Category Archives: Rules of the Road

Attorney Dan Davis Obtains $100,000 Insurance Limits Settlement After Previous $3,000 “Final Offer”

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In this Racine, Wisconsin case, our client sustained injury after being struck in the rear by the other driver.  The insurance company tried to argue that the impact could not have caused the injuries and made a “final offer” of $3,000.  Attorney Dan Davis fought for the client and did not relent until the insurance company offered the full limits of the insurance policy, $100,000.  At Davis & Gelshenen LLP we don’t just accept the insurance company “final offer;”  we fight for our clients to obtain fair and reasonable results.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, call Davis & Gelshenen LLP at 1-866-427-2121 for a free initial consultation with one of our Experienced, Trusted, and Recommended Personal Injury Attorneys. Davis & Gelshenen LLP handles cases throughout Wisconsin and Illinois and will meet with you at your home to discuss your case.

Stay Safe on the Roads this Winter

winterdrivingWith the beautiful summer months behind us, winter is quickly approaching. Not surprisingly, car crashes drastically increase during the winter months (November-February) compared to the summer months. By following these simple winter driving tips, you can help to make roads safer and possibly save yourself from a costly accident.

• Clear snow and ice from windows and lights – It is important to make sure you can clearly see the roads to avoid ice and snow. Keeping your headlights and taillights clear will assure that others can see you and help to avoid being hit.

• Leave plenty of room for stopping – Roads get icy and slippery during the winter months, so it is important to give yourself plenty of room to stop in case of slick conditions.

• Check the current road conditions – Check the weather to see how the road conditions are near you. If they are very poor, avoid going out unless absolutely necessary.

• Pay attention – Look out for patches of ice and snow as they can be slippery and cause you to go off the road. Keep off of your cell phone and watch for others to make sure they are not braking quickly or pulling out in front of you.

• Slow down – Driving slower than usual can help to avoid going off the road on black ice or on slick snow.

In addition, remember to pack warm clothing, blankets, food, and water in your car in case of an emergency. Having a fully charged cell phone is also important, so that you can call for help if you need to. By following these simple guidelines, you can help to keep roads safer this winter.

Holiday Travel Driving Tips

holidaydrivingtrafficThe holiday season (from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day) is typically the busiest travel time of the year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, during the Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (50 miles or more) increases by about 54 percent. During the Christmas/New Year’s travel period, the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number during the rest of the year. While airports, bus stations, and trains get major traffic during the holidays, most long-distance holiday travel is done by personal vehicle.

Traveling with more cars on the road can make your travel experience stressful. If you plan on driving somewhere during the holidays, take a look at our holiday travel driving tips to make your trip a little easier:

• Get your car examined – Before driving a long distance, it is a good idea to get your car looked at, especially if you will be driving in winter conditions. Getting a quick tune-up can give you peace of mind and help you to avoid unfortunate car troubles.

• Be prepared for a change in course – Before you depart, familiarize yourself with your travel route and take a look at what the weather will be like. Be aware of and prepared for detours, construction, road closings, and traffic, which could increase your travel time. In heavy traffic areas, tune in to a local radio station to find out about delays. By staying flexible with your plans, you can decrease the stress and anxiety that might come with traveling.

• Stay alert and make frequent stops – Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue and decreased alertness. It is important to stay hydrated, pack food, and make regular stops. With more traffic, and possibly winter conditions, driving can be exhausting. Take time to stop, stretch, get fresh air, and take bathroom breaks. Also, fill up with gas whenever you are able to. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you’ll be thankful that you have gas in your tank when you are stuck in traffic.

• Pack a safety kit – Pack safety essentials in your car, such as a cell phone, car charger, rope, jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, etc.

• Remember basic car safety – Always wear your seat-belt, use extra caution in work zones, and don’t follow other vehicles too closely.

• Stay in touch – Let someone know your destination, route, and expected arrival time, so that they can contact you if something arises.

Two Wisconsin Deaths Bring the Total Bicycle Fatalities to Highest Since ’90s

black bikeA Milwaukee bicyclist recently died after being hit by a motor vehicle, bringing the total Wisconsin bicycle fatalities to 15 for the year. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the number of bicycle fatalities this year is the highest annual total since 1999, when 18 deaths were recorded.

The total number of bicycle fatalities this year is an alarming difference from last year, when only 4 bicycle fatalities were recorded in Wisconsin. Although the circumstances and responsibility vary with each accident, about 60% of adult bicycle crashes are the result of motorist error, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The most common motorist error is making a left turn across the path of an oncoming bicycle. The most common error among bicyclists is riding the wrong way in traffic. To decrease the amount of bicycle crashes and fatalities, everyone on the road must follow the rules of the road, stay alert, and always be aware of their surroundings.

