What Happens if You Tamper with an Ignition Interlock Device?

In Georgia, having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle is a standard penalty for second and subsequent driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. IIDs are similar to breathalyzers, except they connect to the car’s ignition system. The driver must blow into the device before starting the car. If the IID detects any amount of alcohol, the car will not start.

Newer IID models require the driver to also blow into the device at certain intervals while driving. This idea is to prevent a driver from having a sober friend blow into the IID to help start the car.

Georgia drivers arrested for DUI have the option to request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing or install an IID on their vehicle. However, Georgia drivers that have been arrested for a second DUI within five years are required to install the device for 12 months.

There are two ways a person who is arrested for DUI in Georgia can lose their license:

  • Administrative Per Se: If you fail a breathalyzer test or refuse to take one, your license will be confiscated immediately. You will receive a 10-day temporary license from the arresting officer. During this period, you can request a hearing to challenge your suspension. If you do not request this hearing, or if your challenge is unsuccessful, your license will automatically be suspended for one year.
  • Judicial: This occurs when a Georgia court sentences you after a trial or plea agreement. Penalties include license suspension, jail time, and community service hours. Even if you are not convicted in the court of a DUI offense, your administrative suspension can still be in effect.

A driver who refuses a sobriety test or yields a BAC over the legal limit of .08 percent can choose to put an interlock ignition device on their vehicle. This is called a voluntary interlock. This voluntary interlock takes place before the case ever goes to court.

They must keep the device on their car for at least 12 months regardless of whether the case is dismissed, they are found not guilty, or the charge is reduced to reckless driving.

In cases where a driver refuses a sobriety test, and there is an automatic license suspension, an IID installation can allow them to drive for 12 months instead of losing their driver’s license for 12 months.

A driver convicted of DUI may also be required to receive clinical treatments or attend diversion and risk reduction programs as well.

Second DUI Convictions

If a person is arrested for a second DUI offense within five years of the first, they automatically receive a 120-day license suspension. After 120 days, they must have an IID installed on their vehicle for 12 months. They may be able to get a work-driving permit instead of losing all driving privileges with the IID.

Tampering

Georgia has strict laws about tampering with an IID, as follows:

a) It is unlawful for any person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 42-8-111 to request or solicit any other person to blow into an ignition interlock device or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing the person so restricted with an operable motor vehicle.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to blow into an ignition interlock device or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 42-8-111.

(c) It is unlawful to tamper with, or circumvent the operation of, an ignition interlock device.

Consequences of Tampering with an IID

If a person is convicted of tampering with an IID, they will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. In most cases, a judge will require someone on probation who is caught tampering with an IID to finish their sentence in jail instead of at home. Another possible outcome is that the judge will extend how long the IID will need to remain on the vehicle. It is simply not worth tampering with an IID. And, if a friend who blows into the IID so you can start your vehicle is caught, they will face penalties as well.

What if an IID Registers Alcohol on my Breath?

Every person on probation for DUI is prohibited from consuming any alcohol. The IID does not measure blood alcohol level – it detects any amount of alcohol.

The driver’s probation officer has access to every sample provided on the IID. This record is printed out or downloaded for the probation officer’s review every 30 days in Georgia by law.

As noted previously, newer IIDs require a breath sample while driving to ensure that the person that provided the breath sample to start the car is the person still driving it. The device will log attempts to circumvent blowing into the device to start the car. These results will also be forwarded to the driver’s probation officer.

If the driver fails to provide a sample or tests positive for alcohol, the probation officer will likely file a petition to revoke some or all of their probation. A warrant will then be issued for their arrest, and they will be held until the hearing. Hearings can take up to 30 days, so the person will remain in jail until the hearing.

Can an Ignition Interlock Device be Wrong?

An IID rarely will report a false positive, but it can happen. An IID cannot tell the difference between isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol, called ethanol, is created when fruits or grains are fermented to produce alcoholic drinks. It is present in beer, wine, and liquor. Isopropyl alcohol is found in mouthwash, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and gels. If your vehicle has an IID, avoid consuming any food, mouthwash, or beverage for at least 20 minutes before blowing into it to get an accurate reading.

What are the Costs Associated with an IID?

If you must install an IID on your vehicle or choose to install one to avoid license suspension, there are fees to be aware of. Generally, you can count on a $100-$200 installation charge and monthly fees ranging from $70-$100. There are also costs for maintenance, calibration, and device removal.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me After a DUI Arrest?

It can be beneficial to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a DUI arrest. They can assist you in many ways, including helping you to decide whether to install an IID on your vehicle or appeal to the Department of Drivers’ Services. They can also help you fight the charge if that makes the best sense for your situation. Many times, a lawyer can get a DUI charge reduced or possibly even thrown out.   

Impaired driving arrests are not always a slam dunk for law enforcement. There are many circumstances surrounding arrests that a lawyer can analyze. There could be improper processes and procedures or extenuating circumstances. Let a lawyer help reduce the charges or get them thrown out. An impaired driving charge is a social stigma and not a good thing to have on your record when seeking employment. It is wise to hire an experienced lawyer who can help fight the charges.

