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When we think of driving hazards, we usually conjure ideas about cell phone use, speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And while these dangers are a very real part of commuting, we don’t generally think of roadways themselves as a prominent risk. But in a recent article published at Bloomberg Businessweek, there may be more than meets the eye when it comes to risky roadways – especially when it comes to highway guardrails.

The idea of unsafe highway guardrails surfaced when a safety advocate noticed a large, hook-like protrusion of bent mental hanging into the roadway. Just days earlier, an accident had occurred at the scene, which, in part, had caused the mental to distort. But after the safety advocate surveyed the car, the man’s condition and the existing damage to the guardrail, it became clear: the tragic car accident three days earlier was a case of impalement. In other words, the guardrail itself – perhaps due to defective design – had skewered the vehicle, “slamming [the driver] into the back seat.”

Police, nevertheless, attributed the accident to reckless driving according to reports. The safety advocate had begged to differ: the guardrail was defective and could have been in fact responsible for the accident.

“[The safety advocate] says something is seriously wrong with hundreds of thousands of Trinity guardrail systems on roadsides across the U.S.,” the article noted. “Claiming federal whistle-blower status, he’s suing the company and its Dallas-based owner, Trinity Industries, on behalf of U.S. taxpayers.” According to the advocate, the basis of the suit alleges that Trinity had made “quiet design changes” that resulted in a less-quality product, in turn transforming guardrails from life-saving devices into potentially deadly road hazards.

According to reports, the company made an alleged change to the “energy-absorbing end terminal” of the guardrail which would ordinarily stop a vehicle from careening off the roadways. But after an investigation into the matter, the guardrail had shown design defects in the way it reacted to collisions. Instead of stopping an accident, the guardrail had shown potential of impaling a vehicle in the event of a collision. In other words, these small changes in the guardrail design can cause a lot of damage – to the vehicle and, worse, to the individual – in the event of a car accident.

The lawsuit is currently pending.

Is there any way to avoid guardrails?

Knowing that guardrails may present a risk in the event of collision, many drivers want to know how to stay safe in the course of potential danger. While there aren’t any explicit ways to avoid hitting a guardrail, you can practice proactive driving with the following considerations:

SHARE THE ROAD WITH BIG RIGS. In some cases, a big rig truck may not see you when driving and you may be forced into a guardrail in the event of a sudden lane change. Be sure to share the road appropriately and know how to pass a big rig: always pass on the left side so the truck driver can see you. Also, avoid sudden stops when a big rig is behind you; it takes a tractor-trailer a much longer time to stop.

KNOW HOW TO HANDLE EMERGENCY STOPS. If you must stop your vehicle in an emergency, avoid using the shoulder if at all possible. In some cases, when using the shoulder, you may underestimate the degree of distance and accidentally careen into it. Try to exit the roadway safely, if you can, and handle your emergency in a safer place such as a parking lot.

When Accidents Happen

If you have been involved in a car accident and believe the guardrail may have furthered damage or injury, you may be entitled to financial recourse. For a FREE consultation with a personal injury attorney specializing in both car accidents and defective design, give us a call today at 1-800-655-6585.

Michael Pines, APCAbout

Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who specializes in car accident injury. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes on how insurance companies work and how they decided to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael's inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents.

There’s no doubt that traffic, hot weather, hunger and exhaustion can lead to a short temper. But even if you’ve had a bad day, you shouldn’t take it out on the road.

The advice follows on the heels of a recent San Diego freeway car accident having allegedly occurred due to road rage. The moments before the crash were caught on tape, leading investigators to believe the aggressive behavior was actually an incident of road rage.

The May 12th accident appears to be serious as one vehicle is shown to have flipped over into the embankment. Authorities believe the accident could have been the result of a prior altercation.

Injuries were reported ranging from bumps and bruises to back pain according to officials. Investigators are looking into the details preceding the accident and should malicious intent be founded upon either individual involved in the crash, charges could range from attempted murder to assault with a deadly weapon, reports say.

