Category Archives: Safe Driving

teen driver

Breaking Down Seatbelt Myths

Since the first laws were put on the books in the 1970s, seatbelts have been saving lives around the world. We’ve broken down some of the most common seatbelt myths to help keep you safe on the road.

Myth #1: Seatbelts will trap you if you’re involved in a crash.

Fact: This myth is often associated with fire- and water-related accidents, which account for less than one-half of one percent of all crashes. Wearing your seat belt can actually prevent you from being knocked unconscious, which can drastically increase your chances of escaping your vehicle after an accident.

Myth #2: My seat belt will hurt me in a crash.

Fact: Properly worn seat belts rarely cause injuries. If they do, they’re usually surface bruises and are generally less severe than they would have been without any belt. Without your seat belt, you can be thrown out of the vehicle and severely injured. It is true that sometimes the force of a crash is so great that nothing could have prevented injuries. Studies have consistently shown that injuries in most serious crashes would have been much more severe had seat belts not been worn.

Myth #3: Seatbelts aren’t needed for short car rides.

Fact: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most traffic-related deaths happen within 25 miles from home and at speeds less than 40 mph.

Myth #4: My airbags will keep me safe if I’m not wearing my seatbelt.

Fact: Airbags are designed to protect a buckled passenger, not an unbuckled one. They provide added protection in frontal crashes, but if you’re not wearing your seatbelt you can actually slide under them, colliding with your dashboard or windshield. Airbags also won’t help in side- or rear-impact or rollover crashes.

Myth #5: Wearing just my lap belt is enough protection.

Fact: The shoulder belt helps keep the upper body in place during a crash. Without the protection of the shoulder belt, the upper body—including the head—may strike whatever is in front of it (the back of the front seat or vehicle dashboard depending on where you are sitting), potentially causing significant injuries.

Sources: Geico and DMV.

school bus picking up kids

Stay Safe Around School Buses

The first day of school is almost here! We’re sure many of you saw the buses practicing their routes last week in preparation for the 2018-19 school year. We have a question though: Are you ready to share the road with buses again? Do you know the right way to share the road with school buses?

Review these key tips and points, courtesy of esurance, and keep the road safe for everyone.

Driving safely near moving school buses

If you see a school bus in your lane or coming towards you, pay close attention to what it’s doing. Give the bus extra space and be prepared to stop suddenly as it loads or unloads its cargo (kids).

Because they’re walking on or near the road, kids are in some danger when they get on or off buses. It’s up to the cars around them to keep a close watch and make sure the coast is clear before continuing on.

With that in mind, here are some cardinal rules to follow:

  • School buses are required to stop at railroad crossings, so be ready to hit the brakes if you’re behind one
  • School buses travel at slower speeds, so expect to slow down and only pass when the bus driver signals you to go by
  • Pay attention to any stop signs or signals on the bus

Safety around stopped school buses

Because school buses are so big, your visibility around them is limited. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2003 to 2012, 30 percent of school-age pedestrians that died in school transportation-related crashes (PDF) were struck by another vehicle on the road. In order to protect children, states have enacted stopping laws. These laws dictate when you must stop your vehicle for a school bus as well as the severity of penalties you face for any violation. The rule of thumb: the second you see the bus lights flashing and the stop sign pop out, be ready to stop.

senior drivers and how to handle

Safety and Senior Drivers

Driving can be a tricky area when advanced age becomes a factor. On the one hand, our bodies naturally change over time, and these changes must be taken into consideration. On the other hand, studies have also proven that performance is a better indicator of driving ability than age. So how can you navigate your concern for senior drivers? Read over the list below, and decide what options may be best for your situation.

Options for Senior Drivers

Observe the driver Consider what first made you concerned about a senior driver, and whether it was a personal experience or word of mouth. Observe the driver over a period of time, both on and off the road. Examine the level of fitness or dependence they exhibit. Are they acting “normal” or has their behavior changed in some way?

Ask for opinions The easiest way to gauge the ability of a driver is to ask for the opinions of friends, family, and even a trusted medical professional. Would it be safe for this person to have passengers, especially children, in their vehicle? You can also consider asking for the personal opinion of the senior driver, and if they feel in control about driving.

Complete an assessment If worries about physical or mental health arise, suggest a health assessment. Eyesight, motor control, memory, and reaction times can all be tested. It is also beneficial to ask the person how they feel about driving. If they’re anxious, scared, or have otherwise negative feelings about driving, it may be time for a change.

