dangers of drugged driving

Dangers of Drugged Driving

Getting into a vehicle and going for a drive has become second nature to most adults throughout society. Many people become so comfortable with the act of driving that they forget about the dangers of the road and driving such a heavy piece of machinery at, sometimes, very high speeds. In the United States, anyone who wishes to obtain their driver’s license must take a course commonly known as “Drivers Ed”. There, new drivers learn the rules of the road and the safety precautions that should be executed every time one plans on stepping into a vehicle. The number one thing one shouldn’t do while driving is take part in drinking or drug-related activities before taking the wheel. Drinking and driving put the life of the driver, and everyone else involved, in danger. Driving while under the influence of Marijuana, cocaine, prescription pills and other drugs puts you in the same danger of dying as drinking does. Impaired driving is dancing with the devil no matter what way you do it. An article on drugrehab.org provides an insightful and informational look at the dangers of drugged driving and the steps you can take to prevent your loved ones from taking part in it.

The best thing you can do to try to prevent your family members or loved from driving while on drugs is to educate them on the dangers and the harsh reality of the matter. The on National Institute Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights data documented by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), explaining, “In 2013, an estimated 9.9 million people aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.” It is something that is hard to fathom but children and adults across the country have admitted to driving while under the influence of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or prescription medication. As a result, 20% of U.S. car crashes are a result of someone driving while under the influence of drugs.

Even when someone is educated of the dangers people still find themselves in dangerous situations. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have prepared a list of techniques to help prevent an individual from drinking and driving that can be used seamlessly to aid the prevention of drugged driving as well.

  • Avoid Confrontation – try not to argue or fight when discussing plans for transportation
  • Suggest alternative transportation – Examples such as a cab, sober driver or a public transit option
  • Be mindful of the level of impairment of the person you are talking with – talk more slowly and take time to explain your suggestions fully
  • Make it clear that your concerns arise from care – you do not want them to injure themselves or someone else by driving in an impaired state
  • Suggest they spend the night – either with you or wherever they are presently, as long as the location is safe
  • Gain support from friends who can back up your concerns – it’s more difficult to say “no” to two or more people you care about or look up to than just one
  • Take away the keys – it’s often much easier to persuade drivers to make safe choices when you have the leverage of possessing their keys
  • Call law enforcement – this is mostly a last resort. However, it might make the difference between a night in jail and being seriously injured or killed in an accident

Drugged driving is becoming more and more prevalent and in order to keep these dangerous drivers off the roads precautions must be taken. Just as drunk driving, a shadow of distaste must be cast upon the notion drugged driving. Society must be educated of the dangers and with the help of the steps noted previously everyone can do their part to keep our streets a safer place.

safe happy driver

Top 10 Safe Driving Tips

No matter how long you’ve been driving, it never hurts to freshen up on the latest safe driving tips. To keep you commuting and traveling safely, follow these top 10 safety driving tips from Ed Grabianowski at HowStuffWorks.

10. Don’t Drive Drunk

More than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers impaired by alcohol. These accidents led to 11,773 deaths in 2008 alone [source: NHTSA]. Most of those deaths could’ve been avoided if the drivers involved simply hadn’t gotten behind the wheel while drunk.

9. Don’t Speed

As the old public service campaign so succinctly put it, “Speed kills.” Research has shown that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent [source: ERSO]. At higher speeds, the risk increases much more quickly.

8. Avoid Distractions

Many states in the U.S. have passed laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving. The reason is the number of deaths attributed to this seemingly harmless activity: 2,600 deaths nationwide every year, by some estimates [source: Live Science]. In fact, those numbers may actually be too low, due to the continued rise in cell phone use behind the wheel. If you think that talking and texting while driving isn’t a big deal, consider this: One researcher compared the reaction time of a 20-year-old driver talking on a cell phone to that of a 70-year-old driver. What’s more, working a cell phone behind the wheel can delay reaction times by as much as 20 percent.

7. Don’t Drive Drowsy

A study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech reported that 20 percent of all accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor [source: TheDenverChannel]. If a driver is tired enough to actually fall asleep while driving, the results are predictable. Even on a relatively straight highway, a sleeping driver will eventually drift off the road. Trees, utility poles, ravines and bridge abutments turn this into a deadly scenario — and that doesn’t even take other cars into account.

6. Wear Your Seat Belt

Seat belts save lives. Worn properly, they prevent you from being thrown around the inside of a crashing vehicle or, worse, thrown through the windshield and flung completely out of the vehicle. NHTSA statistics reveal that more than half of all accident fatalities were people who weren’t using seat belts [source: NHTSA]. The numbers are much scarier for young drivers and passengers: A staggering 70 percent of fatal crash victims between the ages of 13 and 15 weren’t wearing seat belts.

