COVID-19 kept many people off of the roads this summer, but this doesn’t change the fact that August is historically a disaster when it comes to car accidents. As we come off of summer, we’d like to reexamine what goes wrong in August so we can be safer when next August rolls around. We polled a panel of personal injury attorneys who have an up-close perspective on the often devastating effects of these accidents. Here’s what they had to say.
Jeffrey Nadrich

Jeffrey Nadrich

Jeffrey Nadrich is the managing partner of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP, a California personal injury law firm with offices in Los Angeles, SanFrancisco, Modesto, Fresno, Palm Desert, and Tracy.

Use the “3-second rule”

Insurance companies nationwide identified hard braking as one of the primary causes of auto accidents when they named August the most dangerous driving month in 2018.

You can prevent accidents caused by hard braking by keeping an adequate distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. This will give you enough time to stop if the vehicle in front of you brakes hard, preventing you from rear-ending the vehicle in front of you. This may also prevent you from being rear-ended by enabling you to slow down more gradually or steer around the vehicle in front of you instead of braking hard when the vehicle in front of you slows down or stops.

Use the “3-second rule” to prevent accidents by avoiding tailgating. You are following a vehicle too closely if it takes you less than three seconds to pass the same point the vehicle in front of you just passed.

Never drive under the influence of alcohol

If you drive in a busy city it can be a challenge to drive every day. Take these extra precautions when driving.

  1. (Get a) safety check of your vehicle.
  2. Check your tires (ensure proper pressure and no nails or holes present). Check your head and tail lights, ensure turn signals and brake lights are fully operational.
  3. Adjust your seat to ensure comfort, and mirrors to ensure you have an adequate view from all angles. Be sure you buckle up. Seatbelts are often essential in saving lives. Now you are ready to drive.
  4. While taking your journey you want to be sure to follow all traffic signs, signals, and control devices. Remember the other driver doesn’t know your next move and you don’t know theirs so be cautious. Always use your turn signal, and do not travel too closely behind. If the roads are clear it will be easy to speed to your destination. This is a huge NO-NO. You can utilize cruise control to avoid unnecessary and unsafe speeding.
  5. If you have a specific time to arrive at your destination leave earlier than you think you should. This should aid you in not going over the designated speed.
  6. Always be attentive to the road and cars around you. You want to observe these things: no multi-tasking (putting on make-up, eating, looking for music, reading texts, holding your phone, operating your navigation). You can do these things before you drive. If you know you have a long road ahead, you may want to designate a DJ or make a road-trip playlist. Another good rule of thumb is to turn your phone on “do not disturb” while driving. This will help you ignore texts and calls that may take your focus off the road.
  7. And the biggest tip: NEVER drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you follow these simple safety tips prior to driving. You will increase your chances of having a safe trip.
Attorney Maria M. Barlow

Attorney Maria M. Barlow

Attorney Maria M. Barlow is an Illinois Licensed Attorney and founding attorney at The Law Offices of Maria M Barlow LLC.
Israel F. Piedra

Israel F. Piedra

Israel F. Piedra is an associate with Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C. in Nashua, New Hampshire. He is a graduate of Bates College and Boston College Law School. His practice focuses on personal injury law and general civil litigation, including appeals.

Extra precautions

August is often one of the most dangerous months of the year to drive, with more car accidents and more motor vehicle fatalities. There are a lot of reasons for this increased volume of collisions. Most obviously, folks are often on vacation from school or work, and that means more people on the roads. This includes, in particular, teenagers and college students home from school. These drivers are less experienced and often less skilled on the roads. They are more prone to distractions. August (and the other summer months) are also prime time for parties, beach, concerts, and other social gatherings.

Inevitably, folks drink at these events and then may drive under the influence. Even if they don’t drink, people may be tired when coming home, and it could cause them to be less alert. Finally, possibly because of their reduced inhibitions, drivers are less likely to wear life-saving seatbelts during the summer months, including August. This confluence of factors creates increased danger on the roads in August, and drivers should exercise extra caution.

Pay attention

August is the most dangerous month to drive in my opinion due to five basic variables.

  1. It is the end of the summer and drivers tend to have a lackadaisical attitude.
  2. It is the time when the weather is often the best and drivers tend to be relaxed while driving. This is in contrast to the winter months when sleet, snow, and rain require a driver to pay extra close attention to their driving and be on their toes.
  3. The days are the longest and the sun can interfere with the driving and makes drivers more fatigued.
  4. Often times, vehicles are not properly maintained as would be the case in the winter months.
  5. August is approaching the end of the summer and more time is spent on road trips in which drivers often drive for a prolonged time or under the influence.

As a personal injury attorney of over 20 years, it is my opinion that most accidents result from inattentiveness. It is important for drivers to pay attention to their actions on the road and not take a laid back approach. It is equally important to pay attention, if not more attention, in the summer months and keep your guard up. Wear sunglasses to avoid direct sunlight and pay attention to the glare. When changing lanes make sure to signal, wait for a few seconds to allow time for any cars in the blind spot to appear in your mirror. Maintain your vehicle in good working order and most importantly, do not drive when you are tired.

Evan M. Oshan, Esq

Evan M. Oshan, Esq

Evan M. Oshan, Esq., Founder of Oshan & Associates, P.C..
John Leppler

John Leppler

John Leppler, Attorney, Albers & Associates. He graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2014 and from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2011 with a major in business – sport management.

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Do the following

It is important to do certain things before driving, and it is as important to do certain things immediately after you get into a motor vehicle accident.

Before you intend to drive, do the following:

  1. Put away your phone so you do not text and drive.
  2. If you have had any alcohol, do not drive and use Uber or Lyft instead, and
  3. Make sure you have automobile bodily injury insurance for you and others who are going to be riding with you.

Immediately after you get into a vehicle accident, do the following;

  1. Get the other driver’s insurance information,
  2. Call the police to come to the accident scene and stay at the accident scene until the police arrive,
  3. Take photographs of the motor vehicles involved and the accident scene, and
  4. Immediately seek medical treatment.

Be very cautious on the road

August is definitely one of our busiest months in the PI world.

1. Definitely stop texting or using your phone or any electronic device (such as a laptop), while driving. Distracted driving remains one of the biggest dangers on our roadways.

2. If you are a passenger, including in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, please be mindful of whether your driver is being safe. It is extremely important to make sure that your Uber or Lyft driver is driving at a safe speed, not following too close, not looking at his or her phone while driving, watching the road carefully, and that sort of thing. Whenever I’m a passenger in an Uber (which is rare because I don’t feel safe with a stranger driving me around), I always ask the driver, when I enter the car, to please drive carefully and watch the speed and not use his or her phone. If you don’t protect yourself, there’s a good chance that no one else will.

3. Obviously don’t drink and drive, such as after summer beach parties.

4. Be careful while driving on vacation. Since I handle car accidents in Central Florida, and we get many tourists visiting each year, we see a lot of accidents caused by those driving in our city who aren’t familiar with our roads. If you are driving in an area with which you aren’t familiar, please exercise extra caution.

Far too many people seem oblivious to the very real and serious dangers they face every time they get into a vehicle. We all need to be very cautious on the roads because many very serious and fatal accidents happen every day.

Ms. Tina Willis

Ms. Tina Willis

Ms. Tina Willis handles serious injury, accident and death cases in Orlando, Florida. She is a former law professor and big firm defense lawyer at Orlando personal injury lawyer, who fights hard to help victims recover every penny they deserve.

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