The Springfield DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Defend Against DUI Charges

Not every DUI case is as cut-and-dried as it may seem. Our skilled Springfield DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help. Contact us for a free consultation by calling us at 912-754-6003 or fill out our online form. We proudly serve residents in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas from our office in Springfield, Georgia.

Who is Liable if a Defective Car Part Caused an Accident?

Car accidents happen for many reasons, though most accidents involve some form of human error, but defective car parts can cause accidents. Cars are made of thousands of moving parts that need to work together to ensure your safe travel. When a part is defective, it can cause an accident, although the cause may not be immediately clear.

Accidents Caused by Defective Car Parts are Rare

Car manufacturers are heavily regulated. The government requires strict compliance with many manufacturing standards, ensuring that nearly every car that leaves a factory and ends up on the road is safe for travel. But this system is not perfect.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about two percent of all vehicle accidents are caused by defective parts. While that is a small percentage, that still equates to about 22,000 accidents per year. In reality, the true number of accidents caused by defective parts is probably much higher because of the difficulty of making a clear determination of a defective car part’s impact on a crash. Many accidents cause catastrophic damage to vehicles, making it challenging for accident investigators to figure out the exact reason for the crash.

The good news is that many automobile recalls happen because of these types of crashes. When a lawyer is retained by someone injured in the crash, they will work with accident reconstruction experts who will turn over every rock to figure out exactly what caused the accident. Not only can this help avoid future accidents, but it also helps you figure out exactly what caused your accident and what company is to blame.

Defective Products

When a defective car part is found to be the cause of your accident, you will need to prove that it was defective in one of three ways:

  • Design: A design defect occurs when a vehicle part was made incorrectly by its very design. Design defects usually occur with every product manufactured, since the defect is in the design of the product itself.
  • Manufacturing: A manufacturing defect occurs when a part was manufactured incorrectly, causing a defect. Manufacturing defects usually happen to just one or a limited number of parts.
  • Warning: Manufacturers have a duty and responsibility to warn users and consumers of any known dangers with their products. If there was no warning and the danger was not obvious, a manufacturer could be liable for injuries.

It is important to determine what type of defect caused your car accident because your lawyer will need to prove, with evidence, that the manufacturer was to blame. Understanding the cause of the crash is part of the evidence your lawyer will need to show the manufacturer is liable.

Common Defective Car Parts

Any part of your vehicle could be defective. From small screws to belts and hoses to the engine, any part of a car is subject to potential defect. But some parts of a car are more likely to be defectively dangerous than others. These include:

  • Airbag
  • Cruise control
  • Glass
  • Leaking
  • Parking brake
  • Pedal failure
  • Seat belts
  • Steering
  • Software failure
  • Suspension
  • Tires

The resulting injuries can be dangerous. People can suffer any type of injury in a car accident caused by a defective part. Those injuries could keep you from enjoying your life and require you to receive ongoing medical care.

How to Get Compensation?

After a car accident, you may not be thinking about a lawsuit. But you need to, at least enough to call a lawyer. After a car accident, you have limited time to file a claim. Your lawyer will need time to collect evidence, interview witnesses, and work with accident reconstruction experts to figure out what part caused your accident so they can file a claim against the right company.

They do all of this in an effort to get you compensation for:

  • Emotional distress
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may not be able to return to work temporarily, or at all. This can severely limit your ability to earn a living and support yourself.

But to ensure you and your legal team work to hold the right company liable, you may need an accident reconstruction expert to investigate your accident. Your lawyer may have resources available to help with this and will be able to work with the insurance company representing the at-fault company.

Soon after a determination is made about what company is liable for your car accident, the insurance company representing that company may call you. They will offer you a quick settlement, hoping that you take it without further consideration. They may even say that the offer is “only good today” and it is the absolute highest amount they can offer, which may be a stretch of the truth or untrue. That means, months or years later, when the settlement funds have run dry but you still have medical bills to pay, there is nothing you can do. You cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money.

Most car accident victims underestimate the amount of money they will need to recover to avoid paying even a single penny out of their own pocket. That is why it is absolutely crucial that you speak with a lawyer right away. Your lawyer can help create an accurate estimate of your future medical and financial needs. Considering the amount of time you will be out of work, and factoring in any ongoing medical care you may require, your legal team can help figure out what you need to avoid financial hardship.

Not all legal teams are equipped to handle this complex calculation. It requires collaboration with medical experts to understand your injuries and the impact they have on your life. It will require consultation with specialists to figure out the likelihood of your body returning to your pre-accident condition. All of this information is used to determine whether and when you will be able to financially support yourself again. If you cannot or if it will be some time before you can, your lawyer will aggressively negotiate with the negligent company’s insurance company to help get you maximum compensation.

The Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Hold Negligent Parties Liable for Your Injuries

If you have been injured in a car accident, you need to know your legal options. Speak with our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation by calling 912-754-6003 or fill out our online form. We proudly serve our Georgia neighbors in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

Are Parents Liable for Their Teens’ Driving Behavior?