Bicycle Safety Reminders

black bikeDuring summer months, more people opt to use bicycles for transportation. Some bike to work, while others bike for recreation. No matter how long you have biked, why you bike, or where you bike, it is important to brush up on bicycle safety.
• Always wear a properly fitted helmet
• Check your equipment – Use the correct bike for the terrain, check tire pressure and brakes, and make sure your seat is at a proper height.
• Make yourself visible – Wear bright or reflective clothing, add lights and reflective tape to your bike, and use a bell or horn to alert pedestrians and drivers if you are passing nearby.
• Follow the rules of the road – Use turn signals, go with the traffic flow, obey traffic laws, yield to traffic appropriately, stay alert, and always look before turning or moving out of the bike lane.
• Avoid road hazards – Lookout for potholes, broken glass, gravel, storm grates, puddles, railroad tracks, etc.
• Avoid distractions – Do not talk or text on a phone while riding a bike, do not drink and ride, and always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars.
• Dress appropriately – Always wear comfortable shoes. Wear sunglasses, bike gloves, rain gear, etc. based on the weather conditions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides in-depth tips and information for bicyclists. Find additional resources here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles

Marijuana Exceeding Alcohol Use in Drivers

drivingForbes.com recently published an article titled “More Drivers Now Stoned Than Drunk, Survey Says.” The article discusses the fact that operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana or prescription drugs is quickly exceeding drunk driving the United States.

Stricter drunk-driving laws and focused effort has helped decrease the number of drivers with alcohol in their system, as well as decreasing the amount of traffic-related deaths. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent roadside survey of alcohol and drug use by drivers has found that one in four drivers tested positive for a drug in their system that could potentially influence their safety while driving.

Forbes.com outlines the survey in their article. It was conducted in Virginia over a 20 month period. It surveyed over 3,000 drivers who were involved in accidents, as well as a control group of 6,000 who drove safely. The survey found that the number of drivers who had marijuana in their systems jumped by nearly 50 percent since 2007. These results are likely due to the growing number of states with legalization or relaxed enforcement of marijuana laws. The survey also found that the amount of drivers with alcohol in their system on weekend nights was about 8 percent, which is significantly lower than previous years.

With some information still unknown, experts in the U.S. encourage continued support for reduced drunk driving. However, the subject of marijuana use and driving is something that is likely to be in the news more often as more states are gaining supporters for legalized medical and recreational marijuana.

See the original article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2015/02/10/more-drivers-now-stoned-than-drunk-survey-says/2/

Ohio’s Move Over Law

PrintWe have all witnessed when someone is pulled over on the side of the road, and passing cars continue to drive past without switching lanes. While this may seem harmless at the time, it can produce dangerous results. Ohio implemented the Move Over law in 2004, but since then, the law has been revised and was expanded in December 2013. The Move Over law requires drivers to move to a different lane when passing any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights that is stopped or parked on the roadside. The law applies to all interstates and state highways throughout Ohio. It is designed to protect everyone who works on Ohio roads and everyone who travels on them.

The law applies to every vehicle, including road construction, maintenance, and utility crews on the roadside. Across the United States, hundreds of people are injured or killed every year by being struck by a vehicle after pulling onto the side of a road or highway. According to the Move Over Law website, on average, these “struck-by” accidents kill one tow-truck driver every six days, 23 highway workers every month, one law enforcement official every month, and five firefighters every year. Most work zone crash fatalities are the motorists. These accidents can be avoided by following this law, obeying the speed limit, and using extra caution in any work zone areas.

The state understands that sometimes it may not be safe or possible to change lanes due to traffic, weather conditions, or lane restrictions. In those situations, you must slow down, drive cautiously, and be prepared to stop. Officials will give you a ticket if you do not comply with the Move Over law. The law can be enforced by any level of officer, including state highway patrols, local police, and county deputies. It is considered a misdemeanor, and violators can be fined anywhere from $300 to $1,000 based on the violation.

If you do not have a law like this in your state, try following similar rules. These kinds of accidents can certainly be avoided if the right precautions are taken. For more information about Ohio’s Move Over law, visit MoveOver.Ohio.Gov.

Be a Smart Pedestrian – Know How to Stay Safe!

pedestrianAs the seasons shift into spring and summer, people spend more time walking outside and enjoying the weather. While it is an exciting time, it is also a more vulnerable time for pedestrians. According to safekids.org, unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S. for children ages 5 to 19. However, teens are at the greatest risk with a death rate twice that of younger children and account for half of all child pedestrian deaths.
Motorists are responsible for looking out for pedestrians, but it is also important for pedestrians to be vigilant and take precautions to stay safe! We’ve gathered some tips to help you be a smart, safe pedestrian:

• Be alert! Put down your electronic devices! Any distractions prevent you from using all of your senses, which could result in an accident. Always look left, right, and left again when crossing the street.

