When it comes to the most sensitive data like social security numbers and addresses, most consumers know to be careful with whom this information is shared. We look for secured websites when exchanging information like credit card numbers and addresses. When doling out our social security number, we provide it to trusted sources like banks and credit card issuers. We’re careful not to announce our address if we don’t need to. All these steps are an important part of safeguarding your identity.
But in the event of a car accident, most no one thinks of protecting their identity when exchanging information with the other driver. In fact, because exchanging your info after an accident is California law, many individuals not only give out their information, but often even the most sensitive data is unnecessarily exchanged.
Unfortunately, even if the thought never occurs, identity thieves are now using car accidents as a ploy to get sensitive information from unsuspecting consumers, later hijacking the individual’s identity. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, thieves are staging car accidents intentionally, and their goal is to get away with your information.
In a July survey, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners found that many drivers don’t know what kind of information to provide to the other driver in the event of an accident. It’s this naivety that thieves are preying on.
“Understanding what information to share, and with whom, will help keep you safe after an accident and decrease some of the challenges of filing a claim later on,” says Kevin McCarty, NAIC president and Florida’s insurance commissioner.
The organization warns consumers to provide only the bare information needed by state law.
“No one ever needs your Social Security number after an accident,” he says. “If someone asks you for it they could be trying to scam your insurance company by pretending to be hurt or trying to steal your identity.”
In the state of California, it’s mandatory to exchange the following information:
- Current residence address
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle identification number
- Current residence address of registered owner
- Proof of insurance or other financial responsibility
But as experts point out, much of this information – even though legally required — can lead to a stolen identity. “If someone has your driver’s license, they can use it to make a fake ID or to give to a policeman so that your driving record ends up with a ticket it on it,” warns Sam Imandoust, a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego.
If you’ve been involved in an accident and suspect that your identity may not be safe with the individual asking for it, you can always wait until a police arrives to voice your concern. Remember, if your intuition is warning you against exchanging information, your hunch can often prove to be right. Wait until police have arrived and discuss your options at the scene of the accident.
About Michael Pines
Michael Pines is a personal injury attorney on a campaign to help end senseless car accidents in San Diego one blog at a time. He has represented injured people for over 20 years in the greater San Diego area and is recognized as a leader in Accident and Injury Prevention. If you have been injured in an accident, call our firm today at 1-800-655-6585 for a FREE consultation.
A San Diego family is mourning the death of both Hortensia Perez and her father, Angel, who both passed away this week in dramatically different ways.
After the sudden death of her father, Hortensia was killed in what the San Diego Union Tribune is calling “a bizarre traffic accident.”
Perez, 29, was “distraught and overcome with emotion” after learning about her father’s death from heart attack. She pulled over on the side of Rancho Santa Fe Road near Calle Barcelona after explaining to her passenger that she no longer wanted to drive. The vehicle, a Honda Accord, jetted into the road somewhat, causing a Toyota 4 Runner to clip it as it attempted to pass.
According to reports, she was struck as the SUV passed.
The family’s 23-year-old brother, Jose, faces tragedy following the harrowing announcement of their deaths.
“We looked after each other,” he said Friday.
“It was hard for her to keep going, to move forward,” said another family member. “She was still devastated.”
Perez was transported to a local hospital but died about an hour later.
Dangers of an open road
There’s no doubt that our roadways pose a certain level of risk, whether we are in or out of our vehicles. But the risk for an injury accident increases significantly when drivers and passengers exit their vehicles and walk onto the open roadways.
We’ve reported on several injury accidents that have occurred as a result of removing oneself from the vehicle. For example, just last year, a tragic hit and run accident occurred on Route 78 after a man exited his vehicle and walked alongside the on-ramp. The message is clear: do not exit your vehicle on any road unless absolutely necessary.
Consider the following safety tips if you must pull over and exit your vehicle:
- Always use designated shoulders to pull over. If you can, try to use rest stops when available.
- Turn headlights on. Even if its daylight, it’s a good idea to turn your headlights on to alert driver’s to your presence on the shoulder.
- A small orange cone may be a good idea to call attention to your vehicle. If you decide to use a small orange cone, follow manufacturer’s instructions and do NOT place the cone into the roadway.
