Tag Archives: Avoiding Accidents

Stay Safe On Your Bicycle this Fall

Please remember to follow these cycling safety tips from Davis & Gelshenen:

  1. Have the correct bike for the terrain you’re  biking on.
  2. Make sure that when you purchase your bicycle, you get fitted appropriately.
  3. Buy the right gear.  This includes a helmet, front and back bike lights, bright or reflective clothing, comfortable shoes, bike gloves, and sunglasses.
  4. Check your bike’s tire pressure and brakes before every ride.
  5. Know the rules of the road and use turn signals.
  6. Never Drink and Ride.
  7. Never talk on a cell phone while riding.

If you have been in an accident on your bicycle as a result of someone’s negligence, contact Davis & Gelshenen for a free consultation at 866-421-2121 or email us at ddavis@dgattorneys.com.

Seatbelt Use Makes For Safer Roads In July

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports that increased seatbelt use has been a catalyst for fewer driving fatalities in Wisconsin.  This July, we have seen the second lowest crash fatalities for the month since 1944.

Dennis Hughes, the chief of safety programs for the Bureau of Transportation safety reported that “A major reason why traffic fatalities are low is that safety belt use has reached an all-time high in Wisconsin.”   According to Mr. Hughes, part of this trend can be related to the new seatbelt laws passed in Wisconsin last year allowing police officers to stop drivers for not wearing their seatbelt.  Approximately 79% of drivers in Wisconsin are buckling up.

Make sure to buckle up when you’re on the road.  Let’s keep Wisconsin safe!

Wisconsin Gets Tough on Drunk Driving

According to a 2009 study by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Wisconsin leads the nation in drunk driving incidents.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, reported that there were more than 44,000 drunk driving convictions in Wisconsin just last year.

2009 Wisconsin Act 100 , which took effect on July 1, 2010, is the Wisconsin Legislature’s latest attempt to eliminate drunk driving in Wisconsin.  The new law targets repeat offenders, and provides for more opportunities for treatment of alcohol abuse.

The new law also includes the following provisions:

  1. Ignition Interlocks will be required for all repeat offenders and first time offenders who have had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.15.  These devices make it impossible for cars to start if a person has any alcohol in their breath content.
  2. 4th time repeat offenses will now be treated as felonies if they are within 5 years of the previous offense.
  3. The new law allows judges to offer less jail time to offenders who choose and succeed in alcohol rehabilitation, thereby making treatment of alcoholism more accessible to Wisconsin’s long term drunk driving issues.
  4. 1st Offense DUIs will now be categorized as misdemeanors if a child under 16 years of age is present in the vehicle.
  5. Increased criminal charges and license reinstatement charges.

For more information on the problem of drunk driving in Wisconsin, check out the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s special report called Wasted in Wisconsin.  For additional information on the new OWI law, visit the State Bar’s Wisconsin Lawyer article by Andrew Mishlove & Lauren Stuckert.

Oprah Winfrey’s No Phone Zone Campaign

Distracted Driving has become a hot new topic with the advent of cell phone technology, most specifically with the dangers of texting while driving. Oprah Winfrey has joined forces with the U.S. Department of Transportation, GHSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FocusDriven, a non-profit group combating the problem, and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) to combat Destructive Driving.  Oprah has started a No Phone Zone campaign, serving as a Public Service Announcement to discuss the dangers of Distracted Driving.  Click here to pledge not to use your cell phone while driving and join Oprah’s No Phone Zone Campaign to encourage safe driving.

Summer Safety – Road Trips

Summer is the season for sunny getaways.  Every summer, people take to the road with friends and family.  Before you pack up the car and head out, here are some safety tips from Davis & Gelshenen to make sure your road trip goes along without a hitch:

1. Pack Light

SUV’s and minivans have a tendency to be top heavy.  While it may be tempting to strap some more gear to the top of your SUV, remember that added weight on top increases your vehicle’s chances of rolling over.  No matter what kind of vehicle you own, packing excessive weight to the rear or top of the vehicle impairs the steering and changes your stopping distance ability.

When loading up your car, make sure that your rear window visibility is not impaired. The driver’s ability to see out all windows is crucial to vehicle safety.  This safety step also prevents cargo from falling onto passengers in the event of a sudden stop or accident.

2. Vehicle Maintenance

Making sure that your vehicle is ready for the road is an important step in making sure you make it to your destination safely.  Don’t get on the road without making sure that your maintenance is up to date.

This includes checking your car battery, brake pads, oil and coolant.  Consult with your local automotive shop to clarify that your tires are in good condition and don’t leave home without a tire gauge, jack, and lug wrench in your vehicle.