5. Be Extra Vigilant in Bad Weather

If you’re driving through fog, heavy rain, a snow storm or on icy roads, be extra cautious. Take all of the other tips presented here and make full use of them: Drive below the speed limit if necessary, maintain extra space between you and the car ahead, and be especially careful around curves. If you’re driving through weather conditions you don’t know well, consider delegating driving duties to someone who does, if possible. If the weather worsens, just find a safe place to wait out the storm.

4. Don’t Follow Too Closely

Safe driving guidelines advise drivers to keep a safe distance between themselves and the car ahead. Drivers need enough time to react if that car makes a sudden turn or stop. It can be too difficult to estimate the recommended distances while driving and the exact distance would have to be adjusted for speed, so most experts recommend a “three-second rule.”

3. Watch Out for the Other Guy
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how safely you drive. You could be driving the speed limit and obeying all traffic rules and someone else can crash into you. One good rule of thumb to use is, “Assume everyone else on the road is an idiot.” In other words, be prepared for unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops, unsignaled turns, swerving, tailgating and every other bad driving behavior imaginable. Chances are, you’ll eventually encounter someone like this — and it pays to be ready when you do.

2. Practice Defensive Driving

This tip is pretty simple to understand if we just put the proverbial shoe on the other foot. Remember that one time when that jerk came flying down the street out of nowhere, totally cut you off and almost caused a huge accident? Don’t be that jerk.

1. Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Vehicle maintenance isn’t just an important way to extend your car’s life — it’s a major safety issue. Many maintenance issues are addressed by state mandated vehicle inspections. If your car is unsafe, the inspecting mechanic will let you know what you need to do to fix it. However, there could be a year or more between inspections, so car owners need to be aware of any potential safety issues and get them repaired before they lead to an accident.

 

Remember, if you find yourself in an accident, don’t hesitate to call the Brothers In Law, 757-319-4085.

teen driver

Teen Driver Safety Tips

Teen drivers are new drivers and the one thing all new drivers lack is years of experience. To keep your teen safe while they’re still learning the rules of the road, have them follow these simple tips from the DMV.

1) Keep Your Cell Phone Off

Multiple studies indicate using a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of driving drunk―that’s even when using a hands-free phone.

NOTE: Your state may prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. An increasing amount of states are creating laws regarding cell phone use and texting. Often, younger drivers face stricter laws.

2) Don’t Text

Research shows texting―on average―causes a loss of focus on the road for 4.6 seconds. You can drive the length of a full football field in that time. A lot can go wrong while you drive the length of a football field without your eyes on the road.

Don’t try the “texting-while-stopped” approach, either, as many states ban texting while behind the wheel. And, when you have your head down, you won’t notice key developments that may occur. Remember, you still need to pay attention to the road when you’re stopped.

3) Turn on Your Headlights

Using your headlights increases your visibility and help other drivers see you, even when you feel like it’s light out.

In the early morning and early evening (dusk), you need to use your lights or other drivers might not see you, which can be disastrous.

4) Obey the Speed Limit

Speeding is a major contributor to fatal teen accidents. That’s especially true when driving on roads with lots of traffic or with which you’re not familiar.

Don’t feel pressured to keep up with traffic if it seems like everyone else is flying by you. Driving a safe speed helps ensure your well-being, and keeps you away from costly traffic tickets that can cause a sharp hike in your auto insurance premiums.

5) Minimize Distractions

It may be tempting to eat, drink, flip around the radio dial, or play music loudly while you’re cruising around town; however, all can cause your mind or vision to wander, even for a few seconds.

As an inexperienced driver, you are more apt to lose control of your car. Distractions can significantly increase the chances that you 1) not notice impending danger or notice it too late and 2) lose the ability to control the vehicle.

6) Drive Solo

Having a single teen passenger in your car can double the risk of causing a car accident. Adding additional teen passengers causes the risk to escalate.

7) Practice Defensive Driving

Always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you, and have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you in slower speeds, and maintain a larger buffer zone with faster speeds.

Some car insurance companies will even give you a discount if you take an approved defensive driving course to improve your driving skills.

8) Choose a Safe Car

If possible, drive a safe car with the latest safety equipment (such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and air bags), and one with an excellent crash safety record.

 

For more information, visit DMV.org.