Getting a driver’s license is a major rite of passage for teen drivers. However, while many parents may appreciate that they no longer have to shuttle their teen to every sporting event or after school activity, handing over the car keys to a newly-licensed teen driver can be terrifying. It is one of the first major steps towards adulthood and independence, and it can be difficult for parents to come to terms with that, especially when statistics show that teen drivers are three times more likely to be fatally injured in a car accident compared to more experienced drivers. In addition to the obvious safety concerns associated with their child being seriously injured in a car accident, parents could face significant legal and financial issues if their child was responsible for causing an accident. If your teen driver was involved in a car accident, and you have questions about liability, do not hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer.

Why Are Teen Drivers at an Increased Risk for Car Accidents?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than 13 million teen drivers on the road on any given day. There are a number of risk factors that put teen drivers at an increased risk for car accidents, including the following:

  • Inexperience: The more experience drivers have, the better they are able to recognize potentially-dangerous situations and take the necessary steps to avoid them. Because they do not have the experience behind the wheel, they do not readily recognize dangerous situations or react as quickly to those situations.
  • Nighttime and weekend driving: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, roughly 40 percent of fatal car accidents involving teens between the ages of 13 and 19 occurred between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am, and over half of those accidents occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
  • Not using seat belts: Teen drivers have the lowest rate of seat belt use compared to other age groups. Close to half of the teen drivers and passengers who were fatally injured in car accidents in 2019 were not restrained by a seat belt at the time of the crash.
  • Distracted driving: This continues to be a serious problem among all drivers, but teen drivers are particularly susceptible to distracted driving behaviors, including talking and texting on the phone, and checking social media.
  • Speeding: Teen drivers are also more likely to drive over the posting speed limit, and follow too close to the vehicle in front of them, which increases the risk of a rear-end accident.
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident than older, more experienced drivers, even if they both have the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or have the same amount of drugs or substances in their system. The impairment, coupled with inexperience behind the wheel can have devastating consequences.

What Liability Issues Do I Need to Know About as a Parent of a Teen Driver?

When determining fault in an accident, the alleged victim will have to prove that the at-fault driver was negligent in some way. According to the theory of negligence, all drivers have a duty to obey the rules of the road and drive in a reasonably safe way, and if a driver breaches that duty causing injury to another motorist, they may be legally liable for the resulting injuries and property damage. This concept applies to all drivers, including inexperienced, newly licensed teen drivers. Regardless of skill level or experience behind the wheel, teen drivers are expected to make safety a priority and avoid any dangerous or irresponsible driving behavior.

There are situations where a teen driver’s parents may be held legally liable if a car accident was caused by their teen’s negligence. The following are examples of civil statutes that can be used to hold parents liable for a teen driver’s negligent or reckless behavior:

  • Theory of Negligent Entrustment. This states that a parent may be held liable for their teenage driver’s car accident if it can be proven that the parents knew, or should have known, that the teen posed a danger to other motorists. For example, if a teen driver had multiple accidents, and was issued multiple tickets for speeding or reckless driving, and the parents continued to give their teen driver permission to use the car, they could be held liable for any damages in the event of an accident.
  • Theory of Vicarious Liability. Also referred to as the “family purpose doctrine,” this states that the parents of a teen driver may be held liable for a car accident that occurred while their teen driver was behind the wheel. For example, if the parents ask the teen motorist to drive to the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner, and the teen is involved in an accident on the way home, the parent may be held liable for the injuries or property damage caused by the accident.

Can My Teen Driver Get Car Insurance?

In Georgia, a provisional driver’s license is granted to drivers who are at least 16 years old, who have held an Instructional Permit for one year and one day, and who pass their driving test. However, when it comes to purchasing car insurance, a 17-year-old is still considered a minor, so a parent or guardian would be required to co-sign the policy until he or she turns 18. That means that the parent will be financially responsible for the policy. It is also important for parents to consider the potential costs of purchasing a separate insurance policy for a teen driver once they turn 18. While some parents may think that a separate policy will save money, insurance companies consider teen drivers to be high-risk drivers, so a separate policy is going to be much more expensive than adding him or her to an existing policy.

Circumstances become much more complicated if a teenager caused a car accident while driving a vehicle that belonged to someone else. If the teen driver had permission from the owner of the vehicle to use the car, the auto insurance on the car will likely apply. However, if the owner of the vehicle did not give permission, or told the teen not to use the car, the liability insurance on the vehicle may not apply. There are some situations where insurance policies may have exclusions for certain actions. For example, if a teen driver’s willful or malicious actions were intentional, it is unlikely that the insurance on the vehicle will apply. In order to obtain financial compensation, the injured victim will need to file a lawsuit.

What Can Parents Do to Protect Their Teen Drivers?