DON’T LET ROAD RAGE GET THE BEST OF YOU: 3 EASY WAYS TO TAKE THE HIGH ROAD

When drivers get behind the wheel – while in a bad mood –  the good news is that the sense of anger is momentary and only a fleeting feeling. In this sense, road rage simply isn’t worth it. The injury, loss of work, property damage and potential of losing your life is not worth the feelings of anger that are just temporary. Keep your mindset in check when you get behind the wheel!

1. Get some rest. Go to bed just a little earlier to catch some much needed ZZZs. Countless studies have shown that sleep is not only great for the body but for the mind as well. When you sleep, you’re less stressed – and everyone on the road will thank you!

2. Listen to easy music. The thumping bass and heavy instrumentals are enough to get anyone moving out of their seat. But avoid listening to heart-pounding, adrenaline-rushing music. The intensity can lead to unfavorable, intensified reactions on the road. Stick to easy listening for a calm and relaxing ride home.

3. Leave home earlier. Nothing can set your mood into panic than being late for an important meeting. Or when traffic springs midafternoon! Do your best to get out of the house earlier than usual – especially for the procrastinator types. You’ll have plenty of time to spare while possibly even enjoying your car ride.

WHEN ACCIDENTS HAPPEN

Sometimes, accidents are inevitable even when you’re on your best behavior. If you’ve been involved in an accident and believe the other person was driving recklessly, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a FREE consultation and to learn your about your legal rights, call us today at 1-800-655-6585.

 

 

Michael Pines, APCAbout

Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who specializes in car accident injury. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes on how insurance companies work and how they decided to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael's inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents.

The sun is out, the sand is warm and beautiful, white sailboats decorate our San Diego skyline. It’s boating season!

It goes without saying that San Diego is well-known for its year-round beaches, fair sailing conditions and enviable climate. So even though summer season hasn’t officially arrived, water-lovers and boaters are out this spring enjoying the best of San Diego.

But when it comes to boating safety, are you well-prepared? How well do you know your waters… and your boat?

This year and every year, we encourage boaters and beach-goers to take a training course in boat and water safety. For more information on boating safety including classes, visit San Diego County’s Boating Safety Website at http://www.sandiego.gov/lifeguards/safety/boating.shtml.

The advice follows on the heels of a recent deadly boating accident on the northern shores of California in far-neighboring San Francisco. According to reports at ABC News on behalf of the Associated Press, a sailing accident turned deadly when a sailboat crashed into a channel marker buoy in the San Francisco Bay.  The boat, a 42-foot-long Catalina, sustained damage as the mast snapped off the vessel.

“We’re not sure if they were struck when the mast snapped off or they were injured by the jolt of the impact from the collision,” said a city official.

One person tragically died as a result of the accident and another was treated for injuries at a local hospital.

Reports indicate the sailboat was racing non-competitively in a local yacht club’s annual “Beer Can” event. Although the name sports an alcoholic theme, one of the yacht club members told ABC News that the name is misleading as drinking while racing is discouraged by the club. In this case, alcohol was not a factor according to reports and neither were weather conditions.

The sailboat was rescued by the U.S. Geological Survey before it was brought back to port. Tragically, the individual was pronounced dead at the scene and

“At this point, it appears to be a tragic accident,” said the official.

“We’re devastated,” said the yacht member. “We’re going to just take it one day at a time.”

SAFETY TIPS FOR SAN DIEGO BOATERS

Do you know your San Diego waters well? How well? Did you know…

  • General Vessel Speed, Mission Bay Vessel Speed and Ocean Vessel Speed are regulated? Understand the rules that regulate your speed. As the City of San Diego states, “No person may operate a vessel in excess of five (5) miles per hour within 1,000 feet of the oceanfront coastline of the City of San Diego. Separate boating regulations apply to Mission Bay.” Speed regulations ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and any potential swimmers around you.
  • Rules differ for beaching and anchoring depending on location? If you’re bringing your boat to shore, know the rules and regulations that govern beaching throughout the city of San Diego – and that’s true for anchoring your boat as well.
  • “Special Use Areas” exist throughout San Diego harbor? Did you know that Mission Bay has designated swimming areas, open speed areas, 5 mph areas, and special use areas? Sailors need to be cognizant of all designated areas throughout the city San Diego. If you’re unsure, brush up on your knowledge by clicking here.

