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Dos and Don’ts When You Witness an Accident

Monday, February 25, 2019

Witnessing a car accident can leave you with many questions. You could be wondering if you could have done more to help the victims, or ensure you followed the proper procedures. Consult this quick guide to being a car accident witness for some dos and don’ts for the scene.

• DON’T feel like you must stop. The law does not require you to stop at the scene of an accident. However, most people feel it is the right thing to do.

• DO make sure you are in a safe place after you witness an accident. If you are a pedestrian, you must stay in pedestrian areas like sidewalks. Even medians and shoulders can be dangerous if traffic continues to pass by. If you are a driver, pull your vehicle to the side of the road, ensure rescue vehicles have room to navigate, and turn on your flashers or distribute hazard markers. Stay a safe distance from the scene unless you are rendering aid to victims.

• DO dial 911. Even if you are unsure of the extent of the injuries of the parties involved, if vehicle damage has taken place, the police will make a report. Give as much detail as you can regarding your location and the nature of the accident.

• DON’T rush into the scene. Sometimes, your assistance will be helpful, but make sure you are not in danger of injury yourself due to broken glass and sharp metal. If you choose to enter the scene and render aid to victims, do so cautiously.

• DON’T offer medical assistance unless necessary. It is best to wait for emergency personnel to arrive on-scene. It often takes only a matter of minutes for EMTs to arrive, and most first aid situations can wait.

• DO offer other forms of assistance. Perhaps victims could use a kind word, a cell phone to call relatives or insurance companies, or a paper and pen to exchange information. Offer what you feel you would need if in the shoes of the victims.

• DON’T fear liability. In the event that help has not arrived and someone is in urgent need of first aid you know you can handle, Texas has Good Samaritan laws in place. As long as you are rendering emergency aid in good faith, you are not likely to be liable for civil damages.

• DO exercise caution. Accident scenes are often tense situations. Property has occurred, and tempers and emotions can run high. While the presence of a witness may help keep emotions in check, be careful when inserting yourself into the situation. Keep your own safety in mind, primarily.

• DON’T allow a driver to leave the scene without exchanging information. You do not need to physically restrain a driver – see the above note about keeping yourself safe – but it is good practice to jot down identifying characteristics and license plate numbers. If an at-fault driver attempts to leave the scene, you can remind them of the consequences of doing so and record their vehicle and license plate description.

• DO cooperate with police. If you have chosen to stop and witnessed the accident itself, provide every detail you can to the police. Stay on the scene until your statement is complete and police have released you to continue traveling.

Overall, many people choose to stop and help when they witness a car accident. Keeping these tips in mind can help ensure you are doing what you can for the victims and police while keeping yourself safe from harm. You are not necessarily a medical professional, a mechanic, or a police officer, but Good Samaritans can provide some help and may even save a life. Just remember your own limitations and leave the tough work to the emergency personnel.

Posted by admin at 7:59 am

Ways to Avoid Common Motorcycle Accidents

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Motorcycles are fun vehicles for many Americans, but it is essential to acknowledge the inherent dangers of riding motorcycles and the risks of an accident. A motorcyclist has very little protection in the event of an accident, and some of the most common types of motorcycle accidents are avoidable with appropriate precautions. When a negligent driver causes a motorcycle accident in Texas, a motorcycle accident attorney in Dallas can help an injured victim recover his or her losses with a personal injury lawsuit.

Evade Left-Hand Turn Accidents

Cars turning left present one of the biggest hazards for motorcyclists. A driver may not see an oncoming motorcycle due to the bike’s small size and make a left turn directly in the path of a motorcycle in the opposite lane. Motorcyclists can avoid these accidents with vigilance and safe driving. If a collision is imminent, reducing speed as quickly as possible is the best way to limit injuries and damage.

Blind Corner Accidents

Motorcycles are incredibly maneuverable, and riders need to use this to their advantage when it comes to safety. When rounding a blind corner, reduce speed and be ready to react to changing road conditions. Hitting a patch of gravel or sand around a blind corner can easily lead to a wipeout. Riders should stay at safe speeds to maximize their available reaction time to dodge hazards around blind corners.