Car accidents are the number one cause of death in teenagers, which is a sobering fact for parents of newly licensed teen drivers to consider. Graduated licensing programs help ease some of the worry by imposing certain restrictions on new drivers. For example, newly licensed drivers may not operate a motor vehicle between midnight and 6 a.m. Another restriction in graduated licensing restricts the number of passengers teen drivers can have. In addition to the laws that are meant to protect teen drivers, there are a number of steps that parents can take to prevent their child from being involved in a serious car accident, including the following:

  • Set a good example. If you expect your teen driver to always wear a seatbelt, obey the speed limit, and avoid distracted driving behavior, model the behavior you want them to follow.
  • Put the phone away. Distracted driving is a major problem among teen drivers, so make sure your teen driver understands the consequences of texting and talking on the phone. Always leave your phone in your purse or in the glove compartment while you are driving and set a good example to your teen driver.
  • Make sure the vehicle is properly maintained. Have the vehicle inspected on a regular basis by an experienced mechanic and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive.
  • Create a driving contract. This should include a set of rules that your teen must follow, including when he or she is allowed to use the car, how many passengers are allowed in the car, and what time your teen driver is expected home. The contract should also make it very clear what the consequences are if any of the rules are broken.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Victims of Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident involving a newly licensed teen driver, you are urged to contact our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. Our dedicated legal team will assist you with every step of the claims process, and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

What Are Some Travel Safety Tips for the Easter Holiday?

Travel is a part of the Easter holiday for many Georgians. If you plan to drive this Easter to visit family and friends or are looking forward to a spring break road trip, we are here to help. As road traffic increases significantly during Easter and other holidays, so do car accidents caused by drunk driving and distracted driving, among other types of crashes.

You do not have to be a statistic this spring. Here are some practical safety tips you can use to help prevent accidents and injuries this holiday.

Maintain Your Vehicle

Regular vehicle inspections, maintenance, and repairs play a big part in roadway safety and accident prevention. If you keep up with routine service, you reduce the chance of a dangerous equipment malfunction. Tire blowouts, brake failures, and engine troubles can turn your Easter holiday into a stressful headache.

  • Check the tread on your tires and make sure they are properly inflated several times per month.
  • Test your lights to ensure they are working and replace dim or damaged bulbs.
  • If you notice excess wear and tear on your windshield wiper blades or they are not effectively removing water, replace them immediately.
  • Do not ignore funny sounds or warning alerts on your dash that indicate something is wrong with your vehicle.

A bit of time and care before you depart can prevent costly and dangerous breakdowns while driving this Easter.

Plan Your Route

You may experience more traffic than usual during the Easter weekend. More vehicles on the road mean a greater chance of accidents. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Easter weekend is the fourth most dangerous weekend for drivers, behind Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Fourth of July weekends.

  • To make your trip go smoothly and avoid all of the hazards that come with traffic congestion, start by leaving a bit earlier than usual. Give yourself extra time to navigate bumper-to-bumper traffic.
  • Take breaks if you become frustrated, or even opt for the longer but less congested scenic route.
  • Let someone know your plans including when you are leaving, where you are headed, and when you are expected to arrive. This way, if anything should happen and you cannot call for help, someone else can.
  • Anticipate traffic, construction, and inclement weather. Many mobile device apps are available to help you get where you are going, alerting you to accidents, detours, harsh weather conditions, and slowed traffic along the way.
  • Don’t speed. If you are not in a rush, you will be less likely to speed and take other unnecessary risks. You will also be less stressed, and who wants to be stressed on a holiday?

Drive Defensively

Defensive driving is an approach that empowers the driver to anticipate and react to situations they encounter on the road. It can help you this Easter when you hit holiday traffic. The benefits of defensive driving can help you dodge car accidents every time you get behind the wheel.

So, just what does it mean to be a defensive driver? Essentially, defensive driving is operating your vehicle in a way that allows you to identify and predict hazards and make informed decisions to respond safely and avoid roadway crashes.

Defensive driving crash prevention skills include:

  • Adapting to your surroundings.
  • Adjusting speed for environmental conditions.
  • Avoiding aggressive drivers.
  • Checking mirrors frequently.
  • Cutting out distractions include mobile phones.
  • Following at a safe distance (3 to 4 seconds.)
  • Having an “escape route” if your path is suddenly blocked.
  • Increasing following distance in severe weather.
  • Managing multiple risks.
  • Scanning the roadway 20 to 30 seconds ahead.

Defensive drivers do not depend on other drivers to make smart, safe choices. They anticipate the worst-case scenario, so they have time and space to react, just in case.

Do Not Drink and Drive

The increase in holiday driving accidents is largely due to the increase in drunk driving at these times. In fact, research shows DUI accounts for as much as 38 percent of fatal holiday vehicle crashes.

If mimosas are on your Easter brunch menu, remember that even just a single alcoholic beverage can cause changes that make it unsafe to drive. In Georgia and most other states, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for driving is 0.08 percent. But that does not mean anything less is safe for operating a motor vehicle.

The United States Department of Transportation campaign “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” wants to destroy the myth that it is okay to drive after a drink or two.

