Tag Archives: Tips

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.

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.

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!

When and How to Ask a Senior to Stop Driving

elderly-driver_2164765bIf you have ever been in the position of asking an elderly loved one to stop driving, you know how emotionally tolling it can be for everyone involved. Many seniors tend to be stubborn and reluctant to give up driving. They may continue to drive when it is no longer safe, and put themselves and others at risk, simply because they want to remain mobile and independent.

As people age, their physical, cognitive, and visual abilities decline, and medications associated with aging can impair driving ability. Even in the most ideal driving conditions, older drivers are more susceptible to injury and medical complications due to vision impairment, slow reaction time, and lost focus. According to the CDC, per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting between ages 70-75 and are highest among drivers 85 and older. On average, about 500 elderly adults are injured in car crashes daily. The sad, but honest, reality is that the risk of being injured or killed in a car crash increases as you age.

Only 19 states make senior drivers renew their licenses more often than younger drivers. Illinois and New Mexico are the only states that require annual renewal, and Illinois is the only state that orders drivers to retake road tests as they age. Many states avoid implementing laws regarding senior drivers, so family members often find themselves responsible to take action.

Dealing with a loved one who you do not believe should be driving can be challenging. Asking them to give up their perceived independence and freedom may cause them to get upset, refuse to listen to you, ignore you, or even lie to you. If you have an older family member or friend who refuses to stop driving, consider using these strategies:

•Take a ride with them. Note what issues they have while driving. Do they follow traffic signals and road signs? Can they follow directions? Do they drive at an appropriate speed? Do they park properly? If you notice a problem, address it right away.

• If problems stem from driving at night, driving on highways, or driving during certain weather conditions, suggest that your loved one limits any driving to daytime hours, driving on side streets, or driving when it is clear weather outside.

• Be discreet and considerate of your loved one’s feelings. Do not discuss the issue at an event or during a stressful time. Talk to them in a comfortable setting, and let them know that you are confronting them because you care. Emphasize safety!

• Talk with family members or friends who will back you up. Older drivers may be more likely to listen with an open mind to those outside of the family, so ask a friend for help. Hearing the same thing from more than one person may give them the reality check they need, however try not to bombard or overwhelm them with concerns.

• Ask your loved one to speak to a doctor about his or her ability to drive. If your loved one hears a professional opinion, they may feel more inclined to listen and respect the advice they are given.

• Research transportation options in the area. Public transportation may not be the friendliest option for seniors, but your area may have some sort of shuttle service that your loved one can benefit from.

• Offer to drive. Even if it is inconvenient to you at times, offering to give your loved one a ride whenever they need it can express to them that you care and are willing to help. Schedule weekly trips to the grocery store, bank, post office, or coffee shop, so they know that you will be there for them when they need you. This time can allow you to bond and re-gain trust if some of it was lost while asking them to give up driving.

• Talk to the DMV, and file a report. This may lead to a driving evaluation and intervention from transportation officials.

• If worse comes to worse and the person you are concerned about is not able to understand the danger that they pose to themselves and others, you can take extreme measures. You can disable the vehicle, hide their keys, or try to obtain legal guardianship over them. However, these measures may cause much more turmoil in your relationship with them, so be prepared to handle many emotions.

To see the laws in your state and more information about elderly driving safety, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com. Many people wait until a crash or incident happens to take action, but that can be too late, so if you are seriously concerned, act as soon as possible.

If you were injured in a car accident caused by an elderly driver, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. 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 and Ohio, and will meet with you at your home to discuss your case.