Motorists: Understand How Blind Spots Work

With millions of cars registered in the US at any given time, there’s no question that we must all share the road and try to do so as safely as possible. Unfortunately, most of us will be involved in at least one car accident in our lifetimes–but hopefully with defensive driving practices in place, you can lower the odds. Understanding how blind spots work is important, and although you may be aware that sometimes you cannot see another car or motorcycle or truck if it is next to you in the adjacent lane, it is helpful to know more about the technicalities involved—and what you can do to decrease your chance of having an accident due to an incident with a blind spot.

Blind spots are not restricted only to vehicles on the road, but also boats and even planes. If you are riding on a bicycle or a motorcycle or some form of transportation without windows or metal coverings, then you probably do not have to worry about blind spots. Visibility is restricted due to the design of most vehicles, the way mirrors are set up, headrests in the car, and more. The blind spot occurs in the lane next to you at a 45° angle while you are driving and unable to see what is there—which is usually either a car or other vehicle, or if you are hoping to pass, perhaps nothing at all.

There are ways to adjust your mirrors to avoid blind spots altogether, but that does take some technical prowess (and some experts say this is not possible), and in most cases, motorists have their mirrors set so they can see as much traffic as possible. While traveling, if you are about to pass, avoid collisions due to blind spots by looking in your side mirrors, rearview mirrors, and taking the time to turn your head also to look. Taking all these precautions is critical, and especially when on a multi-lane highway.

Trucks present even more issues with blind spots, and they need the help of motorists when passing. If you are traveling behind a truck and decide to pass on the left, make sure you can see the trucker in his mirror (this means he can see you!) as you move out into the next lane, and before you pass over into the next one.

The most important element of driving is simple: focus. This is an important skill to pass on to teen drivers as well, considering distracted driving is the number one threat and killer on highways in the US. With the advent of the smartphone, drivers have so many advantages such as GPS, the ability to make hands-free phone calls, and much more. But there are so many negative aspects of smartphone technology too about distracted driving. Drivers may be unable to resist the temptation to check text messages, and even worse, may feel obligated to respond – and sometimes at length. Beware of other drivers who may also be under the influence, ignoring traffic signals and signs, or driving under the influence.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Car Crashes Top the List for Teen Deaths

Most of us are stymied as to why traffic incidents and car crashes in the United States continue to escalate. After all, haven’t we evolved so much more as a society in recent decades that we understand how to be better defensive drivers, enjoy better safety mechanisms in our cars, and watch out for so many of the hazards we are constantly warned about? The problem is that many motorists give in to temptations that cause hazard, while other accidents are caused by weather, obstacles in the road, or issues that are seemingly unavoidable (aside from staying off the road completely—which is sometimes the best choice).

While distracted driving is one of the number one killers in the US today regarding car accidents, the problem looms larger in terms of teenagers and their driving habits. Although teens may have all the experience of a driver’s education course behind them, they are still fragile when it comes to experience; after all, consider how many years of driving experience you may have on the road—and there are still hazards to navigate past every day.

For a teenager, every bit of traveling on the road is a new experience as they are suddenly behind the wheel of the car. While they may doubt their mortality like many other young people, they may also be overconfident in their skills to multitask while behind the wheel. This could mean heavy overuse of the cell phone with calls coming in and being returned, voicemails being closely monitored, and text messages being read—and even worse, returned at length.

Most teenagers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving. If you are a parent to a teen who has just started driving, continue to emphasize the dangers, set rules about phone usage while in the car, and be a good role model yourself. For some adults, that may be the hardest part of the equation, as we have a hard time putting down the phones too sometimes. It is critical for every driver, and especially teenagers who are just learning ‘the lay of the land,’ to give every ounce of attention to the task at hand when operating a vehicle—and doing so defensively.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Hit and Run Car Accident: Know What to Do

If you walk away from a car crash alive, most likely you will be very grateful to have survived the incident; unfortunately, there may be a long list of items to take care of following such a traumatic event. And there is simply no way around it: if you have experienced property damage to your car or sustained physical injuries, you will be left with a list of responsibilities to handle.

The situation is exponentially compounded if you are in a hit-and-run accident. Enduring an accident due to the negligence of another party is a lot to process to begin with—but if they drive away from the scene of an accident, you may feel extremely angry. Victims of hit-and-run accidents sometimes have a very difficult time recovering from the emotional aspects of the incident; after all, to be potentially, seriously hurt and then just have someone drive away—or to be left with the tragedy of a loved one who passed away after the wreck—can be devastating enough to cause long-lasting symptoms of PTSD.

