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Memorial Day Weekend Driving and Safety Tips

Don’t Become A Statistic – Memorial Day Safety  Driving Tips

Memorial Day Weekend Driving Tips! According to AAA statistics, an estimated 34.9 million people will hit America’s roads for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That’s a 4.6% increase over 2021. 

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 450 people may die on U.S. roads this Memorial Day holiday period. Holidays are a time of travel for families across the United States. Many choose car travel, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Holidays are also often the cause of celebrations involving alcohol consumption, a major contributing factor to motor vehicle accidents.

The Federal Highway Administration said motorists drove 277.4 billion miles (446.4 billion km) in March, up 7.9 billion miles over the same month in 2021, and up 5 billion miles over March 2019.

Driving in the United States first surpassed pre-pandemic 2019 levels in January, as Americans returned to work and businesses, and leisure travel continues to rise.

Driving in the first three months of 2022 was up 5.6%, or 40.2 billion miles, to 753.7 billion miles, and driving surpassed each monthly tally versus 2019. Drivers logged 753.1 billion miles in the first three months of 2019.

Some experts have warned that U.S. traffic fatalities may continue to rise in the face of increased driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said U.S. traffic deaths jumped 10.5% in 2021 to 42,915, marking the highest number killed on American roads in a single year since 2005.

“Memorial Day should mark the start of summer—not a deadly driving season,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, President and CEO, National Safety Council. “If we pay attention, slow down, and be courteous, we can increase our chances of making it to picnics, beaches, and barbecues rather than emergency rooms.”

The NSC Has Identified Two Primary Factors Related To Memorial Day Weekend Fatal Collisions:

  1. Seat belt use: Approximately 250 lives may be saved this holiday weekend if all vehicle occupants wear their seat belts.
  1. Drunk driving: Alcohol-related driving fatalities spike during this time period. In 2016, 36% of fatalities over Memorial Day weekend involved an alcohol-impaired driver. It’s simple; don’t drink and drive. Plan your ride home from your event ahead of time. Many communities and regions offer sober-ride programs. AAA, for instance, offers a nationwide Tipsy Tow program. Call 1-800-222-4357 for more information.

 

A Road Trip Checklist

Before setting out on Florida highways this weekend, you’ll want to prepare the vehicle for the distance ahead. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that drivers take these steps in the days leading up to a road trip:

1. Maintain and Inspect Your Vehicle

Routine maintenance is a must, and keeping up with your car’s maintenance schedule can help prevent costly breakdowns. Perform a basic safety check of your vehicle’s tire pressure, wiper blades, fluid levels, lights, and air conditioning. You shouldn’t put off regularly scheduled services such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations.

If you find anything is amiss, check our vehicle maintenance pricing and service schedules page to see if your car is due and what it may cost. It’s worth running it by a dealership or auto repair shop when you’re unsure whether any service is overdue.

2. Make child safety your number one priority.

All children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat. And be aware of the added risks that arise in warm weather. Heatstroke can occur when a child gets left unattended in a parked vehicle.

To understand more about child seat safety, take some time to review the importance of car seat safety.

3. Stock Your Vehicle With a Safety Kit

NHTSA recommends that drivers carry:

  • Cell phone, charger, and extra portable battery
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
  • Work gloves and a change of clothes
  • Essential repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak)
  • Water and paper towels for cleaning up
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Navigation options (Phone or car navigation systems or printed maps)
  • Emergency blankets, towels, and coats

4. Make Contingency Plans For Road Trips.

Plan your travel and route, and check road conditions, weather, and traffic to know what you can expect. But also be prepared for any contingency. Remember, a cell phone is the most critical emergency item since it allows you to call for help when and where you need it.

5. Examine for Recalls

Use Kelley Blue Book’s VIN recalls check tool to ensure your vehicle is ready to go. If you find a recall, get it fixed as soon as possible.

Millions of Americans are driving cars that may have safety recalls. Dealerships will always perform recall repairs for free. But their service bays can get swamped ahead of a heavy travel season, so check as early as possible to see if your car needs any free repairs.

6. Understand Your Vehicle

You’re probably set on this checklist item if you’re driving your own car. If you’re renting a vehicle, pick it up a few hours before the road trip to familiarize yourself with it. Get familiar with the different types of driver assistance and safety features you can use.

