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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.

In my last blog post, I wrote about a recent pile-up accident in Pennsylvania. Just one day later, a similar type of chain-reaction car accident occurred in San Diego, reminding all of us that traffic accidents can and will happen close to home.

According to FOX5 San Diego, the multiple vehicle accident occurred just outside the Chula Vista area near Sweetwater Regional Park. Unfortunately, one man was killed at the scene of the accident. No other injuries were reported.

The accident was suspected to have occurred as a result of driving while intoxicated. The alleged drunk driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

The accident occurred when the motorist lost control over her vehicle while traveling northbound on State Route 125 in Chula Vista, careening into a center guardrail north of San Miguel Ranch Road. Soon thereafter, four other vehicles piled into each other and the stalled vehicle in an attempt to avoid the wreckage.

The northbound expressway was closed for 5 ½ hours to clear the roadway of debris.

According to reports, the accident occurred around 1:45 a.m. – one of the most dangerous times of road travel when it comes to alcohol-impairment according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

SAFE TRAVELS: TIME OF DAY MATTERS

In my previous post, I discussed the 3-second rule and its effectiveness at preventing some rear-end car accidents in San Diego. Take a moment to get acquainted with the 3-second rule now – knowing what to do may prevent the next future accident in San Diego!

Let’s turn to time of day for a moment. Did you know that two-thirds of all traffic accidents between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. are the result of alcohol impairment according to a 2009 study at the NHTSA? More than half of these accidents have resulted in fatalities. When it comes to safe driving, the time of day you travel can make all the difference in the world.

Here’s what you can do to stay safe.

SKIP LATE-NIGHT TRAVELS IF POSSIBLE. It goes without saying: if you don’t have to drive, don’t do it. Try to postpone late night travel if you can. Since incidence of drunk driving spikes in after midnight and in the early hours of the morning, put off any road or freeway travel until after the morning. Your risk of DUI-related accidents goes down after 9 a.m. – only 5 percent of all DUI-related traffic accidents occur in the mid-morning hours.

USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IF POSSIBLE.  Take a bus, subway or light-rail instead of driving a vehicle if you must travel late at night or into the early morning hours.

INCREASE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU & THE VEHICLE AHEAD. In an emergency situation, you’ll need to act fast and make quick decisions on your feet. The 3-second rule is a good start but you may want to increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. You’ll have more time to react if in the event of an emergency.

IF AN ACCIDENT OCCURS… If you have been involved in a late-night or early-morning accident and suspect it was the result of an alcohol-impaired driver, you may be entitled to legal rights such as compensation for lost wages, injuries, medical bills and even pain and suffering. It’s important to speak to a qualified car accident attorney right away to ensure your rights are preserved. For a FREE consultation, call 1-800-655-6585 today.

 

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 city of San Diego is no stranger to pile-up accidents. In fact, every few months, it seems we hear about traffic jams and consequent accidents due to following too closely. This time, unfortunately, Philadelphians made headlines for a massive car accident pile-up involving up to 100 cars according to some media reports although local police have reported a much smaller number.

The accident occurred just north of Philadelphia during prime morning rush hour, 8:25 a.m., according to FOX 5 San Diego.  Officials also noted that several accidents involving fewer vehicles took place just steps away from the larger pile-up.

Traffic clogged the interstate for miles and it took hours to clear the roadways.

Fortunately, no deaths were reported although three individuals sustained minor personal injuries.

While media reports say that up to 100 vehicles were involved in the accident, police officials say the actual number may be closer in to 15 – a wildly different number, and fortunately, a lot fewer accidents to boot.

“Some people are assuming it’s more because when you look at the camera views from some of the local affiliate TV station helicopters, it shows all the traffic that’s backed up behind it,” Capone said. “But many of those vehicles were not involved in the accident — they’re just stuck in traffic behind the various accident scenes.”

Officials say that freezing rain is to blame. It goes without saying that any type of moisture – much less frozen, slippery liquid – can cause massive problems for commuters when the three second (or more) rule is not followed.

THREE SECOND RULE: WHAT’S IT TO YOU?

When it comes to safe, predictable driving, the 3-second rule is essential. The 3-second rule means following the vehicle ahead by at least 3 seconds. It’s important to note that drivers should increase time when adverse conditions are present.

Know the 3-Second Rule

Prevent a future San Diego accident by following the 3-second rule. Here’s how.

1) Locate a stationary object such as an overpass, light-post or tree.

2) As the vehicle ahead passes the object, count to three seconds.

3) Before you pass the same stationary object, you should just be reaching the number three in your count.

Drivers should adjust the time allotted between vehicles in the presence of poor weather conditions such as fog, marine layer, rain and ice.

So just why is the 3-second rule so important? To answer in short, it simply allows for more time to react to a sudden stop, swerve or other emergency situation.

The truth is that an accident is stressful and can lead to missed work, medical bills and a lifetime of permanent injury. The 3-second rule can help you gain a little more control on the road—and when it comes to stress-free, safe driving, who can’t appreciate that?

When you head out of work today and begin your drive home, don’t forget, San Diego – follow the 3-second rule!

REAR-END COLLISION INJURIES: NEXT STEPS

If you have been injured in a rear-end car accident and suspect it was the other person’s fault, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Right now, it’s important to speak to a personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are preserved. The consultation is completely FREE; give us a call at 1-800-655-6585 and speak to a San Diego lawyer about your car accident now.