For complete information on boating rules and regulations in California, visit http://www.dbw.ca.gov/LawsRegs/

BOATING INJURIES IN SAN DIEGO

Unfortunately, boating accidents in San Diego happen every year. Countless injuries and even tragic deaths are attributed to unsafe boating or bad decision-making while aboard a water vessel. If you are injured as a result of a boating accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation as well as other legal rights. Call a personal injury attorney today at 1-800-655-6585 to discuss your case FREE of charge.

Michael Pines, APCAbout

Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who specializes in car accident injury. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes on how insurance companies work and how they decided to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael's inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents.

Even though we’re thousands of miles away from New York, the state’s latest auto show may prove to benefit the entire nation including our very own San Diego. That’s because the future of cars are all about to change thanks in part to the latest safety features unveiled at the New York Auto Show.

The truth is that countless car accidents occur throughout San Diego County and the rest of the country on a daily basis. But with the latest safety features, injuries and wrongful deaths could be a thing of the past – or at least heavily reduced.

According to ABC News, all kinds of vehicle types are sporting new safety features that may go miles in accident prevention. Chevy, Honda and Nissan were honorable-mentions. As for technology incorporated, the good news is that it’s all on the fly – meaning that safety features are available instantaneously when you need it most.

“You don’t have to think about it. It’s very intuitive. It gives you a quick warning that something is wrong,” said a spokesperson at Edmunds.com according to ABC News.

The Honda Fit and Chevy Trax were honored for its Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), a camera-like device that displays blind spots on the interior screen of the vehicle. The vehicles’ Forward Collision Warning (FCW) feature can detect a potential crash just moments before it occurs – and that can help drivers react in time to stop the car accident.

Although Lane Departure Warnings (LDW) are not necessarily new to the auto safety scene, the safety feature is now included on some Honda Fit models. When coupled with other safety features, drivers can now be safer than ever when it comes to accident injury prevention in San Diego County.

It’s not just Honda or Chevy focusing on safety – according to Edmunds, safety features like these have jumped from 84 models to 170 vehicle models from 2011 to 2014. That’s a 102 percent increase in car safety features found on the most common vehicle models – and that’s good news for many consumers in the market of buying a new car.

“Manufacturers have responded and just put them all on at once, just saying, ‘hey look, safety is something the public is always shopping for. It can’t hurt,’” Edmunds’ spokesperson said.

Nissan is also leading the safety pack with its latest “smart rear view mirror” which can help prevent rollover accidents related to child injury and death.

 

“You are able to offer a little wider view and remove some of the area you otherwise couldn’t see,” said another safety expert at the auto show.

ESSENTIAL SAFETY FEATURES TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR NEXT VEHICLE

Consumers in the market of buying a new car should consider the following safety features – these are considered most essential according to Readers’ Digest. Thankfully, it goes without saying that airbags and seatbelts are always standard in new vehicles today.

HEAD INJURY PROTECTION. Car accidents can lead to traumatic brain injury even at medium speeds. Head injury protection can help. Any form of protection is not likely visible. Foam or other energy-absorbing materials are generally contained within the door or ceiling frames. Alternatively, vehicles may feature head airbag systems.

HEAD RESTRAINTS. Head restraints are an extension of the car seat, designed to prevent the head and neck from flinging uncontrollably in the event of a San Diego accident. While front seats are always required to have head restraints, the rear seats are not. Look out for your passengers and choose a vehicle with fully adjustable head restraints in the rear seat.

ANTI-LOCK BRAKES. Whether buying new or used, always choose a vehicle with an anti-lock braking system (ABS). ABS prevents vehicles from locking when depressing the brake pedal in panic. This safety feature can prevent sliding and loss of control. According to Cars.com, some vehicles today including the 2011 Chevrolet Aveo, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Nissan Versa do not come with ABS.

TRACTION CONTROL. Even though we enjoy sunny weather here in San Diego, once rain falls, the whole city seemingly stops when it comes to traffic. Traction control can help you get a grip on the road. And because we don’t get rain very often, the roadways can be especially slippery at first fall. Traction control creates stability and disburses slip when power is applied to the vehicle wheels. All-wheel drive adds even greater control.

