Spring has finally arrived and warm weather is just around the corner. Despite all of our excitement, our inherent desire to have fun and put an end to winter hibernation also increases our risk for harm. According to several national research sources, springtime is often the season for the majority of many personal injury incidents. Below are a few of the major hazards to be aware of and tips to keep you safe.
1) Wear and Tear on the Roads…And Your Car
Town and State maintenance crews work hard at keeping our roads as clear as possible throughout the winter. While we didn’t have a lot of snow this year, potholes, gouges and a lot of debris was created by snowplows, salt and sand spreaders, as well as ice forming in the existing cracks of asphalt and pavement. A driver who is even mildly distracted could easily hit a pothole, causing him or her to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in an accident.
TIPS: If you see a pothole, you should call your local Department of Public Works or State Department of Transportation to report it. At the end of the winter, it is always a good idea to check your own tires for wear and tear, as worn tires lead to blowouts, which can be extremely dangerous on main roads and highways. As always, drive defensively and remain keenly aware of your surroundings at all times, especially other cars, trucks and motorcycles traveling around you.
2) Pedestrian Accidents.
Warm weather draws crowds, making streets busier, especially when children and college students are let out of school for spring break. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, each year nearly 5,000 pedestrians die in motor vehicle related accidents in the U.S. and more than 7,000 are injured, sometimes severely.
TIPS: It is a driver’s responsibility to be extra cautious in high traffic pedestrian areas. In the area of personal injury law, this responsibility is called “duty of reasonable care” or “due care.” However, pedestrians must also remain vigilant and abide by pedestrian laws. The pedestrian may be at fault if he/ she was jaywalking at the time of the accident, was walking in areas where pedestrian traffic is prohibited, opened their car doors roadside without checking for oncoming traffic, or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Always drive slowly in areas of high pedestrian traffic and obey traffic laws.
3) Motorcycle Accidents.
Motorcycles are particularly vulnerable in the spring. Leftover sand and gravel on the road are major hazards and result in hundreds of accidents each year. Skilled bikers can be incredibly safe drivers, often times more so than vehicle drivers, who are distracted by their phones, radio and other passengers. One of the most common causes of a motorcycle accident is a car or truck’s failure to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist. This is particularly the case at intersections when the vehicle is making a left turn in the face of an oncoming motorcycle.
TIPS: Always keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of you. Drivers may have a tough time seeing motorcyclists. As such, riders must be aware of their lack of visibility and avoid blind spots. It is also important that riders wear reflective clothing so that they can be seen easier at night. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, insurance companies will likely try to place the blame on you, so it is important that you have an experienced motorcycle personal injury attorney who knows and will protect your rights.
4. Party Time an Party “Fails”
One of the most obvious reasons for the rise in personal injuries during the spring is the need for fun. This is particularly true amongst teens and young adults. Each year, there is a staggering level of DUI and intoxication-related accidents in the spring, many of them alcohol-related.
TIPS: Have fun but do not over-indulge. Make sure you have food in your stomach and drink plenty of water. ALWAYS designate a sober driver and be aware of other impaired drivers or hazards on the road. A DUI and/or a Refusal charge is costly in more ways than one – better to spend your money on some spring fun.
No matter what you have planned this spring, whether it’s a road trip, motorcycle ride or outdoor BBQ, we at Sheeley Law want you to stay safe. If you or a loved one are injured in an accident or charged with a criminal offense, you need strong results-oriented representation. Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Attorney Ann Sheeley has more than 25 years of experience and a proven track record of protecting her clients’ rights and helping them obtain maximum compensation for their injuries, losses and pain and suffering. For more information or a free consultation, contact Rhode Island Attorney Ann Sheeley at 401-619-5555.