• Always use sidewalks and paths when they are present. If there is not a sidewalk on a street, walk facing traffic on the edge of the road and stay as far from the travel lane as possible. Cross at street corners and designated crosswalks. Use pedestrian push buttons and follow traffic and pedestrian signals.

• Talk to children about how to be safe while walking. Instruct them to always listen to crossing guards at their school. Children under 10 should be accompanied in parking lots and streets.

• Make eye contact with drivers and watch for cars that are turning at intersections.

• Watch for cars or trucks backing out of parking lots, driveways, and alleyways.

• Wear reflective, bright colored clothing or carry a flashlight during nighttime or bad weather.

• Be ready! Pedestrians have more at stake than motorists, so you should be prepared in case an unexpected event happens.

While some of these simple tips may seem obvious, many pedestrians are guilty of not following them. It is important to review the basics, especially with children, because these everyday actions are vital to your safety. Stay safe and enjoy the nice weather!

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month!

With the increasing temperatures, there is also an increase of motorcyclists on our roads and highways. Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation due to their low initial cost, recreational use, and good fuel efficiency. However, motorcycle fatalities make up approximately 11 percent of all highway fatalities each year, which is why The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to use Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to remind all motorists to ride safely and smartly.

Share The Road – All motorists should safely share the road with motorcycles. It’s important to be extra alert to keep motorcyclists safe. Always check your blind spots and keep a greater distance when driving behind a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists are also reminded to make themselves visible to other motorists and be cautious when on busy roads or highways.

Ride Sober – According to the NHTSA, statistics show that the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads. It is important that motorcycle riders ride smart and sober.

Wear a Helmet –In the event of a crash, a motorcycle does not provide much protection, so it is important to protect what you can by wearing a helmet. Drivers and passengers should always wear helmets.

Be Prepared – Driving a car and driving a motorcycle involve different skills and knowledge, so it is important to have a proper license and a good amount of experience if you will be operating a motorcycle. Also, make sure your motorcycle is properly maintained so that it is safe to ride.

motorcyclesafety

Police Blotter: Stopping Distance and Crash Prevention

The City of Madison Police Department recently posted the following report about speeding, stopping distance, and crash prevention:

We have all seen that vehicle racing down the road that just makes us shake our heads at how fast they are going, knowing that it is extremely unsafe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), an average of 1,000 Americans are involved in fatal car accidents each month in which speed is the leading factor. Speeding is the third leading cause of all traffic accidents, yet about two thirds of drivers admit to driving above the posted speed limit on a regular basis (Parker-Poke, 2008).

When many people think about speeding, their main concern is usually about getting caught by the police and having to pay a ticket. In addition to paying the ticket, your insurance is likely to increase, as well. Besides tickets, speeding is also going to cost you more at the gas pump. The NHTSA tells us that fuel consumption significantly increases as a car goes above 45 mph. A car or small truck will use about 50 percent more fuel traveling at a speed of 75 mph than 55 mph.

Even though there are legal risks and increased finances, the greatest risk of speeding is to the driver’s safety and everyone else in the car or on the road. As a driver increases their speed, they are also increasing the amount of time and distance it would take them to come to a safe stop. A person would logically deduce that if your speed has doubled, then so has your stopping distance. On the contrary, if your speed increases from 30 mph to 60 mph, the distance needed to come to a safe stop is now four times greater. You go from needing 75 feet to stop to 240 feet to stop. Calculated into these stopping distances is not just the amount of time the car takes to come to a stop but also thinking distance. This is the amount of time it takes the brain to register brake lights and move their foot to the brake pedal.

Stopping distances graphThe stopping distances illustrated in the graph above represent those distances under ideal road conditions. This means that when roads are icy or wet, those distances will increase even more. Another factor in stopping distances is your reaction time, which goes hand-in-hand with your attentiveness while driving. The reaction time for an attentive driver is just under 1 second, but distracted drivers can take up to 3½ seconds to react. Distracted driving, whether due to using a cell phone or just changing a radio station, can greatly increase your reaction time and increase your stopping distance. Another factor in your stopping distances is the size of your vehicle. Drivers with larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks must also take into account that their stopping distances are larger because it takes more time for a heavier object to decrease its speed.

Speed limits are calculated with stopping distance in mind and are often based on the area in which one is driving. When you exceed the speed limit, you’re not just at risk for getting pulled over, you are also putting yourself and everyone around at a greater risk of being in an accident. Speed enforcement is about traffic safety for all drivers on the road.

Authored by Britni Sutton on the City of Madison Police Department Blog. Nov. 14, 2014. See original post here.