- Be prepared for serious emergencies and equip your vehicle with an emergency kit. Some of these kits include road flares which can also help call attention to your vehicle and distress. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
When an injury occurs
If you have been injured in an accident, the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC can help you recover the maximum financial amount allowed by law. Don’t talk to the insurance companies until you talk to us. Best yet, our consultations are free so call us today at 1-800-655-6585 to set up your zero-cost legal evaluation today.
There’s no denying that rainy weather in San Diego can be the culprit to many car accidents in the area. Just days ago, San Diego County experienced a bout of fresh rain – and even snow in some areas – as an early spring storm gained foothold throughout the region. As San Diego 10 reported, the Mar. 17th storm was so severe in some areas of the 805 freeway that it contributed to a seven car pile-up.
Fortunately, there were no serious injuries reported as a result of the massive accident although extensive car damage followed.
Earlier that same day, slick roads caused a big rig accident on Interstate 5 near Carlsbad, causing extensive damage as leaked fuel slicked the roadways. Three lanes were closed as a result.
As San Diego gears up for another rainy weekend, here’s what you need to know to stay safe and accident-free.
Understanding rain and roadways
When rain hits the surface of a dry road, a mixture of dirt, grime, grease, leaked oil, and fuel remnants combine to create a slick substance that coats the road, often leading to car accidents in San Diego. As a proactive driver, there are several steps that can be taken to help minimize the risk of accident when rain hits our roadways.
Avoid fresh rain if possible
The worst time to drive is during new rain. As the droplets hit the surface of the road, the slippery mixture is created and can stick to your tires and cause unstable conditions. Consider leaving at an alternate time if at all possible. Once enough water hits the surface of the road, much of the slippery substance can rinse off the roads and into public drainage.
No matter if it’s fresh rain, or rain that’s been falling for hours, do not speed. Slowing down is one of the most proactive ways to help reduce your risk of car accident in San Diego. By reducing your speed, you can safely react to stressful traffic situations including any possibility of slipping or hydroplaning.
Don’t use your brakes forcefully
The last thing you want to do is lock up your brake system and rear end the vehicle ahead – so take your time and try reducing your dependency on the brake. Simply take your foot off the accelerator –when logical and when possible – to help reduce your speed. Also, for harder braking, pump the brake as opposed to forcefully locking it into place.
Know your limits
When visibility is compromised, simply readjust your plans. Fortunately, here in San Diego, extreme weather is rare. But when the occasional rainstorm – or even snow storm – hits our county, be prepared and don’t risk it. Our good weather can often come with a price: less practice and knowledge of how to handle a vehicle in difficult weather. Know your limits and simply put off any drive when visibility, safety, and practicality are compromised.
About the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC
Michael Pines, founder, is San Diego’s Accident and Injury Prevention Expert with a running column at La Jolla Light. The firm is dedicated to helping injured people seek maximum financial recovery following injury accidents in San Diego and the surrounding areas. Call 1-800-655-6585 for a free legal review of your car accident injury case.
Creature comforts like GPS, WiFi, integrated music, and even Facebook access while driving is the raging trend among young car buyers. But as a new report suggests, the technology does not come without its major drawback since the risk for San Diego car accident injury can increase significantly.
The fact is that car manufacturers often compete with one another year-to-year on technology. As consumers continue to place importance on car technology, auto companies will continue to produce the latest and greatest creature comforts.
One of the latest trends includes Ford’s Sync technology, a voice-activated system that allows the driver to command the vehicle just by saying it out loud.
“You can receive text messages,” said Ford’s spokesperson. ”You don’t have to do anything other than drive the car and use voice commands. On the screen it will have a button, or you can use the voice command ‘Listen to text message’ and it will read it back to you. You can also respond with one of 20 messages that we have in the system.”
Needless to say, texting and driving is one of the major epidemics on our roadways today. While many states including California have enacted no-texting-while-driving laws, unfortunately there are still many drivers who engage in distracted driving, contributing to nearly 500,000 injuries every year, many of which are right here in San Diego.
The idea behind Ford Sync technology is to allow drivers to engage in activities that are safer – such as voice commanded texting – since drivers are going to likely text and drive regardless of the consequences.