  • Consider that at 0.02 BAC (or one or two alcoholic drinks) the body begins to relax, and some judgement loss occurs.
  • It becomes more difficult to track other vehicles, pedestrians, and animals. Multitasking is challenging as well.
  • Someone with a 0.05 BAC may have poor muscle coordination, balance problems, slowed reaction time, and impaired judgement and self-control.

If you plan to drink this Easter or spring break, plan ahead for a friend or family member to be the designated safe driver. Use a rideshare service, taxi, or public transportation. Keep you celebration fun, joyful, and safe!

Put the Phone Down

Distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. You are a risk to yourselves and others any time you are not fully alert and in control of your vehicle, even if that means looking down at your phone for just a few seconds.

Distracted driving claimed more than 3,000 lives in a single year according to NHTSA. Looking away from the road for just five seconds while traveling at 55 miles per hour is like driving the entire length of a football field with one’s eyes closed.

Sending that text, eating lunch, or fiddling with the stereo while driving can wait this Easter. Resist the urge to give in to driving distractions and take care of these tasks before you set out for your spring drive or when you arrive.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Even if you take every possible safety precaution, It is impossible to prevent every hazard. Accidents and breakdowns will unfortunately be a part of some drivers’ Easter holiday. It is always a good idea to have a road safety kit in your vehicle at all times in case of emergencies.  These minimal supplies can help keep you safe until help arrives.

Emergency Road Safety Kit Checklist

  • Water.
  • Non-perishable foods.
  • Warm blankets.
  • Hats, gloves, and scarves (in colder climates.)
  • Jumper cables.
  • Flares or reflective warning triangles.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Portable mobile phone chargers.

Following these Easter driving safety guidelines can you can help avoid serious collisions. Unfortunately, the actions of other drivers are out of your control. If you are hit and injured by a careless driver, be sure to get the proper medical attention. Then, contact a skilled car accident attorney to learn your rights and legal options for pain, suffering, auto repairs, and medical bills incurred as a result of the accident. You deserve justice if another driver’s negligence caused your life-changing injury.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Provide Superior Legal Guidance for Clients Across Georgia

If you or a loved one was harmed by an aggressive, impaired, or distracted driver, justice is possible. Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law take a comprehensive approach to personal injury law. Call 912-754-6003 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Kicklighter Law proudly serves clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Georgia?

Car accidents frequently happen, despite the fact that today’s vehicles are equipped with a wide range of safety features, like collision warning technology, emergency brake assist, and adaptive cruise control. While you may walk away from a minor fender-bender without a scratch and little to no damage to your vehicle, more serious accidents can cause extensive property damage and serious injuries.

The costs associated with a serious car accident can accumulate very quickly, particularly if your injuries require ongoing medical care. You may be eligible for financial compensation for the costs associated with the accident by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the motorist who caused the accident. However, Georgia has a strict statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits, which means that you must take legal action within the specified period of time or your claim will be denied.

In Georgia, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. However, it is highly recommended that you initiate the claims process as soon as possible for a number of reasons. First, if you suffered a serious injury, your medical expenses are going to start accumulating very quickly, including hospital bills, follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy, and prescription medications. In addition, the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit takes time, from obtaining copies of medical records and police reports to contacting witnesses who were at the scene of the accident. If you wait until the last minute to file your claim and you are unable to collect all of the evidence by the deadline, your claim may be denied, or you may receive a smaller settlement offer than you expected. Also, if you wait to file a claim, the other party may argue that your injuries must not have been very serious if you did not take immediate steps to file a claim.

How Do I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Oftentimes, motorists become stressed and overwhelmed immediately following a car accident. However, if you take a moment to relax and keep the following tips in mind, you will be prepared if you need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit:

  • Collect evidence: In order to avoid a situation where it is your word against the other driver’s, you are urged to collect as much evidence as possible. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so if you are lacking evidence, , they will try to use that against you so that they can pay you a lower settlement. You can avoid this problem by collecting photographs of the damage, witness testimony, a police report, and other forms of evidence.
  • Seek medical attention. Seek immediate medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, you could have an underlying injury, or an injury that is masked by the adrenaline that is coursing through your body. If you do not seek medical attention, the other party or the insurance company may argue that your injuries must not be very serious if you did not feel it was necessary to be examined by a health care professional.
  • Exchange information. When interacting with the other driver, keep the conversation to a minimum and focus on exchanging information with each other, including name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and license plate number. Never apologize for anything, even if you are just trying to be nice. This can be interpreted as you admitting fault and can be used against you during the claims process.
  • Contact a car accident lawyer. It is in your best interest to have a dedicated car accident lawyer on your side, particularly if you intend to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer will assist you with every step of the claims process and review all settlement offers. Oftentimes, the insurance company will make an initial settlement offer that may seem like a lot of money. However, in the vast majority of cases, an initial settlement offer rarely comes close to the total expenses associated with the accident, particularly if you suffered serious injuries and will require ongoing medical care.

What if I File a Lawsuit After the Statute of Limitations Expires?