If you are hit by another driver and notice that they are taking off before the police arrive, do your best to note the type of car they are driving. Write down the make, model, and color or whatever information you have—with any information or even partial numbers of their license plate being most valuable. Jot down everything you can remember about their physical description, and seek out any witnesses on the scene of the accident—chances are, if this was during a busy time of day, someone noticed what happened and may be willing to talk to the police or even testify in your case. Don’t be shy about speaking to witnesses at the scene of ‘the crime,’ as this may be the only chance you would ever have to see them or speak to them.

A hit-and-run accident can add extreme chaos to an experience that is already fraught with intensity. Remember that your safety and immediate medical treatment should come before anything else. Consult with a skilled car accident attorney as soon as possible too so that you are not left feeling isolated in such a difficult time or dealing with the insurance adjusters alone. If given a chance, the insurance company will most likely attempt to pay you as little as possible for what could have been catastrophic injury and property damage.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Bicycling Safety: Prevent Your Child from Riding at Night

Kids and bicycles go together like peanut butter and jelly, as we all know. And for many adults too, their bicycle is a constant attachment and sometimes even an extremely economical form of transportation. Healthy exercises like bicycling are often passed down from parents to their children, encouraging the enjoyment of family time or solo exercise in the fresh air and the outdoors—as opposed to sitting inside staring at a tablet, the TV, or phone screen—along with building strong muscle and bone, and completing a good cardio and core work out every time.

Of course, most children are not concerned about the safety or health aspects of riding a bike. They usually have some place to go! And whether that is to school or a friend’s house, they may not be considering elements like time of day, weather, or other logistics that could make it dangerous to travel. It is highly recommended that you do not allow your child to ride their bicycle at night, but the true issue is in not allowing them to ride in the dark, which could apply to early rides to school also. This harkens back to the most important safety issue, which is visibility for motorists and others, and if it is dark, obviously your child is not going to be seen very easily (despite possible reflective gear and lights). Even during the day, bright clothing should be worn whenever possible—along with a bicycle helmet and recommended elbow and knee pads too.

Because bicycling offers so many health benefits, most of us are willing to overlook many safety issues that must be considered, and especially in Florida where bicyclist deaths continue to increase. Recent news shows that Florida is a dangerous place to ride:

“Each year about 2 percent of deaths in motor vehicle crashes are bicyclists. Although child bicyclist deaths have declined over the years, deaths among bicyclists age 20 and older have tripled since 1975,” states AAA data. “Florida leads the nation in bicycle fatalities. The latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows 783 bicyclists were killed in the U.S. in 2017; 125 (16%) were in Florida.”

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Older Kids and Boating: When Are They Ready to Take the Helm?

Operating a boat in Florida is frequently an activity (and a skill) that is handed from parents to children, and a process that may be seamless for many kids and young adults as they have been on the water since they were babies. This is often the case around the coasts and waterways of the United States—and the world—as boats are very common and sometimes considered a more casual form of transportation; after all, in some cases (enviable to many) it is very easy to head down to the dock, hop into the boat, and take off. It is, however, critical to understand the laws in your state before allowing your child to do so. In Florida, kids must be at least 14 before they can drive a boat. If they are ages 14 to 16, they may operate a vessel alone if they have completed an approved boating course or if they are traveling with an adult over the age of 18. If traveling alone, they should carry a copy of their ID card/certification on board.

While it is important for all ages to take safety measures into account first and foremost, younger boaters may not be as acclimated, depending on the vessel they are operating, And they should always know where lifejackets and flotation devices are stowed, along with instructions on how to operate a radio, and other lifesaving devices like the airhorn and flares. If heading out alone, they should always create a float plan to leave behind with a friend or family member who is staying on land that day. Younger boaters should create or be provided with a safety/supply checklist to use every time before going out, reminding them to check the following:

  • Fuel and oil levels
  • Anchor
  • Battery
  • Bilge pump
  • Fire extinguisher, air horn, EPIRB
  • Water supply
  • Tool and first-aid kits
  • Life vests

New boaters, as well as captains of all ages, should always be in the habit of checking the weather before going out and should be skilled in handling choppy waves in the case of a squall popping up—especially in Florida, where that is a common occurrence. Younger boaters should also be extremely aware of the dangers involved in boating while under the influence, along with realizing that there can be legal repercussions just like driving while impaired.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Did You Know That Less Than Two Percent of Florida Lawyers Are Board Certified in Civil Trial?

If you have been injured due to the negligence of others, it is critical to have expert, licensed, aggressive legal assistance on your side. You may not be aware that less than two percent of attorneys in Florida are board-certified in civil trial! At Heintz & Becker, we do have the credentials, and we will take your case to trial if necessary. Our attorneys practice aggressive advocacy, and while we will try to negotiate a fair settlement, we will never accept a lowball offer or bend to bad faith practices of any sort.

