driving in bad weather rain

Bad Weather Accidents

Accidents are an unfortunate reality of a driver’s life and can exponentially increase when inclement weather appears. According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 22 percent of all accidents are weather-related. That’s over one million accidents each year! Read over these tips and tricks to stay safe while on the road:

  • Slow down: Slow down and pay extra attention to those around you. Stay in your lane, and give yourself extra space. Accelerate and decelerate slowly, and try to avoid coming to full or sudden stops.
  • Reduce distractions: Try to remove as much noise as possible by turning the radio off, ending phone calls, and putting your GPS on silent. Put away any food or drink that would require you taking either hand off the steering wheel.
  • Watch other drivers: While you may drive safely, others may not. If a driver is tailgating you or driving erratically, move away from the driver. Move away from cars that change lanes without signaling, are not using headlights or other precautions, or accelerate or decelerate quickly.
  • Be cautious: When driving, keep a close eye out for potential problems. Watch out for black ice, and approach bridges slowly. Obey all road signs, permanent or otherwise. Get off the road if conditions become too bad and remain in your vehicle until it is safe to drive.
  • Stay calm: If your car begins to skid or hydroplane, do not panic. Try to steer straight and look for an open space to drive toward—do not brake or accelerate. If other cars begin to skid or hydroplane, try to avoid them and provide as much space as possible.
  • Use common sense: Before driving, clear ice and snow from the vehicle. Use the windshield wipers, headlights, and fog lamps while driving. High-beams can also be used in emergencies, but be aware that other drivers’ visibility could be impacted.
  • Perform regular vehicle maintenance: Make sure to have your vehicle inspected annually. Regularly replace windshield wipers, clean headlight covers, and check your tires. Keep an emergency kit, spare tire, and small tool kit in your car for extra security.

Though you can’t avoid driving in inclement weather entirely, you can stay safe by using these tips when it begins to rain or snow. If you or someone you know is involved in an accident, call the Brothers in Law, 757-319-4085.

Boy mountain biking on path in woods

How Not to be Hit by a Car Part II

Sharing the road with cars can be an easy and pleasant experience, but it also carries risk. When accidents occur, we’re here to guide and support you. In Part II of our bicycle safety series, we’re equipping you with more tips to avoid being hit and how to be a safe and savvy cyclist.

6. The Right Hook, Pt. 1

Problem: You’re pedaling fast, but what’s fast for you is as slow as molasses in January to the driver behind you. He speeds around you to make a right-hand turn, not realizing you’re going fast enough to be cut off and cause a collision.

  • Solution: Stay off the sidewalk and give space between you and the curb. Use your mirror before you reach an intersection because once you reach it, you’ll have to focus on what’s in front of you.

7. The Right Hook, Pt. 2

Problem: You’re stuck behind Driver McSlowface and try to speed around him to the right. But McSlowface wants to make a right turn and winds up giving you and your bike a hug hello.

  • Solution: Never pass on the right. If you absolutely must pass, do so on the left. Glance behind you to make sure you’re clear to turn right if you need to.

 

8.) The Left Cross

Problem: Similar to #1’s Right Cross, a car collides with you or cuts you off while it’s making a left turn.

  • Solution: Stay off the sidewalk and make yourself as visible as possible with a headlight, reflectors, and bright clothing even in the daytime.

 

9.) The Rear End, Pt. 1

Problem: Roadkill, debris, potholes, and other obstacles mean you might have to swerve to avoid them. In this scenario, that’s exactly what you do—but you swerve right into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

  • Solution: Look behind you and stay out of the parking lane. Use your mirror and use your arm to signal that you’re moving over. But look behind you first—a fast-moving car can take your arm out if you’re not careful.

10. The Rear End, Pt. 2

Problem: The most feared (but least common) of bike-vehicle incidents, you get a simple but solid hit from behind.

  • Solution: Use a rear blinking light and make sure you’re highly visible. When possible, use wide streets with minimal traffic. Use your mirror and stay away from the curb.

Just remember, if you or a loved one are the victims of an accident, make sure you call The Brothers in Law so we can get you what you deserve, 757-319-4085.

cyclists on the road

How Not to Get Hit by a Car Part I

A great source of exercise and an effective mode of transportation, riding a bike can be a highly enjoyable experience. But for all its simplicity, it’s not without its risks. Obstacles and unaware drivers can mean the difference between getting to your destination or eating a Jell-O cup in a hospital bed. To avoid that dreaded fate, we’re sharing a two-part series on how to be a safe and savvy cyclist as you share the road. If you encounter any of these scenarios, we’re here to help you every pedal of the way.