On-the-Road Trip Safety Tips

Once you’re on the road, car safety is about paying attention to your surroundings and keeping yourself alert. To that end, don’t neglect these necessary safety precautions:

Drive at Non-Peak Times

Late afternoon and early evening can be the worst times on the road. Avoid peak traffic times for a long weekend by leaving early Friday or Saturday morning to be well on your way when the travel rush kicks in. For the trip home, leave early Monday, or give yourself an extra day and travel on Tuesday. That way, everyone else is out of the way.

Limit Your Nighttime Driving.

A National Sleep Foundation poll says 60% of adults drive cars when tired. It also found that 37%, or 103 million people, fell asleep at the wheel. Of those, 4% of adults caused a crash by falling asleep while driving.

If you feel fatigued coming on, stop and rest or switch drivers before putting yourself or other passengers at risk. But really, limit driving at night when it’s harder to see.

Let a Passenger Handle Traffic Apps and Entertainment

Memorial Day Weekend Driving Safety TipsWe’re big fans of Waze and Google Maps. These navigation tools can route any driver around traffic, provide updates on travel time, and even alert you of road hazards. But, for safety’s sake, remember to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Instead of multitasking, put a passenger in charge of the navigation and the music or podcast selection.

Take Frequent Breaks

Occasionally, getting out of the car is good for everyone, especially the driver. The best way to avoid feeling tired behind the wheel is to give yourself a regular change of scenery. And there’s no better way to do that than pulling over every few hours and stretching your legs.

Share the Driving

If your road trip involves multiple qualified drivers, let everyone take a turn handling the stress of driving and relaxing in the passenger’s seat. It’s good for everyone’s nerves and sets the right tone for the weekend.

Share the Road

Remember that traffic could be heavier than you’d expect, especially near attractions or vacation destinations. Good weather attracts many roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. While they share the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as every driver, they are more vulnerable. Their most significant disadvantage is that they do not have the protection that a car or truck provides. Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle — about 3 or 4 seconds’ worth.

Motorcycles are much lighter than other vehicles and can stop at shorter distances. Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This courtesy allows other road users to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.

Buckle Up

Do we need to say this? According to the American Medical Association Journal, accidents remain one of the top leading causes of death for Americans. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the total number of miles Americans drove plummeted, traffic deaths increased. Give yourself and your loved ones a fighting chance and obey this critical safety law.

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

Get more helpful information on what to do after an accident here at our “Car Wreck Checklist” >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:
National safety council Injury facts

https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/22637-nsc-offers-six-safe-driving-tips-for-memorial-day-weekend

https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/child-passenger-safety

https://www.idrivesafely.com/defensive-driving/trending/council-makes-memorial-day-travel-plea-drivers

Click It or Ticket campaign underway

https://bringmethenews.com/minnesota-news/road-deaths-involving-unbelted-people-rose-again-in-2021

https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/road-trip-vehicle-safety-tips/

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/american-driving-topped-pre-pandemic-levels-march-2022-05-19/

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/22martvt/page2.cfm

The Best Way To Find An Auto Accident Lawyer After A Florida Car Wreck.

Auto accident lawyers seem to be everywhere you look these days. Auto accident lawyer billboards, auto accident lawyer television commercials, auto accident lawyer radio and internet ads, and all sorts of other auto accident lawyer-focused promotions.

But What Is The Best Way To Select An Auto Accident Lawyer For Your Car Wreck Case?

Not all auto accident lawyers are the same. Not all auto accident lawyers have the same background, experience, training, and reputation. When looking for an auto accident lawyer for your car wreck case, look for those who are board-certified in civil trial.

Board Certification Matters

The Florida Bar allows for lawyers to become certified in their area of expertise, but to do so, you must have plenty of experience and success in that area first. Then you are required to take a board certification bar exam. Once that is successfully completed, then your background and trial experience are analyzed by the Florida Bar Certification committee and you may receive certification. This certification lasts for 6 years, after which it must be renewed and you have to provide proof that you have continued to be engaged in this kind of work and that you still have a great professional reputation.

Again, the Florida Bar checks with judges and lawyers that have worked with you, and it will determine whether the lawyer’s board certification should be continued.

Only 1% of Florida Lawyers Are Board Certified In Civil Trial

One of the first ways that you should narrow the field of potential auto accident lawyers in Florida is to find those that are Board Certified in Civil Trial. Among the entire Florida Bar, that number is only about 1% of Florida lawyers. Each community in Florida has probably closer to 15% of the auto accident lawyers who are Board Certified in Civil Trial.


