With 2016 just around the corner, the attorneys at Flaxman Law Group would like to wish you and your family a safe, happy new year. However, we’d also like to remind you that the New Year is a great time to make resolutions and changes. We hope you take this time to make resolutions that will make 2016 not only your most successful, but also your safest year yet.
One of the big areas where you can make changes involves your car. With tens of thousands of people injured or killed in car accidents across the country each year, few things affect your safety as much as driving. Simply making yourself a safer driver and reducing your chances of an accident can dramatically improve your chances of avoiding injury this year.
There are a number of resolutions and changes you can make right now to stay safer throughout the year:
1) Be ready to get a sober ride home at any time.
DUI accidents in Hollywood and across South Florida continue to be one of the most common and preventable causes of car related injury. In some cases, people make the wrong choices because they’re simply not prepared to drink. They may go out not planning to drink but end up imbibing anyway.
The best way to avoid drunk driving is to always have a plan in place. Have extra money in your glove compartment or wallet at all times, have an agreement with friends and family that you can call each other if you need a safe drive home, or have a breathalyzer gadget on your key ring to remind you to drive sober.
2) Refuse to drive distracted.
Distracted driving in Hollywood and South Florida is an epidemic that’s claiming lives. Distraction can include texting, cell phone use, drinking, smoking, eating, or doing anything while driving that takes your focus off the road. The best way to avoid distracted driving is to drive defensively. Thinking a few moves ahead forces you to focus on driving and on the road around you rather than on the many distractions possible in a car.
3) Check your fatigue levels and emotions before you get in the car.
Your emotions can be just as distracting as a cell phone, and they’re far more pernicious and subtle. If you’re angry or upset, take a walk before getting in your car. Make sure you are emotionally ready to put your full focus on driving.
Similarly, fatigue is another one of those things that most of us will simply ignore when it’s time to drive. Yet, studies have shown that fatigue driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Fatigue can affect your response times, decision-making, and driving as much as buzzed or drunk driving can. In some cases, fatigue can also cause you to drop off to sleep at the wheel, causing you to lose control of your car.
4) Get your car tuned up.
A car that is poorly maintained is unlikely to help you get out of a car accident if you need to stop on a dime or make a sudden maneuver. Take your car in for regular tune-ups and get it properly maintained. As you set up your calendars for the New Year, this is a good time to automatically put reminders into your phone or calendar app to get your car serviced at regular intervals.
5) Get a driving reality check.
Most of us think we are strong drivers. The frightening thing is that even bad drivers think that they drive well. Most driving instructors and safety professionals agree that most drivers are not aware of their own bad habits and safety risks. One of the best gifts you can give yourself in the New Year is to contact a driving instructor or other professional for a one-on-one lesson and review. A professional can tell you if you have bad habits that could be putting you at risk. If you have had some close calls, fender benders, or have been told that your driving could use some work, especially, it’s important to get a professional’s insight and to start addressing the issue if there is a problem.
The staff at Flaxman Law Group would like to wish you a safe and happy new year. If you need legal advice or assistance after any serious injury, do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free, confidential consultation.