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How could you avoid accidents with bicyclists?

The mild weather in California provides an excellent environment for bicycle riding, so many roads have a mix of bikes and cars. These conditions may lead to accidents, especially when drivers and bicyclists fail to pay attention and take proper safety precautions. When you are sharing the road with bicyclists, there are several things you may do to reduce the risk of an accident.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles provides numerous resources on bicycle safety, including information on applicable traffic laws and essential safety tips. According to the DMV, most crashes happen because drivers and/or bicyclists engage in unsafe behavior or do not pay attention to their surroundings. While state law requires bicyclists to follow traffic laws, it is especially important for drivers to take precautions to avoid an accident. In a collision between a bike and a car, there is a far greater chance of the bicyclist sustaining injuries.

Road rage makes California driving dangerous

When you moved to California, you may have envisioned long rides along highways that provide scenic views of the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps, you live near the beach. While such amenities may indeed be part of what you love about living in this state, like all states, it also has its downsides. For instance, traffic can quite stressful.

You may be a cautious and skilled driver. However, if the person in the vehicle next to you has a sudden bout of road rage, you and everyone else nearby are in great danger. It's helpful to be able to recognize signs of road rage although there might be little to nothing you can do to avoid a collision if an enraged driver is in your midst.

3 ways to avoid distracted driving

Distracted driving has quickly ascended to a significant issue across the United States. Every year thousands of people suffer injuries or lose their lives in car accidents involving someone who is driving distracted. What makes the issue so frustrating is that distracted driving is a problem that theoretically should be easily preventable.

The habits necessary for the prevention of distracted driving accidents are both simple to understand and carry out. Understanding both how distractions affect you specifically and what steps you need to take in order to avoid distracted driving is crucial to the deterrence of this matter.

Infotainment systems increase distraction risk

Most people in California have been in vehicles that feature built-in systems designed to provide navigational assistance, connect to a mobile phone or provide entertainment while they drive. These are frequently referred to as infotainment systems and many new vehicles today are being driven off car lots with these embedded as standard features. They are often touted as one potential solution to the problems associated with distracted driving.

A new report based issued by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that these infotainment systems may actually be contributing to risks associated with distracted driving rather than solving or reducing them. When a person takes their eyes off the road for two seconds, their chance of getting in an accident increases by 100%.

Understanding vehicle safety ratings

Most people in California have heard vehicle manufacturers talk about their products' safety ratings, often touting them in advertisements, on their websites or in other marketing campaigns. Consumers who are very conscious about safety should understand what goes into identifying these ratings so they can fully assess them when considering their next car, truck or SUV purchase.

Consumer Reports explains that crash tests are conducted by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In these tests, they measure a vehicle's ability to withstand rollovers. Also evaluated are a vehicle's rear blind spots, ability to avoid an accident and the presence of advanced safety features like cameras or lane departure warnings.

Defining dram shop liability in California

The chance of you encountering a drunk driver on Los Angeles’ roads is ever-present. This knowledge, however, likely will not lessen your frustrations when you are involved in an accident caused by one. The first question to enter your mind after such an incident may not be how could someone be so irresponsible as to get behind the wheel after drinking, but rather why would a person or establishment allow someone to reach such a state in the first place. Many with that same question have come to us here at Pheffer Law wondering if liability can be extended to those third parties in such cases. 

The answer to that question depends on the unique circumstances of your case. Many states have what are known as “dram shop laws,” which allow liability to be assigned to establishments that serve alcohol to patrons who then go out and cause accidents. An extension of dram shop liability are “social host laws,” which would allow you to hold an individual responsible if a person causes an accident after getting drunk on alcohol provided to them by said individual in their home or at an event. 

Push to include advanced safety features in more cars

Most people in California have seen or heard ads that tout sophisticated safety features in new vehicles. These include things like forward collision warning or lane keeping assistance. Unfortunately, it seems that while these technologies are readily available, they are not frequently included in the new vehicles that consumers purchase. Safety appears to be taking a back seat to profits in this situation.

As reported by Auto World News, out of the 2019 model vehicles sold, less than half of them were driven off the lot with what would be identified as an advanced safety feature. A total of 56% of new vehicles failed to include these elements that are proven to help prevent fatalities or lessen the severity of injuries should an accident occur.

Understanding teen driver tendencies

If you have been involved in a serious car accident involving a teen driver in Los Angeles, your hopes of receiving all of the compensation that you need may be slim. The amount you may be entitled to through an insurance payment may not be enough to cover all of your accident expenses (which can include medical bills, compensation for time away from work, and repair costs). You may try to collect those from the responsible party, yet what can you realistically expect to get from a teen? Many in your same situation come to us here at Pheffer Law asking what recourse is available to them, and like them, you may be happy to hear that you may indeed be able to hold a teen's parents liable for an accident. 

The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows parents to be held responsible when their teens cause accidents in their vehicles. Yet a critical element to assigning liability under negligent entrustment is proving that the vehicle owner knew (or should have known) of the negligent or reckless tendencies of the person that they loaned their vehicle to. How, then, might you prove that a parent (who may typically always offer their teen the benefit of the doubt) should have known that the teen might be likely to drive recklessly? 

How can I drive more safely?

When it comes to driving in Southern California, residents face congested roads and freeways on a regular basis. This can make it hard to maneuver and can even create frustration when congestion turns into a full-blown traffic jam. However, drivers should not let these realities distract them from being consciously focused on safe operation of their vehicles.

Edmunds indicates that one thing people should remember is to not become too complacent when it comes to relying on mirrors or even alerts and other safety features built into vehicles. None of these things are replacements for the driver's eyes. Instead of expecting that you will see every object in one of your mirrors, make it a habit to check over your shoulders now and then.

Evolving child safety seat guidelines

Parents in California should know that the state requires them to transport their children in appropriate child safety seats when in personal vehicles. This is akin to the requirement that they themselves wear seat belts as these restraints are proven to reduce deaths in automobile accidents. The use of safety seats and seat belts may also contribute to lessened injuries in accidents. The type of child safety seat to be used varies based upon a child's weight or stage of life.

As explained by Baby Center, there are a few different types of safety seats. Infants should ride in baby seats that always face the rear of the vehicle. Once they have outgrown these seats, they may transition to a toddler seat that can be positioned facing forward but features a five-point harness. There are some models that offer a hybrid of these two seats so families can make one purchase that will last them longer.

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