In most cases, if you miss the deadline, your claim will be denied and you will no longer be able to pursue a personal injury claim. If you file a claim two years plus one day after the date of the accident, you may file the lawsuit, but the lawyers representing the other motorist will have the opportunity to respond to the claim. Once they see that you filed the claim after the statute of limitations has expired, they will most certainly ask the court to dismiss the case and you may even be ordered to pay the other party’s court costs and attorney fees.

On rare occasions, there are exceptions to the rule and the statute of limitations may be extended. Exceptions include the following:

  • The injured party is a minor, in which case the statute of limitations does not begin until they turn 18 years old.
  • The injured motorist was driving for work and wants to file a Workers’ Compensation claim instead of a personal injury claim.
  • If the accident causes a fatality, the surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date of the person’s death.
  • If the injured party is in a coma or otherwise incompetent after the accident, the statute of limitations is paused until they regain consciousness and become competent again.

Is it Always Necessary to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident?

There may be circumstances where it is not necessary to hire a car accident lawyer. For example, if the accident was a minor fender-bender and you suffered minimal injuries, you may be able to resolve the issue with your insurance company and move on. However, keep in mind that insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests. Their goal is to settle the matter by paying you as little money as possible. If you are considering whether or not you should hire a car accident lawyer, consider whether the following factors apply to you and your case:

  • You and/or the other passengers in your vehicle were seriously injured in the accident.
  • A family member was killed in the accident.
  • You suffered injuries that prevent you from being able to return to work.
  • The injuries affect your quality of life.
  • The accident was caused by another person’s negligence.

If one or more of the above statements apply to you, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled lawyer.

What Damages May I Be Eligible to Receive if I am Injured in a Car Accident?

If you are able to prove that your injuries were caused by another person’s negligence, you may be eligible for the following damages:

  • All medical costs associated with the injury.
  • Lost wages.
  • Loss of future earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

However, Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that the damages you can recover will be reduced if you are partially responsible for causing the accident. For example, if you were driving five miles per hour above the speed limit and another vehicle hit your car after the driver failed to stop at a red light, a jury may find the other driver to be 80 percent at fault and you at 20 percent at fault. Therefore, if you were otherwise entitled to a $10,000 settlement, it would be reduced by 20 percent, which would be $8,000. If your share of the fault exceeds 50 percent, you will be ineligible to collect any damages.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Can Assist With the Claims Process if You Have Been Injured in a Collision

If you were injured in a car accident and you wish to pursue your legal options, you are urged to contact one of our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will walk you through every step of the claims process and ensure that your claim is filed well before the statute of limitations expires. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

What Are Common Causes of Wrong-Way Car Accidents?

Wrong-way car accidents occur when motorists end up in the wrong lane and are driving against the flow of traffic. If the driver is able to correct their mistake quickly and return to their lane, a potentially accident can be avoided. However, if the motorist is driving on a busy highway or they are intoxicated, a wrong-way accident can result.

Wrong-way accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities.In most cases, when you make safety a priority, keep your attention focused on the road, and avoid any distractions, it is unlikely that you will end up driving in the wrong direction. In fact, the majority of wrong-way accidents are the result of some type of negligent behavior, such as distracted driving and drunk driving. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), over half of all wrong-way accidents are caused by drunk drivers. In many cases, their blood alcohol level shows that they consumed twice the legal limit or more before getting behind the wheel of their car.

The following are examples of other common causes of wrong-way car accidents:

  • Advanced age: A significant percentage of wrong-way accidents are caused by elderly drivers due to vision problems, dementia, or other health complications.
  • Distractions: When a driver’s attention is not focused on the road, there is an increased risk of a serious car accident. For example, if you are reading or sending a text and your eyes are off the road for a matter of seconds, you may start to veer into the wrong lane or turn onto the wrong highway ramp.
  • Unfamiliar roadways: Motorists who are unfamiliar with an area may not understand how to navigate a traffic circle or may be more likely to turn onto a one-way street going in the wrong direction.
  • Detours: If traffic is re-routed due to construction or some other emergency, it can cause confusion, particularly if the driver is not familiar with the area. If the proper signage is missing or the lane-shifting techniques are not clearly marked, motorists could end up driving in the wrong direction.
  • Poor road design: Traffic circles, highway interchanges, and jug handles can be very confusing, particularly if entrance and exit ramps are parallel. This can increase the risk of a wrong-way accident if driver who is turning left accidentally turns too shallowly, plunging them in the path of traffic.
  • Badly marked road signs: Lack of Do Not Enter signs, ramps that have overgrown foliage that block traffic signs, or inadequate lighting increase the risk of a wrong-way accident. Proper signage is extremely important, as it can help prevent a motorist who is unfamiliar with the area from entering an empty stretch of highway going in the wrong direction.
  • Defective auto equipment: If defective tires, brakes, steering system, or other equipment causes the motorist to veer into the wrong lane, causing a wrong-way car accident, the product designer or manufacturer may be held liable for the accident.
  • Drowsy driving: Drowsy drivers have slower reaction times and are more likely to become distracted or start to doze off while driving. This increases the risk of a wrong-way accident if they drift into the wrong lane, enter a ramp going in the wrong direction, or turn onto a one-way street.
  • Other unsafe driving behavior: Other driving behaviors that can cause a wrong-way accident include speeding and unsafe passing, particularly when a motorist tries to pass another car in a no-passing zone.