Lane-Change Accidents

Some drivers may overlook motorcyclists in their blind spots and inadvertently change lanes directly into a rider’s lane. The motorcyclist needs to account for other drivers’ blind spots and avoid lingering in them for too long. Staying vigilant and maintaining safe speeds are the best ways to avoid collisions from drivers who fail to look before changing lanes.

Rear-End Collisions

These accidents may only be minor fender-benders for enclosed passenger cars but they can be fatal for motorcyclists. If you are riding a motorcycle and stop at an intersection behind other cars, you can actually use those vehicles as a cushion against a driver who could rear-end you from behind. Pull ahead of a stopped driver in front of you and wave to indicate that you need to do so for safety reasons. This greatly reduces the chances of another driver rear-ending your bike.

Front Brake Lock-Ups

Misusing the front brake of a motorcycle can easily lead to a serious accident, and many riders can minimize the chances of such accidents simply by learning to appropriately use their front brakes or by purchasing motorcycles with antilock braking systems. It’s vital to learn how to reduce braking distance with the front brake without the rear tire lifting too high off the ground, and practice is the best option.

Inclement Weather and Slippery Road Conditions

Tires are the most important factor when it comes to avoiding accidents from slippery road surfaces. Make sure your motorcycle has appropriate tires for the surfaces on which you intend to drive. For example, you don’t want to take track rubber tires on highway. Improper tires can cause severe problems for motorcyclists. It’s also crucial to stay vigilant for other risks like wet manhole covers, gas and oil deposits on the road, and debris.

Alcohol-Related Crashes

More than 40% of fatal single-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles happen due to alcohol consumption. The best way to avoid this risk is by simply refraining from drinking and driving. Alcohol severely impacts driving ability, and a motorcyclist faces a much higher risk than a driver of a passenger vehicle in an alcohol-related accident. Driving under the influence not only leads to fatal accidents, it can also cause severe injuries as well as a host of legal penalties including fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges.

When motorcycle accidents happen in Texas, a motorcycle accident attorney in Dallas can help an injured victim determine his or her best options for legal recourse. However, by implementing a few best practices, riding at reasonable speeds, and staying vigilant for changing traffic conditions, motorcyclists can avoid many of the most common motorcycle accidents seen on the road.

Posted by admin at 10:00 am

The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Motorcycles are much more than a means of conveyance for many Americans. Motorcycling is a hobby enjoyed all over the country, and while it can be extremely fun to feel the wind as you ride, riders must be aware of the inherent dangers of riding motorcycles. Unlike typical passenger vehicles, motorcycles afford their riders with very little protection from impacts and other external forces. Motorcycle riders must use extra caution on the road and keep a few best practices in mind.

Motorcycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the main contributing factors to any type of accident is the size of most motorcycles. They are smaller and narrower than other vehicles and can easily slip through other driver’s blind spots. About 56% of all motorcycle accident deaths result from motorcycles colliding with larger vehicles, and this can occur in countless possible scenarios. However, some situations are far more dangerous than others. Consider the following tips and scenarios for staying safe while riding your motorcycle.

Head-On Collisions

One of the most fatal types of accidents is when a motorcyclist hits another vehicle head-on. Most head-on collisions involving motorcycles and larger vehicles happen when the car strikes the motorcycle from the front. These crashes are usually fatal for the motorcyclist.

Left-Turning Cars

Statistically, the most dangerous situations for motorcycles on the road are when larger vehicles make left-hand turns. Cars turning left typically strike motorcyclists when the motorcycle is continuing straight through the intersection as the car turns or when the motorcyclist attempts to pass or overtake a left-turning car. These situations are also dangerous for other cars, but motorcycles are especially vulnerable due to their smaller size and because they are less visible.

Lane Splitting

Some motorcyclists engage in a practice called lane splitting – when a motorcyclist maneuvers between two lanes of slower or stopped traffic. Some states do not have any laws barring the practice, so if a lane splitting accident occurs, the state’s laws will come into play in a subsequent lawsuit.

Road Hazards

Motorcycles typically have high acceleration and a fair range of maneuverability, but they can’t always react fast enough to avoid serious hazards on the road. Additionally, while a car may be able to run over a piece of road debris and barely feel the bump, the same piece of debris could spell doom for a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists must stay focused on the road ahead and give themselves an appropriate window to maneuver.

