Quinn Law Firm to help recover the compensation to which you or your family member is entitled.