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Western Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

Summer brings the '100 deadliest days' on the road

Summer brings with it a lot of positives. From family vacations to holidays to chances to explore the outdoors in beautiful weather, it can be great.

Unfortunately, it can also be deadly. Many experts refer to the summer as the "100 deadliest days" that motorists face.

Why whiplash should be taken seriously

For many years, there have been a lot of jokes about people claiming whiplash after a vehicle crash. We've all seen movies and TV shows where people walk (or pushed in a wheelchair) into a courtroom wearing a cervical collar to seek money for an injury that may or may not be real.

In reality, whiplash is a real and potentially serious injury suffered by many people involved in crashes -- even relatively minor ones. It is the most common type of car crash-related soft tissue injury. These are injuries to "soft" areas of the body, including muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Report claims deadly Uber crash linked to software mistake

A woman in Arizona was tragically killed when she was hit by a self-driving Uber vehicle earlier this year. Uber was testing the self-driving car when it happened, something the company was also doing in Pennsylvania. Those tests stopped, at least for the time being, as the fatal wreck was investigated.

The reason officials say it happened is that the software wasn't properly calibrated. The way the system works is that it tries to identify every single object that comes in front of the car, and then it assesses the risk. If there is a high risk, the vehicle can take evasive action, such as reducing speed. That never happened in Arizona, and the woman was hit at roughly 38 miles per hour.

Safety tips that help cars and motorcycles share the road

Cars and motorcycles are not necessarily a good mix. An accident puts motorcyclists in serious danger, as they simply do not have the protection of a driver in a car. That driver may walk away from a crash without a scratch, while the motorcyclist suffers serious and even fatal injuries.

So, what can drivers do to stay safe on the road and avoid accidents with these smaller vehicles? Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Be wary of turns, and always look for motorcycles. A high percentage of wrecks happen when drivers do not see motorcycles and turn left right in front of them. Intersections are especially dangerous. If possible, experts always suggest making eye contact to ensure that you and the rider are on the same page.
  • Stay four seconds back when driving behind a motorcycle. Many people do not think they're tailgating when they are just a second or two back, but they are. You need at least those four seconds so that you can stop and avoid an accident if something unexpected occurs.
  • Be cautious of your blind spots. Motorcycles are small. They fit into these blind spots easily. Just because you do not see a bike after a quick glance does not mean there is not one there. Check your blind spots and pay attention to traffic around you. If you see a bike coming up behind you and then lose sight of it, odds are it is in a blind spot.

Prom, cars and alcohol: A dangerous mix

High school students look forward to prom night for months. It's a celebration, a rite of passage and a tradition going back decades.

Unfortunately, it also carries a high level of risk. Kids often borrow their parents' cars or even rent cars to go to prom. They may have chaperones at the dance, but they do not have them in the car, at dinner or at an after party. A lot of teens engage in underage drinking, and experts warn that binge drinking is also common.

Improving Bedford road safety regarding motorcycles

Whether you happen to be avid motorcycle enthusiast or the thought of riding one scares you half to death, the fact is that Bedford roadways are prime attractions for those who travel on two wheels. Especially once the weather turns to warmer temperatures, you're likely to cross paths with one or more motorcycles during an average workday commute or when you're running errands in town. 

If you plan to ride motorcycles anywhere in Pennsylvania, you'll want to first brush up on the latest safety information to reduce your risk for collision. Doing so can't always prevent roadway problems, however, because there may be negligent motorists in your vicinity who are placing you in harm's way even though you are driving as cautiously as possible. If you suffer injury in a motorcycle accident that someone else has caused, your life may be forever changed. It's crucial to know where to seek support if something like this happens. 

The main reason it is tough to catch drowsy drivers

Drowsy driving, in many ways, is similar to drunk driving. If you are too tired, your reaction time isn't nearly what it should be, and you can actually fall asleep behind the wheel. Even just nodding off for a second can cause an accident.

To a large degree, though, police really cannot crack down on drowsy driving, even though some experts think it leads to hundreds of thousands of accidents annually. The only way they really catch drowsy drivers is when those drivers admit, perhaps after an accident, that they were too tired.

Distracted driving and cellphones linked

Research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms that drivers are very concerned about the problem of distracted driving. According to the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, 88 percent of the nation's drivers consider distracted driving to head the list risky behaviors, followed by:

  • Aggressive driving (68 percent)
  • Drugged driving (55 percent)
  • Intoxicated driving (43 percent)

Since 2013, there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of drivers who self-report cellphone usage while driving. Almost half (49 percent) of drivers report that they recently talked on hand-held cellphones behind the wheel. Even worse, almost 35 percent of drivers report sending at least one email or text while driving.

What's the deal with wrong-way drivers? How does it happen?

It may be inconceivable to you how a person could end up driving down the wrong side of the road, especially when there is a median between you and oncoming traffic. Even so, hundreds of people die each year due to accidents in which one of the vehicles involved headed in the wrong direction on the roadway.

While there are no absolutes regarding when, how or where these accidents may occur, some significant commonalities exist that shed some light on these collisions.

When do you have grounds for a wrongful death civil claim?

It can be devastating for a Pennsylvania family to lose a loved one. It can lead to financial loss and significant emotional trauma, and it can be difficult to rebuild your life after a devastating and unexpected loss. While you are mourning the loss of your family member, you may not think about your legal options regarding potential wrongful death litigation.

If your loved one died as the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another person, you could have grounds to move forward with a civil claim. This can be an overwhelming thought during your time of grief, but you may be able to secure compensation that can allow your family to rebuild and move on. It might be beneficial for you to learn about what you need for a valid wrongful death claim.

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