A car accident is a perfect example of how important it is to have an experienced law firm on your side. As you approach your vehicle every morning, the scenario looks innocent enough. Your sturdy, four-thousand-pound car is faithfully waiting to take you to your destination. The sun may be out, birds chirping, and everything is just as it should be—until that is, you pull out of the driveway, head on to the highway, and are at the mercy of so many other motorists who may not be doing their jobs—which is to focus on the road 100 percent of the time, keeping the wheel steady and everyone safe.

Unfortunately, traffic incidents of all sorts are on the rise in Florida, and around most of the US. Whether you are a motorist, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian, this not only means that you have a greater chance of being injured but unfortunately also killed as fatalities continue to rise. Diligence and extreme defensiveness are required every time you drive from one place to another. And while that may sound extreme, if you look at the statistics, there is no denying it.

No matter how focused you are as a driver, the sad news is that you are in the minority. Far too many other drivers are engaged in a myriad of distractions such as looking at their phones, talking on their phones, fiddling with their phones, or engaging with passengers who are distracting, not to mention eating, drinking, and grooming. Other drivers may be under the influence, whether drunk, on drugs, or even just drowsy. Many drivers are reckless, have no regard for traffic rules or traffic signs, and they put everyone at risk.

Just as you must be completely focused on driving, if you are involved in a serious accident or you are injured due to the negligence of someone else, you must be equally diligent about finding the most skilled and experienced car accident attorney to represent you so that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and stress. If our attorneys take your case to trial, we will prepare meticulously to ensure that the jury understands all the facts.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Traffic Safety for Children: Their Vision May Not Be Fully Developed

One of the most critical rules we all must remember about moving in traffic is that the road is meant to be shared amongst everyone. While there may be many irritations that we have to deal with, not to mention inconveniences, as we try to get to our destinations on time, the priority is staying focused behind the wheel, and safe. The task at hand—driving—requires 100 percent of our attention over everything else.

Most of us are suffering from one condition or another—even if that just involves trying to shake off the work stress of the day. As travelers, we may be young, or old, or in between, but in sharing the road, we must be educated on traffic rules and understand them and follow them. It is important to keep in mind, however, that some people may be in different stages of life, or more vulnerable in traffic, and we should work even harder to protect them too.

Obviously, senior citizens may be having more trouble crossing the road sometimes due to trouble with mobility, or they may pause longer at a red light or an intersection, as their hearing or eyesight may not be as good as it once was—but still sufficient to allow them to travel alone. All of us will reach that point someday. But on the flipside, children may also not be completely developed, and this can lead to hesitation or errors in judgment while near traffic areas. Often, while younger children may seem responsible enough to walk or cross in traffic, their eyesight still may not be as keen as yours as their bodies are still developing. They also may not be able to handle all the stimulation coming at them, and this can cause challenges at crosswalk areas or as they travel on bicycles.

As a motorist, you may find yourself often traveling through school zones. Speed limits are set at an extremely low rate in these areas for obvious reasons, and there may be crowds of children around at the beginning of the day and in the afternoons. Kids may be traveling on foot, on bicycles, or waiting to get into cars, but the bottom line is they may not have a total grasp on what it means to navigate through traffic.

If your child is traveling to and from school alone, or waits at a bus stop each day, or even just in a car line make sure they understand the hazards of traffic, are dressed visibly and are knowledgeable about traffic rules and road signs.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Larger Motorcycle Motors Often Correspond to Worse Injuries

While motorcycles may be one of the more dangerous ways to travel today (and historically—even worse), statistics seem to show that navigating through traffic in any form is hazardous for nearly everyone in the vicinity of a side street, major road, highway, or byway. And in Florida, traffic incidents are on the rise not only between motorists and truckers and motorcyclists, but also pedestrians, and bicyclists. No one is safe, but others are more vulnerable for many different reasons.

Walking or traveling in the fresh air can be a great boon to our psyche, and give a fresh perspective on the day, especially if you have a stressful work life, or often need to get out of the house and clear your head. As a motorcyclist, you may enjoy breaking free of the confines and protection that the metal structure, seatbelts, and airbags offer to travelers choosing to ride in cars; however, this does come with some potential sacrifice for safety—and unfortunately, the sacrifice of life in some cases as fatalities continue to rise on Florida roads.