ELECTRONIC STABILITY CONTROL. While there are various brand names for electronic stability control, all trade names assist drivers to maintain control. It is different from traction control because it senses when a vehicle may lose control when over-steering or under-steering. Electronic stability control automatically applies brakes in these cases.

When Accidents Occur

Even the safest vehicle equipped with the safest driver is at risk for car accident injury. When accidents occur, it goes without saying that life can be stressful thereafter. Medical bills, lost work, pain and suffering – the list goes on – can wreak havoc when it comes to leading the course of our lives. Individuals who need legal advice in the wake of a San Diego accident are encouraged to speak to a personal injury attorney today. You may be entitled to financial compensation. Give us a call for a FREE consultation at 1-800-655-6585 to confidentially discuss your case.

Michael Pines, APCAbout

Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who specializes in car accident injury. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes on how insurance companies work and how they decided to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael's inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents.

After a deadly bus accident in Northern California last Thursday, two fortunate San Diego students walk away unscathed. The fatal bus accident tragically claimed the life of 10 people including five high school students according to recent reports.

The accident occurred when a charter bus collided head-on with another large truck that reports have identified as a FedEx truck. Flames engulfed the truck as students were under massive panic. Reports say that students did whatever they could do –including kicking out windows – in order to escape the fatal inferno. One of the surviving San Diego students at Valhalla High School, recalls the tragic event.

“I heard everyone screaming. As soon as I look up, the driver slams on the brakes, pulls down the horn and then I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ I saw the FedEx truck come right at us and a split-second later after the driver slammed on the brakes we ran into the FedEx truck head-on,” recalled the teenager.

“The FedEx truck was on fire; the flames were insane. The windows were blowing up because it was so hot in there. And then, there were large explosions on the bus because it was blowing up and everything was just starting to catch fire,” he added.

The teenager told NBC San Diego that the impact caused his body to be flung forward due to the immense impact. The force caused him to bite right through his lip.

Others were scrambling to escape as conditions began to escalate.

“I was all dizzy and shaken up,” he added. “There was an emergency exit window right next to me. I pulled that lever up and kicked that thing open and everyone followed me out that window. When I jumped out I fell, scraped up my hands and stuff, and people fell on top of me.”

It goes without saying the individuals who left the accident with minor injuries are fortunate to be alive. When it comes to our safety and our lives, sometimes it remains completely out of our hands.

BUS ACCIDENTS IN SAN DIEGO AND CALIFORNIA

In cases like these, there are very few things you can do to avoid an accident given the fact that another driver is in charge of your safety. But in the event of an accident, there are steps you can take to get out alive.

LOOK FOR THE EMERGENCY EXIT – IT COULD BE A WINDOW!

As you become acquainted with your surroundings while boarding the bus, locate the nearest exit which could very well be a window. If it is a window, you’ll likely have to kick it out or find the emergency handle to remove it from the body of the bus.

LET YOUR CHILDREN ESCAPE FIRST – THEN FOLLOW CLOSELY BEHIND.

Similar to instances when airplanes lose their air pressure, you want to help your child first before exiting the bus yourself. If you must exit out of an emergency window, quickly allow your children to exit then make your way out once you are sure all children have exited the bus.

GO TO A SAFE PLACE – AWAY FROM THE BUS!

Once you have safely exited the bus, be sure to remove yourself away from the collision as it could go up into flames or even explode. Walk away to a safe and secure place. Do not walk on the freeway if possible. Try to find a safe place away from traffic and away from the potentially hazardous accident scene. Do not flee the scene as you may need to be questioned by police.

CALL FOR HELP

If you have reached a safe and secure place, call 911 for help. Emergency crews can better assist those who may still need help. Use your discretion when helping others and don’t forget that a fiery bus has the potential to explode at any moment.

LEGAL HELP AFTER A SAN DIEGO TRAFFIC ACCIDENT

If you have been involved in a bus accident within San Diego or the greater California area, you may be entitled to legal rights including compensation for injuries. Give us a call for a completely FREE legal consultation: 1-800-655-6585. Speak to a personal injury attorney today to learn about and preserve your rights.

Michael Pines, APCAbout

Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who specializes in car accident injury. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes on how insurance companies work and how they decided to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael's inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents.

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