The Need for Speed

Motorcycles, especially sport and high-performance bikes, may inherently tempt their owners to push them to their limits and drive at excessive speeds. Some super-sport class motorcycles can easily reach speeds of 160 mph or more. The fatality rate for motorcycle accidents involving high-performance bikes is about four times the rate of conventional motorcycles. Owners of such bikes should use caution and obey the rules of the road.

Riding Under the Influence

Just like any other vehicle, operating a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible. Alcohol is a factor in about half of all motorcycle accidents involving a single bike.

Helmet Laws

Finally, one of the best things any motorcyclist can do to stay safer on the road is to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet. While some states do not have helmet laws in place, it’s important to consider that helmets reduce the likelihood of death or traumatic brain injury in an accident. Even if you are an inexperienced rider living in a state without helmet laws, opting to wear one might save your life.

Motorcycle accidents lead to various serious or life-threatening injuries. Injured motorcycles should know their rights and their options for legal action should another driver cause an accident. If you suffer injuries and damages from a motorcycle accident, reach out to a reputable personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.

Posted by admin at 5:03 pm

What Are the Motorcycle Laws Every Texan Should Know?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Motorcycles are more than just a mode of transportation – they are a hobby and pastime for many Texans. Although motorcycles are a fun way to get around and enjoy pleasant weather on the road, it’s vital for Texans to understand state motorcycle laws. Knowing these laws not only keeps riders safer on the road, but also helps ensure riders are compliant and needn’t worry about fines or legal problems due to parking or mechanical issues.

Motorcycles must have the same basic mechanical features as other motor vehicles – brakes, reflectors, head and taillights, and the other typical parts of a vehicle. Just like passenger cars, motorcycles must be registered and riders must obtain the proper motorcycle license. Some states place restrictions on exhaust and muffler decibels for sound concerns, but Texas has no such laws.

Parking

Just like passenger cars, motorcycle riders may only park their bikes in disabled parking spaces if they have the proper authorization and affix a disabled license plate or windshield placard to the bike. Additionally, a disabled license plate or windshield placard may not be given or lent to other motorists.

Some motorcycle riders believe that because their bikes are smaller than typical passenger cars, they may park in the striped areas near handicap parking spaces or other similar “Do Not Stop” areas of pavement. This is against the law. Motorcycles may not be parked on sidewalks, either.

Helmet Laws

In Texas, helmets are required for any rider under the age of 21. Riders over the age of 21 may forego wearing a helmet if they obtain the proper certification or insurance coverage. Such riders must either complete a Department of Motor Vehicles-approved Motorcycle Operating Training Course or obtain at least $10,000 in medical insurance. As with automobile insurance, these riders must keep a copy of their medical insurance card on their person while riding or stowed in the bike. However, Texas police are not permitted to stop or detain any rider solely to determine whether the rider has completed a training course or possesses medical insurance coverage.

Although the decision to wear a helmet is at the rider’s discretion if over the age of 21, helmets have been proven to save lives. Consider wearing a Department of Transportation-approved helmet while riding.

Passengers

In Texas, no one under the age of five years may ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. Any passengers over the age of five and under 21 years old must wear a helmet. Passengers over the age of 21 may opt to ride without a helmet if the driver has the met the proper requirements. Additionally, the motorcycle must have a permanent passenger seat.

Lane Splitting

Many motorcyclists engage in a practice known as “lane splitting,” which is when a motorcyclist passes other vehicles by traversing between lanes of traffic. Some decry this practice as dangerous, and it can be in certain situations – specifically, when riders are splitting a lane with a larger vehicle or at high speeds. Texas does not prohibit lane splitting, but if you choose to split a lane with another motorcyclist, do so safely and at a reasonable speed.

Motorcycles are fantastic fun, but they are also inherently more dangerous than other motor vehicles because riders are almost entirely exposed. Passenger cars shield their drivers much more effectively than motorcycles. Therefore, if you ride a motorcycle in Texas, exercise more caution on the road than you might when driving a regular motor vehicle. Following the rules of the road and keeping these Texas laws in mind will reduce your risk of serious injury.

Posted by admin at 11:50 pm