1. The Right Cross

Problem: You’re taking a leisurely ride down the street when suddenly a car T-bones into you from the right side of an intersection.

  • Solution: Make yourself visible with headlight and reflective gear at all times, and ALWAYS wear a helmet. Use spatial awareness and stay away from the curb.

2. The Door Prize

Problem: Congratulations! You’ve just won a one-way ticket to Splatsville courtesy of a driver’s side car door swung open right in front of you.

  • Solution: Simply slow down and stay to the left side of the lane.

3. The Crosswalk Slam

Problem: You’re riding on the sidewalk and reach the crosswalk. All clear, so you cross. Just as you’re about to reach the other side, a right-turning car slams into you.

  • Solution: Don’t ride on the sidewalk! It’s only for pedestrians and cracks that break mama’s back. See also – helmet and headlight.

4.) The Wrong-Way Wreck

You’re casually riding on the left side of the street, probably thinking about food or what show to binge next. Out of nowhere, BAM! A car turns right—onto the same side of the street as you are—not seeing you before paying an up-close and personal visit.

  • Solution: Don’t ride on the left side! Drivers turning right focus on traffic coming from their left. Plus, it’s illegal. Plus plus, it can mean less reaction time and a harder collision because relative speed between you and the car is much higher.

5. The Red Light of Doom

Problem: Like a good citizen, you stop to wait at the red light. The car next to you is also waiting, but what you don’t know is that the driver can’t see you. The light turns green and as you start forward, the car turns right into you.

  • Solution: Don’t stop in a blind spot; choose the front or the back of the vehicle. If you stop in front, you’re technically in the car’s way, so be ready to move when the light goes green. If you stop behind, wait for the car in front to turn before proceeding.

Stay tuned for Part II of our bicycle safety series!

Father buckling son into car seat

How Car Seat History Still Affects You

Summer has arrived, and a familiar itch is arising—but it’s not from mosquitoes. It’s the travel bug, and families across the country are preparing for vacations and road trips. If you’re traveling with infants or children, an important part of these preparations is car seats. Before you buckle up, review this history of car seat safety.

A (brief) history of car seat safety

  • Car seats: Car seats have been used since the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until 1962 that seat belts were integrated into the design, courtesy of Leonard Rivkin and Jean Ames. Car companies soon released their own seats, and General Motors became the first to offer different designs for infants and children.
  • Laws and regulations: The first car seat and child safety regulation were passed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1971. However, it wasn’t until 1985 that all states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, passed child passenger safety laws. Laws now vary by state and must be followed even if travelers are just passing through. Check your state laws, and make sure to follow all guidelines.
  • Current statistics: According to a recent study from the NHTSA, 94 percent of parents believe their child’s car seat is installed properly. In reality, the majority of parents install the car seats improperly. Due in part to this, motor vehicle injury is currently a leading cause of death among infant and children. Some of the most common mistakes with car seats are putting a child in a forward-facing seat too soon, having loose harness straps, and a lack of continual inspections or ignoring expiration dates.
  • Safety tips: To make sure your car seat is as safe as possible, closely follow car seat installation instructions and consider having a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician inspect it. Instructions and technician locations can both be found at nhtsa.gov. Remember to also register your car seat with the company to get recall alerts. Lastly, consider accessories and toys that will make traveling easier, but not pose a threat in the event of an accident (soft pillows and cloth toys are recommended).

Help keep your family safe and remember these tips. In the event that you or someone you know becomes a victim of an accident, call the Brothers in Law, 757-319-4085.

Steering Clear of Summer Pedestrians

With the rise in people outside during the summer months, it is important to be extra cautious when driving. Pedestrian accidents are a very serious matter, which usually results in severe injuries.

How to be Safe Around Pedestrians

It is important to always remember that you can encounter pedestrians anywhere, at any time, not just at crosswalks. Being constantly aware of your surroundings is very important. Never assume that a pedestrian sees or hears you coming and always assume that the pedestrian is not aware of your presence. Always stop to let pedestrians cross – they may be acting recklessly by crossing at the wrong location, but this doesn’t change the fact that you have to stop or slow down to let them go.

Be especially attentive when driving through a neighborhood or school zone where children may be playing. Children are often times very unaware of certain traffic rules and are easily distracted. Go slow and be prepared for children acting in erratic ways.

Do not text and drive or drink and drive. These two activities diminish driver awareness drastically. It only takes a single second of not looking at the road for a pedestrian to cross into your way. You are putting the people in danger when you decide to drive when your awareness is not 100%.

Keep these simple tips in mind and help make the streets a safer place, whether you’re at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront or Town Point Park in Norfolk. These accidents are easily avoidable. Join us in making the summer of 2014 an accident-free one!