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Houston Personal Injury Law Blog

Can cigarette smoking cause a car crash?

Driving drunk and taking illegal drugs before getting behind the wheel is not only dangerous but against the law as well. However, some drivers do not realize that other types of behaviors may increase the probability of a motor vehicle collision also. For example, someone may be more likely to cause a car accident if they are smoking a cigarette while they are driving. Even though this may not seem like something that would cause a crash, there are various concerns associated with this behavior.

According to information published by the National Institutes of Health, the results of one study showed that smokers were more likely to be involved in a traffic crash than those who did not smoke. The author brought up a number of possible explanations for these results, such as the toxicity of carbon monoxide and the possibility that smoking behind the wheel distracts people from driving.

Driving while you are sick

People often focus on driving while drunk, drowsy or distracted, and this is important because all three of these behaviors can be incredibly dangerous (not to mention against the law). However, there are many other instances where a person’s ability to drive safe may be impaired. For example, someone who is struggling with a head cold or some other type of viral or bacterial infection may struggle to drive properly. Unfortunately, people who drive when they are sick can increase the chances of a crash for multiple reasons.

Sometimes, people who are struggling with a temporary illness have to drive to the doctor or to pick up medicine or something else they need to help themselves recover. Unfortunately, they may become involved in an accident because their illness interferes with their driving abilities. For example, they may be extremely tired because their sleep has been disrupted by the cold (being unable to sleep due to a plugged nose, sore throat, etc.). Not only can drowsy driving be caused by a lack of sleep, but some drivers take medicine to help with their cold and this can also lead to intoxicated and drowsy driving.

How should you handle a fender bender?

Texan residents like you may have been in small crashes before. "Fender benders" are one particularly well-known type of small vehicle crash, and typically involve one car tapping the bumper of another. However, even these small crashes can have a big impact.

As FindLaw states, the first and most important thing is to understand how to handle small crashes. Your actions in the immediate aftermath can make all of the difference later down the line, especially if you pursue damages. Therefore, the first things to do are check for sparks, signs of fire, and injury. After you've determined the situation isn't immediately dangerous, you can get out of the way of traffic. To preserve the incident as it occurred, take pictures of whatever you can. Call the police as well, and exchange contact information with the other driver.

Driving with bald tires

A number of risk factors can make a driver more likely to collide with either another vehicle or an object. However, some of these risks come from carelessness, such as a person who fails to replace their tires when necessary. Some drivers may not be aware that their tires are bald, endangering the lives of others and putting their own safety in jeopardy. Others may realize that they need to get new tires, but they might push it off due to poverty or procrastination. Regardless, whenever someone drives around when their tires are in very poor shape, they increase the chances of things going wrong on the road.

When someone drives with bald tires, they may blow out on the freeway, leading to an accident. During the winter, poor road conditions are seen across many parts of the U.S. and those who do not have adequate tires may be more likely to lose control of their vehicle. For example, someone with bald tires may lose control of their car while trying to drive up a hill or after driving through a puddle on the road.

Tips for driving safely on gravel roads

There are numerous dirt and gravel roads throughout Texas. In Houston and elsewhere, you can check to see if you will need to travel down a gravel road any time soon with this intuitive map

Although many drivers travel down these roads recreationally or to get to work, they pose numerous dangers. You need to drive carefully to avoid a collision with another vehicle or an accident involving yourself. 

2017 sees spike in truck accident deaths in Texas

If you are like most people who live in Texas, you find yourself next to semi-trucks or other large commercial vehicles while on the road on a relatively regular basis. These big rigs are essential for many things as they transport the goods people need to use and purchase for both consumers and businesses alike. However, these vehicles can also pose serious risks to other motorists if they are involved in accidents.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 91 more people were killed in large truck accidents in Texas in 2017 than the year before. In 2016, 558 lives were lost in these collisions statewide. In 2017, 649 truck crash fatalities were recorded in Texas.

Driving in flood waters

If you live in certain areas of Texas, you may be at greater risk from floods. Whether caused by a huge coastal storm or a rain storm that lasts a long time, flooding presents danger to anyone in its path, and it is important to understand how to stay safe. As a driver, you may think you can drive on roads that have flooded over, but this is not a good idea. The best thing to do is turn around, but if you have to drive through make sure you practice extreme caution.

According to Georgia's Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, flooding is a significant cause of death every year, and around half of these fatalities occur in vehicles during flash floods. Moving water is extremely powerful, and it does not take very much of it to cause serious issues. In fact, only two feet of water can carry even big vehicles away. Because of this, it is never a good idea to try and drive through water as it is difficult to see how deep it is and what the condition of the road underneath is.

How do truckers prevent fatigue?

When driving in Texas, it is not uncommon to find yourself sharing the road with an 18-wheeler or some other large truck. These vehicles are needed as they transport and deliver many essential items from gasoline to groceries and more. However, an accident involving one of these vehicles can be extremely dangerous. This is why truckers need to be very careful to operate vehicles safely and avoid becoming tired when on the job.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Hours of Service rule provides oversight and guidance on how many hours a day a trucker can drive or work. While a truck driver is allowed to work 14 hours in one day, they are only allowed to drive a maximum of 10 hours in one day. Those 10 hours are not allowed to be consecutive as a rest period of at least 30 minutes is required after eight hours of work.

What you need to know about uninsured motorist coverage

When it comes to car insurance, deciding the exact type of coverage you need can be quite difficult. Although your insurance agent may advise and inform you about your options, the truth is that your agent has the company's best interests at heart.

It is your responsibility to take out the insurance coverage that best protects you in the most common circumstances you are likely to face on the roads. The reality is that many of today's motorists drive uninsured , and if you have a crash with them and they were at fault, you may end up without compensation. One way to protect yourself from this eventuality is to include uninsured motorist coverage when you buy car insurance.

Pedestrian accidents during Halloween

People are struck by vehicles while walking throughout the year, but some occasions are especially likely to result in pedestrian accidents. For example, Halloween is a particularly dangerous time for those who go from door to door while wearing costumes and ask for candy. A driver may collide with a pedestrian at a relatively low speed, which can still be dangerous, or they may even run into a trick-or-treater at a high speed, claiming their life or causing them to become seriously harmed.

It is important for parents to remind their kids of the dangers they may face while trick-or-treating and to be cautious while on or near the road. Unfortunately, some reckless drivers pose a risk to pedestrians regardless of the precautionary measures that pedestrians take. For example, someone who drinks too much at a Halloween party and decides to get in their car may veer off of the road or drive far too fast through a residential neighborhood with many children walking around.

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