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.

Happy New Year!

We hope that everyone in San Diego celebrated the New Year safely. In 2014, we urge all Southern California locals to commit to driving safely and legally this upcoming year. You should know that drunk driving kills 28 people per day in the United States according to MADD. Let this year be free from all types of accidents – and let it begin with you and your safe driving choices!

During this time of year, DUI arrests spike thanks in part to holiday parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Although many public programs aim to stop drunken driving, irresponsibility on our roadways continues to persist. A new test, though, may break the cycle.

According to a recent article at the Los Angeles Times, Southern California police are cracking down on impaired driving with the use of oral swab testing. Instead of older detection methods, police can quickly assess the state of a suspected drunken driver with this fast-response swabbing system.

“Traditionally, our office has focused on drunken driving cases,” said Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer. “We’re expanding drug collection and aggressively enforcing all impaired-driving laws.”

Although suspected drunk drivers are required to submit to blood tests, oral swabs may improve the initial response process which could keep our roads safer in the long run.

Oral swabs are also highly sensitive. Cocaine, Xanax, methadone, THC, methamphetamine, amphetamines and other narcotic analgesics are quickly detected in just 8 minutes. The efficiency of the test could better improve police response while keeping streets safer in San Diego and throughout the Southern California area.

In California alone, nearly 193,000 people were arrested on charges related to drunken driving from 2003 to 2011. In that same period, about 2,140 people were killed and 30,900 injured due to car accidents involving drugs or alcohol. It’s never been more important to put an end to driving under the influence.

*POST-HOLIDAY SAFE DRIVING REMINDERS*

It goes without saying that drivers should NEVER get behind the wheel under the influence. To ensure safe and legal driving this year and well beyond the holidays, always be sure to:

DESIGNATE A SAFE AND SOBER DRIVER AHEAD OF TIME. Before heading out for your evening festivities, be sure to designate a driver and stick to the plan. Choose a responsible driver willing to abstain from alcohol and drugs for the entire evening.

CONSIDER A PRE-PAID TAXI RIDE. Going it alone? No worries. Prepay your taxi ride so you’re not left stranded and desperate to get home.

EDUCATE YOUNG-AGED DRIVERS. The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25 year olds (23.4 percent) according to MADD. It doesn’t hurt to remind young sons, daughters, nieces and nephews that driving under the influence is not only illegal but it is also morally and socially wrong.

Countless injuries and wrongful deaths in San Diego occur every year due to impaired driving. This year, let’s work together to prevent DUI-related car accidents. For more information on injuries caused by drunken driving, please click here.

Here’s to a safe, happy and healthy 2014.

 

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.

Car accidents in San Diego are, unfortunately, a daily occurrence. While many drivers are fortunate to walk away from an accident unscathed, others are faced with the real possibility of injury and even wrongful death. In cases like these, it can take days, weeks and even years for the details to resolve.

A year following the fatal accident of Angela August, 25, and Jimmy Arevalo, 59, the case has finally come to a close this month. Sunny Hall of El Cajon, Calif. pleaded guilty for her role in a fatal highway car accident in San Diego.

According to reports, the fatalities occurred when Hall, who was suspected of driving under the influence, hit Arevalo after he pulled over onto the shoulder to assist August who had rolled over her car on Interstate 8 west of Tavern Road. Hall struck the two individuals after losing control over her vehicle, careening into the shoulder.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Hall’s vehicle collided into Arevalo and pinned August inside the car, causing both to tragically die as a result of the accident.

Hall pleaded guilty to charges of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter.

USING THE SHOULDER: HOW TO DO SO SAFELY

Reports indicate that Arevalo stopped to help August after seeing her vehicle rolled over on I-8. After pulling onto the shoulder, he was struck by Hall’s oncoming vehicle.

When it comes to pulling over in an emergency, here are steps you can take to ensure your safety. While no accident in San Diego is completely preventable, there are ways to help reduce your risk of injury or death.

EXIT THE FREEWAY IF POSSIBLE. Instead of using the shoulder, try to exit the freeway and pull over into a parking lot in the event of an emergency. Shoulders can be extremely dangerous and many accidents occur as a result of having to pull over. A parking lot is a much safer option when possible.

CARRY ROADWAY CONES. If you must use the shoulder to pull over, use light-reflective cones to call attention to your vehicle. DO NOT place the cones in the freeway or anywhere beyond the lines that delineate the shoulder area. Use the cones within the shoulder to increase visibility.

CALL 9-11 IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. If you’ve been injured or suspect another person has been injured, pull over safely and call 9-11.

HELPING OTHERS. Pulling over into the shoulder area to assist other drivers can prove to be dangerous considering the limited space available within the emergency lane and the likelihood of being accidentally hit. If you see a vehicle pulled over, exit the freeway, park in a safe area, and then call for help. Use your discretion whether to call the non-emergency police line or 9-11.

FREEWAY- AND SHOULDER-RELATED INJURIES IN SAN DIEGO

If you have been injured in a freeway- or shoulder-related accident and suspect it was the fault of another driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, future treatment and pain and suffering. For more information and to schedule your FREE legal consultation, call 1-800-655-6585 or submit the details of your case online.

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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