What Injuries Are Caused by Wrong-Way Car Accidents?

Since wrong-way accidents often cause head-on collisions with other vehicles, the resulting injuries can be devastating or even fatal. The following are common injuries seen in wrong-way accidents:

  • Broken bones, including facial bones, arms, hands, collarbone, legs, pelvis, and ribs.
  • Cuts and lacerations.
  • Chest and thoracic trauma.
  • Neck, back, and spine trauma.
  • Head trauma, including concussions and brain injuries.
  • Internal injuries to the organs in the chest or abdomen.
  • Wrongful death.

What Damages Are Available in Wrong-Way Accident Cases?

If you are injured in a wrong-way car accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be eligible for financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In order to reach a successful settlement outcome, you must be able to prove that the other driver failed to exercise the duty of care to the other motorists on the road by driving in the wrong direction, which caused the accident and resulted in your injuries. A car accident lawyer will assist you with the claims process and determine if you are eligible for the following damages:

  • All medical costs associated with the injury.
  • Lost wages.
  • Loss of future earning capacity.
  • Property damage.
  • Pain and suffering.

How Can I Avoid a Wrong-Way Accident?

The Department of Transportation is installing larger Do Not Enter and Wrong-Way signs to alert drivers that it is a one-way street and motorists should not enter. However, these signs do not always prevent wrong-way accidents that occur on a busy highway at night when visibility is low. They also do not prevent a motorist from getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

To reduce the risk of being involved in a devastating wrong-way car accident, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • If you see another motorist driving in the wrong direction, put as much space between you and the other driver, and call 911 to report the vehicle.
  • Stay awake and alert while driving and avoid any distractions. Pay attention to your surroundings and the other vehicles in the vicinity.
  • Stay in the furthest lane to the right when driving at night. Most wrong-way accidents occur at night when a motorist drifts out of their lane and into oncoming traffic.
  • Keep your headlights on when driving at night. If a motorist is driving in the wrong lane, this will alert the driver that they are going in the wrong direction.
  • Do not talk or text on the phone or engage in any other distracting behavior while driving.
  • Do not drink and drive.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Due to the severity of a wrong-way accident and the fact that they often result in a head-on collision, the injuries tend to be quite severe. A skilled car accident lawyer will help you navigate the claims process. A car accident lawyer will provide the following services:

  • Connect you to rental car providers and auto repair shops.
  • Secure the best possible settlement.
  • Recovery for the loss of your vehicle.
  • Connect you with a health care provider.
  • Provide access to pre-settlement loans.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Who Have Been Injured in Wrong-Way Car Accidents

If you have been seriously injured in a wrong-way car accident, it is in your best interest to contact one of our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Can I Avoid a Car Accident on St. Patrick’s Day?

On St. Patrick’s Day, people demonstrate their appreciation of all things Irish by wearing green, decorating their homes, and preparing a feast. It is also known as one of the most popular drinking holidays in the United States. Unfortunately, this leads to many motorists making irresponsible decisions, including drunk driving.

It should come as no surprise that there is an uptick in drunk driving car accidents on St. Patrick’s Day. According to data from WalletHub, over half of Americans celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in 2020. Over 60 percent of fatal St. Patrick’s Day accidents involve a drunk driver, and close to 70 percent of fatal St. Patrick’s Day car accidents occur between midnight and 6:00 a.m.

Like New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday where copious amounts of alcohol is readily available. People have a tendency to overdo it and then get behind the wheel of their car. While you cannot control how other people celebrate the holiday or the choices they make after they have had too many drinks, you can take proactive steps to make safety a priority and avoid a serious car accident. The following safety tips will help keep you safe on St. Patrick’s Day.

Contact a Rideshare Service

If you plan on going to a restaurant or bar on St. Patrick’s Day, it is highly recommended that you leave your car and your keys at home and get a ride with a rideshare service, like Uber or Lyft. That way, even if you do have a bit too much to drink, you will not need to worry about driving home drunk. In addition, the Uber or Lyft driver will be better able to minimize the risk of a car accident because they are sober and will have the coordination and reflexes necessary to avoid a car accident.

Use Public Transportation

If you live in a city, consider taking public transportation home after a night of celebratory drinking. This is often a much cheaper option than calling a rideshare service or taxi cab. In addition, it may be safer than Uber or Lyft, considering the increased number of drunk drivers on the roads.

Assign a Designated Driver

If you are going out with a group of friends, see if anyone in the group would be willing to stay sober and drive everyone home at the end of the night.

Go Out Early

Consider going to an early dinner or a happy hour instead of staying out until well past midnight, which is when the majority of drunk driving car accidents occur on St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to avoiding many of the intoxicated drivers, driving while it is still light outside also reduces the risk of getting into an accident.