The irony is that riding a motorcycle offers so many health benefits too, and the first is building up strength. Handling a large motorcycle is no easy feat, and novices should be very well trained before heading out onto the road. Recent data from IIHS suggests that the actual size of a motorcycle motor may play a part in creating more accidents:

“Engine sizes of motorcycles whose drivers were killed in crashes have gone up dramatically. Among motorcycle drivers killed in 2017, 33 percent drove motorcycles with engine sizes larger than 1,400 cc, compared with 9 percent in 2000 and less than 1 percent in 1990.”

Corresponding data also states that most motorcycle fatalities involve men, with most female fatalities occurring when women are riding as passengers. If you are a motorcyclist, or a passenger, be aware of additional ways to stay safe. This includes being extremely visible with bright clothing, reflectors at night, and additional clothing. Always make eye contact with motorists at intersections (especially before turning left) and make yourself seen and heard.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Legs and Feet Most Commonly Injured in Motorcycle Accidents

It’s a wonderful feeling to get out in the fresh air after a busy day at work, or 40-plus hours in a weekly jag of servitude to your job and myriad daily responsibilities. Most motorcyclists enjoy that feeling of being able to hop on their bike, rev the engine, and feel the wind in their hair, taking advantage of their more economical and unfettered choice in transportation. Whether you are involved in a daily commute though or going on a road trip through some of the most scenic byways of the US (not to mention just in Florida alone), there is much to be said for getting outdoors, traveling with freedom, and often enjoying the company of like-minded souls.

For most motorcycle enthusiasts, it is not a good idea just to purchase a motorcycle and ride off into traffic without prior training. These bikes are extremely heavy objects, even if you buy the most lightweight of motorcycles, and they require strength on the part of the rider; in fact, your strength will just continue to build with each ride as you work your core each time.

Unfortunately, however, hazards abound on the road, and especially for travelers left more vulnerable to cars and trucks, whether driving a motorcycle, bicycle or traveling on foot. Visibility is often an issue for others on the road as they may not take the proper time to look when slamming on the brakes, changing lanes, turning left at intersections, or turning right into a crosswalk area; this is why motorcyclists must drive even more defensively.

Injuries in a motorcycle accident can be catastrophic, if not fatal. Every time a motorcyclist lays down their bike, their life could hang in the balance. While road rash is one of the most dreaded results of a motorcycle accident, along with a concussion and traumatic brain injury (most likely if there was not a helmet being worn), broken bones are extremely common. Motorcyclists may commonly experience broken arms, but even more so—broken legs and foot injuries occur as the motorcycle falls directly on them during a crash.

Protective gear should always be worn, beginning with the helmet, but also to involve thick pants and heavy motorcycle boots. Although it may often be tempting in Florida to don a bathing suit, flip flops, and take off down the road, such carelessness could result in devastating injury.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Parents: Brush Up on Traffic Laws to Teach Your Children Bicycle Safety

Bicycling: what could be better than enjoying the fresh air together as a family? Heading out to get some exercise on two wheels is usually a highly recommended activity whether as a solitary venture, or whether you branch out into a group or travel with your partner and children. Although you probably often see families on the road—and even parents biking with babies being towed behind in little buggies—do not be fooled. There has usually been great thought and attention to safety ahead of time.

Florida has also been noted (unfortunately) for increased fatalities, to the point of being referred to as a ‘killing field’ for bicyclists in recent years. On the flip side, in the right environment, bicycling can be phenomenal for your health, helping to build muscle and bone, promoting better heart and lung health, and burning enormous amounts of calories. For the younger riders, though there is usually a period of time before the training wheels come off, and they must be duly educated regarding traffic rules; in fact, one of the interesting parts of learning to bicycle is that you must know as much about riding in traffic as an experienced adult driver. You may find your child asking questions about some signs and rules that you don’t think about much—and it may even be helpful to get a book or video about understanding what it means to become the operator of a ‘vehicle,’ which you technically are when you ride a bike.

If your child is going to be biking to school unsupervised, there are specific details that should be covered such as dealing with directions, and the possibility of taking that big ‘step’ in crossing the highway. In more recreational situations, while your children should understand how to follow all traffic rules, they must also understand and be prepared with basic safety measures.

Your child’s bicycle should be properly maintained so they have a good foundation to start. Tires should be full and holding air, the chain properly greased, and the brakes working like a charm. The bike should be equipped with a bell or horn, and if there is a possibility that your child will be riding at dusk, they should have functional lights. And while it is not recommended for a younger child to be riding in the dark, if your older child might be—or if that is the case for you—make sure you have as much lighting as possible, and reflectors. These can be applied to the bicycle, as well as your helmet and even clothing and shoes (another great tip for pedestrians to keep in mind too, minus the helmet). While explaining traffic laws to your child, you may want to brush up on the rules, signs, and signals here.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.