Use available resources There are tons of resources available for senior drivers. AAA offers senior driving assessment tools, including quizzes and simulations. Area Agencies on Aging is a national list of transportation options. The Virginia GrandDriver program is a support and resource center for senior drivers. Do some research, and see what resources are best for you.

Report the driver If the driver is a danger to themselves or others, and no other options are viable, consider reporting the driver and taking their keys, if possible. Never attempt to engage a senior driver or any other vehicle on the road. For more immediate results, call the police. To begin an investigation, contact your local DMV and make a confidential report.

Safety on the road doesn’t have an age limit. Review this list of options and decide if a conversation about safety and senior drivers is appropriate, or if more serious actions need to be taken. Remember that drivers 75 and older must report to the DMV to have their license renewed. If you or a senior driver you know is involved in an accident, call the Brothers in Law, 757-319-4085.

holiday drunk driving

How to Handle a Drunk Driver

What should you do when faced with a drunk driver on the road? What about when a friend or family member wants to drive after having a few too many? According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the chances of being involved in an alcohol-related crash are one in six. Read over some tips below on how to handle drunk drivers and help reduce the number of crashes.

If you’re not on the road

  • Take the keys The easiest way to prevent drunk driving is to take the car out of the equation. If possible, take the vehicle keys from anyone who is under the influence. Provide a safe space for people to eat, sleep, and sober up.
  • Call a ride If you are not able to take their keys or provide a safe space, offer to drive them to their home or somewhere else where they can sober up. You can also offer to call a taxi, Uber, or another ride-sharing service.
  • Call the police If you can’t prevent a person from driving drunk, call the police. Give them the location of the driver and any other information you can remember, such as a vehicle description, license plate number, or driver description. Do not try to follow the driver in your own vehicle or engage them on the road.

If you’re on the road

  • Do not engage The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t attempt to communicate with, stop, or otherwise interact with the drunk driver. Keep yourself and any passengers safe before taking steps to alert the police.
  • Call the police Contact the police and tell them that you suspect a driver is drunk. Signs of this include repeatedly swerving, speeding up and slowing down intermittently, and erratic driving. Give the police the current location of the driver.
  • Collect more information If it won’t jeopardize your or anyone else’s safety, you can also collect more information. Vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers, and dashboard recordings are all helpful. If you have a passenger with you, ask them to take pictures or video. Hand over any evidence to the police.

Drunk driving is a serious safety concern for everyone involved, and Virginia prides itself on having some of the strictest impaired driving laws in the nation. Hopefully, some of these tips can help you if you’re faced with a situation involving a drunk driver. Remember to always stay safe, on or off the road. If you or someone you know is involved in an alcohol-related crash, call the Brothers in Law, 757-319-4085.

pedestrian safety

Pedestrian Safety Tips to Follow this Summer

There were 5,987 pedestrian fatalities in 2016. Many of these deaths could have been avoided if proper safety precautions were taken. Here are some pedestrian safety tips to keep you safe this summer in high traffic areas, such as the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

Tips to Stay Safe

Increase your visibility. According to NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 32 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur between 8:00 pm and 11:59 pm. It is important to make yourself visible to drivers, especially at night and during inclement weather. Make sure to wear bright or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight to illuminate your path.

Follow traffic rules. Look for traffic signs or signals and follow them. Never assume a driver will give you the right of way.

Walk in safe places. Always use crosswalks or street corners to cross the street, most of the time they are well lit at night. Walk on sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks available, walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. Avoid jaywalking and walking on the highway.

 Be aware of your surroundings. Always be sure to look both ways before crossing the street. Limit your distractions by staying off your phone and taking out your headphones. Sometimes you can hear traffic before you can see it!

 Be defensive. Stay alert and anticipate what drivers might do. Give drivers extra time to stop in poor weather. Try to make eye contact with stopped drivers, just because you see them doesn’t always mean they see you!

 Avoid alcohol and drug use. In 2014, 33 percent of the pedestrians killed in accidents had a blood alcohol content above the legal driving limit. Drugs and alcohol impair your judgment and physical reflexes, avoid using them when walking on busy streets.

Injuries to pedestrians from car related accidents can be serious or even fatal. If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian-car accident, call the Brothers in Law, 757-319-4085.