Crashed Car On Road

What to do if you’re in an accident

Getting into a car accident is something that no one can be completely prepared for. That is the meaning of the word “accident”. They happen unexpectedly and without notice. However, there are a few steps you can take in order to better prepare yourself for such an unfortunate event. An article by Patrick Allan on “lifehacker.com” gives an in depth look at how you can prepare yourself for an accident and the best course of action you can take proceeding the event of a car accident. The following is a list of helpful items that individuals should try their best to always have in their car while driving:

  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Seat belt cutter and window breaker
  • Flares, reflective triangles or orange cones
  • Something to take photos with other than your smart phone
  • An auto accident list
  • List of allergies of frequent passengers
  • List of emergency contact numbers

Although it may seem difficult to constantly stay on top of keeping these items stocked and up to date it can be extremely helpful during emergencies. Following an accident, there are a number of steps one should take to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. First and foremost it is of the utmost importance to make sure everyone in your vehicle is okay and can move their body safely. If someone is hurt or you discover that someone in the other vehicle involved is hurt it is important not to move and to call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY. The safety of the drivers and passengers involved is more important than anything else following a crash.

Once you have made sure that everyone is safe or tended to those who are not it is crucial to keep your cool. If the accident was not your fault it is common to feel angry and act out of line. This type of action will not go well for any of the parties involved. Keep your cool and, whether it is your fault or not, never admit to the other individual that you are “sorry” or that it was your wrongdoing. Insurance cases can become complicated and you never want to start them with admitting fault right away.

Next, you must call the police and follow a report. They will need your license, registration, address and other information so have it all at hand if possible. Also, you must be sure to exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. Sometimes, individuals will try to flee the scene if they do not have insurance or the car isn’t theirs. Try to make sure the other driver(s) stays with you and gather as much information as you can before the police show up.

Finally, as time passes it is noteworthy that you may have sustained injuries that did not show symptoms directly following the accident. Go see a doctor and get yourself checked out for peace of mind and for the sake of your own personal health. Car accidents are scary and unforeseen events but, with the right tools and education, you can prepare yourself to handle them in the correct manner.

insurance claim

Do You Have ENOUGH Insurance?

When most people think about their car insurance coverage, they almost never think about how much coverage they have. It is absolutely critical to know how much insurance you actually have. Simply having “full coverage” just means you are covered for most incidents but it doesn’t answer the question as to how much you are covered.

Virginia only requires that someone carry $25,000 in liability coverage. This is protection for you if you were to cause an accident and injure someone. This means that you are covered but only up to $25,000. Their claim includes their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, injuries and possibly more. If that person’s claim is worth more than $25,000, you are personally responsible for the difference. We see many cases each month where someone’s medical bills alone are more than $25,000.

Virginia also only requires you to have $25,000 in uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. This is protection for you if you are hit by another driver who does not have insurance and you or someone in your family is injured. It will also cover you if the driver who caused the crash is insured but has less insurance coverage than you do.

The cost of having enough insurance to fully cover your injuries is literally just a few dollars a month. But it could make all the difference. Most car insurance carriers in Virginia will give you $50,000, $100,000, $250,000, $300,000, $500,000 or even up to $1,000,000 of both liability insurance and UM/UIM.

We recently represented a nice lady who broke her ankle in a car accident caused by someone else. She ended up having surgery to repair her ankle and unfortunately had to undergo another surgery a couple of months later. She had extensive physical therapy as well and her medical bills alone exceeded $80,000. She was out of work for three months and lost just over $10,000 in wages. Her life with her husband and young children was severely disrupted. Unfortunately, the individual that caused the wreck only had $25,000 in insurance coverage. Our client only had $25,000 in UM/UIM. As a result, for all of those medical bills, lost wages and pain and trouble she underwent, there was only $25,000 available to cover everything. This was a nightmare. Our client did not realize she only had $25,000 in UM/UIM coverage. She told us that had she known that she certainly would have made sure to have greater insurance limits. For instance, had she had just $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage, her case was certainly worth every penny of that and our office would have been able to collect that for her. That would have made a world of difference in covering the losses she sustained.

The lesson to be learned: check the amount of your insurance coverages and make sure you have enough. Do not just assume you have “full coverage.” As you can see from the story above, it is just as vital to have enough coverage. We recommend having at least $100,000 in liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. For a very small increase in your premium, it could very well make tens of thousands of dollars of difference if you or one of your family members is injured in an accident.

At Huffman & Huffman, we understand that insurance coverages can be confusing. That’s why every day we fight hard for our clients to make sure they receive all of the insurance coverage to which they are entitled.

If you have any questions about what coverages you have on your car insurance policy, please feel free to call our office and we are happy to explain everything to you. Hopefully, you will never be injured by another reckless driver, but if you are, and you have sufficient insurance coverage, it could make thousands of dollars of difference for you at a very minimal cost.