Here is a link to the Florida Board of Certified Civil Trial Lawyers listing >


The Lawyer You Hire Should Also Be The Lawyer Handling Your Case

What Should I Expect from my Personal Injury lawyerThen, once you have narrowed the list to just those lawyers who are board-certified, make sure that that particular lawyer will be the one actually handling your auto accident case. So, some firms will have a board-certified civil trial lawyer as part of their firm, but is that board-certified expert going to be handling your case or will your case be handled by some lawyer in the firm that is not board-certified?

Remember, pretty much all auto accident lawyers charge the same, no fee, no cost unless you win, so hire an expert to handle your case if you can.

Ask Questions

Meet the lawyer handling your case and ask them all the questions that you and your family have. If they seem unsure about some topic, then you should probably not hire that lawyer. In Florida, you can almost never go wrong (or too far wrong) if the lawyer handling your auto accident case is board-certified in civil trial. They are considered experts in the type of law that includes auto accident cases.

We here at Zarzaur Law have three board-certified civil trial lawyers handling auto accident cases. So, make sure your auto accident lawyer is also an expert, or hire one that is.

If you have questions about an auto accident lawyer or an auto accident case, you can find our auto accident lawyers on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >


Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Florida Car Insurance 101: Part 6 – Car Wrecks And Rental Cars.

Many Florida car wreck victims assume that if they are caused to be without a car because of someone else’s negligence, they will automatically get a rental car. Many believe that as they are on the scene, someone from the other person’s car insurance company is going to drive up to the scene and hand them the keys to a rental car and haul their car off to be fixed or totaled. This could not be further from how it works in real life.

Loss Of Use Damages

After a Florida car wreck, the at-fault driver will be responsible for what is called “loss of use damages.” Loss of use damages are damages associated with the loss of use of your vehicle. For some reason, there has been sufficient damage to your car to make it unsafe to drive.

If, for instance, your car only has minor damage and those damages do not cause your vehicle to be unsafe to operate, then you are not going to be eligible for loss of use damage until they start working on the repairs.

Accepting Liability Prior to Offering A Rental Car

Before any company will offer a rental car, the insurance company first has to accept liability for the car wreck. This usually takes between 48 hours and a week on some occasions. What generally happens during this time is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will conduct what they will call an investigation.

The Difference Between Driver’s Exchange Of Information And The Wreck Report

This investigation will consist of reviewing the wreck report and speaking with the insured driver. Keep in mind that the full wreck report for a Florida car wreck will not be available for several days following the wreck. Typically, between 2 and 5 days following a wreck, the Florida Wreck Report is not the piece of paper the Trooper gives you at the scene. That document is titled the Florida Exchange of Information form. That is not the wreck report. The wreck report will be drafted by the same trooper and will be released later. Keep in mind that it is always important to wait for law enforcement to complete a report on any wreck. 

If you do not have an official wreck report following a wreck, the insurance company will have much more room to come up with a different version of events. Once available, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will review that report and compare the description of the wreck to the version of events provided by their insured.

What If There Is A Contradiction Or Reasonable Doubt? 

If there is no difference, then the at-fault driver’s insurance will typically accept liability or responsibility for the wreck. If there is some contradiction, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually go with what the trooper concluded unless there is another witness who also sides with the other version of events. Any reasonable doubt will likely cause the insurance company to refuse to accept liability. If there is no outright acceptance of responsibility, there will not be any offer to provide a rental car.

How Long Will The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Pay For A Rental Car?

However, if the insurance company for the negligent driver does accept responsibility, then they will usually offer a rental car if your vehicle is unsafe to drive.  They will usually extend this offer until they have made a check for your car (if its a total loss) available for you.  They will not pay for a minute extra once they have presented you with a check for your car.

What If The At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Enough Coverage?

It is also important to understand that if an at fault driver in a Florida car wreck case doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your car damages and provide money for a rental car, the insurance company will not offer that car.  Your only option at that point is to see if your insurance policy has a rental car benefit and if it doesn’t then it will be your responsibility to pay for the rental.  This is a huge inconvenience and if you end up with an injury case, inconvenience is an element of damages that can be collected from the at fault driver within in the injury case.

For more information about rental cars following a Florida car wreck case, please feel free to reach out to our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HireJoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON RENTAL CARS AFTER YOUR CAR WRECK >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >


Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.