“People are going to get text messages while they’re driving down the road, and their tendency is they’re going to want to look at it,” said Ford’s spokesperson. “So it makes it easier for you by actually having it read it to you instead of you fumbling on your phone and looking at the text message.”
Increase safety by decreasing distraction
Many drivers are already aware that texting and driving is against the law in California. Don’t risk a San Diego car accident injury and keep texting as an activity done outside the vehicle. Use these helpful hints to stay on the right side of the law – most importantly, it can save your life!
Use a text demobilizer app
A cell phone app like Drive Safe.ly can help you kick your habit of texting and driving. Other apps use innovative technology that prevents texts from being sent or received while the car is moving. And, some apps even award drivers with cash and gift cards.
Use Bluetooth technology
While texting and driving is still an epidemic, cell phone use is still largely responsible for car accidents nationwide. Use a Bluetooth device to accept emergency calls when necessary. Preferably, however, if you must make or receive a call, do so by pulling over to a safe and legal location such as a parking lot as opposed to a shoulder or on-ramp. Never stop your vehicle on a public roadway unless it is for an emergency.
‘Old-fashioned’ distraction is still a distraction
Radio, a car full of children, eating, applying makeup, or any other activity that takes your eyes off the road can be dangerous to you, your passengers and the other drivers around you. Do not engage in activities that will prevent you from concentrating on the road ahead. And if you find yourself in a stressful situation, try reducing the distractions around you. For instance, if you have a car full of children, turn off the radio altogether to reduce the distraction levels within the vehicle.
About the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC
Michael Pines, founder, is a personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents with a running column at the La Jolla Light, Del Mar Times, and Rancho Santa Fe Review. Michael is a trusted legal advisor for those injured in car accidents within the greater San Diego area.
The San Diego personal injury attorneys at our firm often see accidents that occur as a result of drowsiness, but a high-profile case reminds all of us that sleep-related accidents can happen to anyone. Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Murray of drove off Interstate 190 last week in what was reported to have occurred as a result of sleepiness despite arising speculation.
The accident occurred in the pre-dawn hours, a common time of day when sleep-related accidents can often occur. Lt. Gov. Murray said in a statement that he had been obeying traffic laws by driving 65 miles-per-hour but the details of his accident were unclear, although he stated he had slid off black ice.
“Listen, this was an accident. It happened very quickly and I’ve taken responsibility for that. I don’t know what more I can say other than that I’m anxious to get back to work,” Murray replied.
The Boston Globe reported that Murray cited poor sleep the night before since his 5-year-old daughter had been up the night before. Despite speculation, Murray assures the public the accident had occurred due to falling asleep.
“Around quarter of five I gave up trying to sleep and decided to take a drive, get a coffee and a paper and prepare for the day,’’ he said in a statement to the paper. “I did so to get a sense of the storm and power damage in the aftermath of the surprise snow storm that had just hit much of the state.’’
Keeping alert behind the wheel
It’s never been more important to drive while you’re well-rested and alert. Sleepy driving is one of our top causes of car accidents in San Diego. Although it’s often easier said than done, you can do your part to reduce the risk of accident by considering these tips for safe driving.
Try to drive during daylight hours
If you have a flexible schedule, arrange your meetings in the afternoon to avoid dusk and dawn, some of the most common times for sleep-related car accidents.
Do not drive when fatigued
It goes without saying, but consider driving when you’re alert, well-rested, and able to do so without the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Know the warning signs of fatigue
If you feel any of the following symptoms, avoid driving. Keep it safe, and either pull to a safe rest area, ask another driver to take over, or simply sleep until you are ready to safety drive.
- Heavy eyes
- Stiffness and cramps
- Humming in ears
- Delayed reaction times
- Fumbling with ordinary car functions
- Crossing lanes unintentionally
If you’ve been injured in a car accident
Sometimes, car accidents can happen even with prevention in place. If you have been involved in an accident and suspect it was someone else’s fault, we may be able to help. Every San Diego personal injury lawyer at our firm works hard to get injured people maximum compensation. The consultation is free so call us now at 1-800-655-6585.