Category Archives: Safety First

Unfortunate Spike in Wisconsin Traffic Fatalities

According to statistics provided by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were 67 deaths on Wisconsin roads in September. The Wisconsin D.O.T. says that this is about a 22% increase from the same time period in 2014. Death rates on Wisconsin roads have been trending down as a whole, but this spike is definitely worthy of consideration.

As with every year, the weather in Wisconsin will turn during the colder months, and road conditions will carry even more of a risk. Icy and snowy conditions require more attentive driving, so it is important to refrain from texting or checking your cell phone while behind the wheel. Keep your eyes on the road at all times, drive at reasonable speeds, and remember to always wear your seatbelt.

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, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina and will meet with you at your home to discuss your case.

Be Visible to Drivers on Halloween

Happy-Halloween-Clipart-05Halloween is scary for reasons other than monsters, witches, and ghosts – it is one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians. Extra precautions should be taken to make sure trick-or-treaters are visible to drivers on Halloween. Take a look at the following tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe and visible to drivers:

• Stick together – A parent or guardian should always accompany younger children. Going with a larger group is a great idea because groups are easier to spot than individuals.

• Cross at the crosswalk – Remind children to stay off the road and to always use sidewalks and crosswalks when they are present and to look both ways before crossing the street.

• Slow down – Ask children to walk. Running and unexpected movements can cause accidents.

• Stay local – Go trick-or-treating in an area where you are familiar. Stay near well-lit houses and streets. Dark roads, houses, or alleys may make it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians.

• Check costumes – Make sure that masks don’t obstruct children’s vision and that the length of a costume isn’t too long to avoid tripping. Children should wear bright color costumes or add reflective materials or tape to their costumes to make them more visible. It is also a good idea to carry a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help drivers see you in the dark.

Motorists also need to take extra precautions when driving on Halloween by staying alert during trick-or-treating hours, driving slowly near children and pedestrians, and by staying on well-lit roads. If possible, motorists should avoid residential streets when it’s likely that there will be trick-or-treaters present.

What to Consider When Buying a Family Car

familycarFor many, buying a car can be a stressful experience. There are so many different options on the market, and families typically look for specific features. A family car needs to be able to accommodate everyone, as well as uphold safety expectations. Each family is different, but the following list is a great tool for you to use to identify what you are looking for in a family car to make your car search less stressful:

• Safety – This is the first and most important consideration. Before buying a car, do research by looking at crash-test ratings, airbag numbers and locations, seat belts, and other safety features. Check out http://www.safercar.gov/ for this type of information.

• Seating – It is important to consider how much seating space you already use, as well as how much you might need in the future. Perhaps your family will grow, or you will be helping out aging parents or grandparents. You may want to consider having extra space for kids’ friends, especially for carpooling or school sporting events.

• Accessibility – Assess how easy it is to get in and out of the car based on who will be riding in it regularly. Older adults may need a low step-in height and something to grab to get into the car. For smaller children, there will need to be enough room for a car seat, with space to spare to get the child in and out safely. For older children, you may want to see if they will be able to buckle their own seat belts and get into the car without bumping their head.

• Storage – The cargo area/trunk of the car should fit your specific needs. It may need to fit a stroller or luggage. You may want to make sure there will be enough room for family equipment, such as sporting goods, bikes, or skis. Cup holders and trays can also be an important storage aspect if children will be riding in the car.

• Simplicity –The car should make life easier, so a family may want a car that has simple controls, buttons, or touch-screens. Hands-free communication is also a feature that families look for to help eliminate distractions.

• Personal Preferences – There may be extras that you or your family would find helpful and worth paying for. For example, if you live in a colder climate, you may want remote start and heated seating. If you take long drives, you may want in-car entertainment and outlets or ports to charge devices.

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

Drowsy Driving Can Cause Serious Accidents

DrowsyMainMany of us know about the risks of drunk driving, but what about drowsy driving? This issue received more attention recently when actor/comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured, and his friend was killed, after they were hit by a fatigued semi-truck driver. Unfortunately the reality is that an accident similar to this could happen to anyone.

Drowsy driving significantly increases the risk of a crash because like an intoxicated driver, the driver is less alert, has slow reaction time, and cannot respond safely if a dangerous situation arises. Approximately 30% of road crashes involve fatigued drivers.

It is important for each of us to recognize if we, or someone driving us, is being affected by driver fatigue. The signs of driver fatigue include:
• Having trouble focusing or narrowing attention
• Head nodding
• Inability to keep your eyes open
• Zoning out or suddenly not being able to remember the past few minutes
• Constant yawning or rubbing of eyes
• Drifting in and out of lanes
• Slow reaction time

The main causes of driver fatigue are lack of quality sleep, not enough sleep, and driving at times of the day when you would normally be sleeping. A variety of factors can influence the likelihood that you will become fatigued, such as if you have been awake for an extended period of time, the time of day you are driving, your sleep the night before, your level of physical or mental activity, or certain medications you take. The people prone to be more fatigued while driving are insomniacs, young drivers, shift workers, commercial drivers, and business travelers.

If you find you are riding in a car with a drowsy driver, offer to take over driving or have the driver take a break. If you notice that you are becoming drowsy while driving, acknowledge it, allow others to drive, and don’t try to continue driving when you are not in the proper state. Once you can recognize the signs and take control of the situation, you can significantly reduce the risk of a crash.

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!

National Bike to School Day

It’s National Bike to School Day! This day focuses on safety, promotes physical activity and builds a sense of community for students.

It is important to make sure children know about bicycle safety, and it is important for drivers to always be cautious when driving near schools and children.

Find more information about National Bike to School Day here:

http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/about-us/newsroom/may-6-national-bike-school-day-schools-nationwide-celebrate-bikeable-active-commun

biketoschool

Trek Bicycle Recall

Trek Bicycle Corporation, of Waterloo, WI, has announced the recall of about 900,000 bicycles in the U.S. and 98,000 in Canada. The recall is for model years 2000 through 2015. The recall came about after a rider was paralyzed and two others were injured.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the bikes’ front wheels can suddenly stop or separate from the bicycle if the open quick release level on the front wheel hub comes into contact with the front disc brake.

Consumers should stop using the bicycles immediately and contact an authorized Trek retailer. To remedy this, Trek is offering free replacement quick-releases and a $20 coupon for cyclists who bring their bikes in for inspection and tune-ups.