3. Child Safety

See our earlier post about Child Safety Seating to get comprehensive and up to date information on making sure kids are safe on your trip.

4. Driver Safety

Distracted driving has become a hot issue with the expansion of cell phone technology.  Make sure that the driver on your Road Trip is not distracted with text messaging, phone conversations, and other portable electronic devices such as GPS, laptops, and video screens.

Passengers should take over the use of these gadgets.  If you are driving solo, pull over to the side of the road if it is imperative you use the device.

If neither of these are an option, make sure to use bluetooth enabled headsets to minimize hand-held electronic distraction.

5. Staying Alert

Driver fatigue is most commonly encountered on long road trips.  Fatigue can cause delayed reaction time, veering of your vehicle, and misjudging of traffic signals and situations.

Make sure to follow these helpful tips to prevent driver fatigue:

  • Schedule regular breaks throughout your trip. Try to take breaks every two hours on the road.
  • Don’t work a full day before taking your road trip.
  • Don’t drink alcohol the night before driving.
  • Share driving responsibilities.
  • Avoid driving during regular sleeping hours.

Following these simple steps will ensure you reach your destination safely.  Not having to worry about breakdowns or accidents will make your summer road trip exciting, fun, and stress free   Taking some time out for precautions is the best way to protect yourself and your family this summer.

(Photo Credit- Zachary Tewalthomas 2009)

Texting While Driving now Illegal in Wisconsin

Governor Jim Doyle recently signed a bill into law enforcing penalties to drivers who text while driving.  The fines are similar to those applied for inattentive driving, with fines ranging from $20.00 to $400.00.  The law takes effect December 1, 2010.

The texting-while-driving ban falls under the primary enforcement category, which means that police officers can ticket drivers for texting while driving, without any other provocation, such as traffic infractions.

“Texting While Driving” Ban Likely to Become Law In Wisconsin

Texting while driving may soon become illegal in Wisconsin. On January 19, 2010, the State Assembly passed a bill that would prohibit people from driving while sending text or e-mail messages unless they are operating authorized emergency vehicles. Penalties could be up to $400 for first offenses, and up to $800 for second or subsequent offenses. The push for this bill came after recent studies reported drivers are eight times more likely to have an accident while texting, making texting while driving as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

Driving while texting already has been legally banned in 18 states, and more are expected to pass similar laws to keep roads safer. Governor Jim Doyle has stated he would sign a Wisconsin ban passed by Legislature.

According to a recent study by Virginia Tech, 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involve some type of distraction. While texting is among the most deadly distractions to driving, other diversions are also dangerous.

• Drivers process 50 percent less visual information while talking on the phone, quadrupling the chance of crashing.

• Reaching for something in the car increases your chance of a crash by nine times.

• Looking away for two seconds doubles your risk of a collision.

So turn off your phone, pre-program your GPS, and snack before you get into your car. By eliminating these and other distractions, you’ll greatly improve your chance of arriving safely at your destination.

Safety First – Davis & Gelshenen Helps Out With the Rules of The Road

Who has the right of way?

Avoid accidents by understanding the rules of the road.

Most Americans drive with confidence and ego, sure that their interpretations of traffic rules are correct.  But the law is the law.  Understanding commonly misunderstood laws can save lives, even your own.

Generally, traffic signals or signs guide us in an intersection.  However, there are several instances where “right of way” is confusing.

The following rules apply when two cars reach an intersection at the same time:

  • If the vehicles are at right angles to each other, the vehicle on the right has the right of way.
  • If the vehicles are opposite each other, and one is turning left, that vehicle must wait until the other has passed.  If both are turning left, they may turn simultaneously.  Likewise if both are going straight.
  • At a “T” Intersection, vehicles on the road that goes straight have the right of way over those on the road that ends at the T.

Other right-of-way laws include the following:

  • When turning right on a red light, vehicles must come to a complete stop before proceeding, and must yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists within a crosswalk and to other traffic using the intersection.
  • Traffic facing a green arrow signal must also yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists within a crosswalk and to other traffic in the intersection.
  • Traffic moving within a roundabout has the right of way to those merging in.
  • Emergency vehicles with sirens on always have the right of way in an intersection.  Drivers en route must pull to the right and stop as soon as safely possible to let such emergency vehicles pass.
  • When merging with traffic, vehicles must enter at the same speed traffic is moving and should never stop at the end of the ramp.  Rather, merging vehicles should slow down on the ramp to allow room to speed up before merging.  Merging vehicles must yield to traffic already moving on the roadway.  It is illegal to cross the solid white line to merge early.