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Costa Mesa California Personal Injury Law Blog

Safety data from ZF shows benefits of external airbags

As with autonomous vehicles, external airbags have a long way to go before they are introduced to the driving public. California residents should know, however, that many car parts manufacturers are working to develop the technology behind external airbags. One of them, the ZF Group, has come out with some safety data that could get more manufacturers to look into the airbags.

According to ZF, vehicle occupants could have the severity of car crash injuries reduced by up to 40 percent with external airbags. ZF's own external airbags are meant to protect against side collisions. They deploy from the sides of a vehicle in 15 milliseconds, similar to that of a steering wheel airbag, and can absorb the force of a crash by acting as an additional crumple zone.

Compensating for the hazards of winter driving

Weather conditions in California can range from sunny and clear to snowy or icy depending on where a person travels. Therefore, it is important to inspect a vehicle prior to traveling to ensure that it can handle whatever road conditions it faces. Furthermore, a vehicle should have an emergency kit that includes blankets, jumper cables and tire chains. A shovel and ice scraper can also come in handy in an emergency situation.

There are many components that should be looked at prior to driving in winter weather. For instance, it is a good idea to make sure that the battery is in good shape and that antifreeze and other fluid lines are not clogged or blocked. Other items to inspect prior to traveling include the vehicle's wiring as well as the tires and tire pressure. It is never a good idea to mix radial and other types of tires on a car.

Study shows automatic emergency braking reduces accidents

Understandably, many vehicle owners in California have a tendency to gravitate toward cars and trucks designed with optimal safety in mind. An increasingly common safety feature included on vehicles is automatic emergency braking (AEB), which was the focus of a recent study by Insurance Institute For Highway Safety experts. In a nutshell, researchers concluded such systems work very well based on an assessment of 2013-2015 model year vehicles from General Motors. Ten models that included small and large sedans and full-size SUVs were evaluated for the study.

According to an IIHS researcher, General Motors provided vehicle identification numbers so police-reported accident data could be evaluated and filtered. Researchers specifically looked at auto accidents on vehicles with and without AEB safety systems. The systems used by this particular manufacturer offer two levels of protection: one that only alerts drivers of an impending collision and one that automatically applies the brakes to minimize impact severity.

NSC reports insufficiencies in states' auto accident reports

According to a report from the National Safety Council, no state has fields and codes for the reporting of all car crash factors in its police reports. The NSC pinpoints 23 such factors and found that Kansas and Wisconsin, which fared the best, captured only 14 of them. Residents of California will want to know how their state fares.

The answer is not that encouraging. California is one of six states that does not provide for the reporting of alcohol impairment at low levels (that is, below the .08 legal limit), even though crashes stemming from this are not uncommon. On the other hand, it is one of the four states that have decriminalized recreational marijuana use that includes fields and codes for recording positive marijuana results on drug tests.

Dog-bite nightmares: When a familiar pet attacks

It's not easy to imagine that your dog would attack another person. In fact, you take pride in the training your pet has received. You made sure it respects the authority of the humans in the household and that it would be gentle with visitors.

The trouble with having pets is that they are sometimes unpredictable. Even if a person has put an animal through much training, there is a risk that they could lash out. Why? There are a few reasons.

The dangers of driving at night

Many California motorists will find themselves commuting in the dark now that daylight saving time has ended, so it's important that they know the risks involved with nighttime driving. The nighttime compromises depth perception, color identification and peripheral vision, and it can also be dangerous for those with diminished night vision. This is why one of the best safety tips is to simply slow down.

It's also important to always keep headlights and windshields clean, and headlights should be aimed correctly. Those who wear glasses may want to invest in anti-reflective lenses. Distracting activities like turning on the radio or talking with other passengers should be avoided if one is having trouble seeing the road.

Enjoy safe driving in the sun

When people in California take to the roads for their daily commute, they may not expect problems on a bright, sunny day. However, bright sunlight can cause serious vision issues for drivers, especially when the rising and setting sun coincide with rush hour traffic. The light is particularly bright at this time and may lead to excessive glare, blocking drivers' vision and leading to dangerous situations. In fact, the risk of a severe car accident rises by 16 percent during periods of particularly bright sunlight. There are some guidelines that drivers can keep in mind to reduce their risk on a sunny day.

First, the sun visors installed in a car or truck can provide some relief. The built-in visors can be adjusted to block the most intense streams of light. The standardized equipment is designed not to block a driver's vision. In addition, sunglasses help drivers avoid the worst of the sun's rays, and it can be helpful to store a pair in the car for emergencies.

Elder abuse approaches epidemic proportions

As the baby boomer generation ages, the population of people living in nursing homes in California and across the country continues to grow. Various levels of care are required by nursing home residents, which means the facilities must employ caretakers of different training and skills. Elder abuse can come in many forms, but a high percentage of incidents occur when minimal, basic care is not provided to a resident.

A recent congressional report issued after studying the care provided at thousands of nursing homes across the country, revealed that 30 percent of nursing homes had reports of some form of elder abuse. Malnutrition, bedsores and preventable accidents are considered forms of abuse as are more direct forms such as assault and battery. Experts also explain how abuse can come in non-verbal and psychological forms.

Safety data released for National Teen Safety Driver Week

According to new research out of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, when teen drivers only have one other teen passenger in their vehicle, the rate of crash fatality goes up by 51 percent. When older passengers aged 35 years or older were in the vehicle, fatalities decreased by 8 percent. In 2016, there were more than 1 million crashes involving teen drives, resulting in more than 3,000 fatalities.

In a public statement, the AAA stated that these statistics show why it is so important for teen drivers to get more training with adult passengers before being allowed to operate a vehicle on their own or with only same-aged friends. Teen drivers are not only at more risk to themselves and their passengers but to all other people using the road at the same time. Fatality rates rise 17 percent for pedestrians and cyclists in accidents involving unsupervised teens.

Tips for driving during congested traffic

Driving when there is a lot of traffic can be a nerve-wracking experience. You have to ensure that you are being safe if you are stuck in a traffic jam. While it might seem like this is a good time to take care of other tasks, it truly isn't.

Consider these tips if you are ever stuck in your vehicle due to congested highways:

  • Keep your attention on the traffic around you. Playing games on your phone or eating can take your mind away from driving and may contribute to a crash.
  • Don't get too close to the vehicle in front of you. Leaving a three-second distance between vehicles is a good idea since it gives you time to stop if that vehicle does so suddenly.
  • Make sure you use your blinkers if you are going to merge or change lanes. This gives other drivers a chance to plan their reaction.
  • Pick a lane and stay there. The chance of you actually getting to your destination much faster by weaving in and out of lanes is slim. Aggressive driving can lead to crashes so it is best to remain in one lane.
  • Remember that blind spots exist for semitrucks and other vehicles, including your own. Checking these before you make moves and staying out of other vehicles' blind spots can help to keep everyone safe.
  • Avoid abrupt stops. Slamming on your brakes can lead to being rear ended. In order to stop appropriately, you have to watch what's going on ahead of you so that you can react accordingly.
  • Plan your route carefully. Try to avoid roads that have construction or that might have heavy traffic. You should also make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Rushing will only increase the chance that you will drive unsafely.
  • Have patience. Not all drivers are going to drive safely in traffic jams. Sometimes, this is because they simply don't know what to do. Try to be patient. Aggression and road rage can cause serious problems.
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