Host a Party

Instead of going out to a crowded bar, consider hosting a party at your house. You can control the number of people who are invited and the amount of alcohol that is served. As the host, it is highly recommended that you hold on to the guests’ car keys. If anyone has had too much to drink, do not give them their keys. Encourage any guests who have had too much to drink to stay the night or help them arrange for a safe ride home by calling a rideshare service.

What Are Examples of Common Drunk Driving Injuries?

Car accidents that are caused by drunk driving often result in very serious, often fatal injuries for a number of reasons. When a motorist is drunk, they are more likely to speed, veer in and out of the lane, tailgate, or engage in other unsafe driving behaviors. This can cause very serious injuries, particularly if the motorist is traveling at a high speed at the time of the accident. The following are examples of the types of injuries that drunk driving car accidents can cause:

  • Broken bones, including wrists, arms, legs, and ribs.
  • Cuts, bruises, and lacerations.
  • Whiplash.
  • Chest and torso injuries.
  • Back and neck injuries.
  • Loss of limb.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

What Should I Do if I am in a Car Accident on St. Patrick’s Day?

Like any other car accident, it is crucial that you call 911 and report the accident, particularly if there are injuries involved. If you are physically able to do so, it is also very important that you collect as much evidence as possible, including pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, and any debris on the road. Exchange information with the other motorist and contact your insurance company. Keep in mind, however, that insurance companies are in the business of making money so they will try to avoid a costly settlement. Finally, you are urged to contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can walk you through the claims process. In addition, a car accident lawyer will make sure that your claim is filed within the state’s statute of limitations.

In the state of Georgia, there is a two-year deadline for filing a personal injury claim after a car accident, and a four-year deadline for property damage claims. If a claim is filed two years and one day after the date of the accident, the claim will most likely be denied. The process of filing a claim and collecting all of the necessary evidence can take time. Even if an initial settlement offer is made shortly after you file a claim, it may be a lowball offer, in which case your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to obtain the best possible offer.

It is also important to keep in mind that Georgia is a comparative negligence state. When it comes to collecting damages, the amount you will be able to collect will be reduced by the percentage that corresponds to your share of liability. For example, if you are hit by a drunk driver who had too much to drink after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with friends but you were driving 40 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone at the time of the accident, you may be liable for a percentage of the damages. In other words, if the damages totaled $10,000 and you are liable for 20 percent, you would be eligible for $8,000 in damages. However, if you share 50 percent or more of the fault, Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule states that you will not be able to recover any damages.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Drivers Injured in St. Patrick’s Day Car Accidents

Make sure to take safety precautions this St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you plan to go out for the night. Remember, other drivers may not be as responsible as you. If you have been seriously injured in a drunk driving car accident, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the details of the accident and ensure that the negligent party is held liable for their actions. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Can I Avoid a Car Accident After the Spring Time Change?

There has been an ongoing debate about whether daylight saving time (DST) is a tradition that should continue or if it an antiquated practice that should stop. It may seem like a minor event, but losing an hour of sleep can be dangerous. In fact, according to a number of studies, the time change in March can have a negative impact on the natural sleep cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm.

The time change in springs means that you are losing an hour of sleep. While this may not seem like a significant amount of time, that lost hour of sleep, combined with the fact that the sun rises later, means that there are more drivers on the road who are drowsy.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, in addition to feeling tired, the time change in the spring can cause a range of health issues that can increase the risk of a serious car accident. For example, the research revealed a spike in heart attacks, strokes, workplace injuries, and other health issues in the days following the spring forward shift. All of these factors can contribute to a car accident as well.

The study analyzed 732,835 accidents that were recorded by the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 1996 to 2017. Researchers found a consistent increase in the number of fatal car accidents that occurred following the time change. In fact, the increase in car accidents was not limited to the Monday after the clocks were moved an hour ahead. The study found that there was a spike in car accidents during the entire week that followed the time shift. The research found that there was a six percent increase in accidents during the five days following the time change.

How Dangerous Is Drowsy Driving?

It is widely accepted that drunk driving is dangerous and can cause serious, even fatal car accidents. However, what many people do not realize is that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Sleep deprivation can have a similar impact on your coordination, balance, and ability to react to a potentially dangerous situation. Even an hour of lost sleep can disrupt your sleep pattern to the point where your quality of sleep is disrupted. The longer you go without getting the recommended number of hours of sleep, the more of an impact it will have on your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Studies show that being awake for 18 consecutive hours or more is comparable to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. If you go without sleep for 24 hours or more, it is equivalent to having a BAC of 0.10 percent.

What Steps Can I Take to Avoid a DST-Related Car Accident?

You may not be able to control the time change or how other motorists prepare for DST. However, you can take proactive steps to avoid some of the common hazards associated with DST.

The following are safety tips that can help you avoid a serious car accident in the days following the time shift:

  • Go to bed earlier. In the days leading up to the time change, go to bed approximately 15 minutes earlier than you would normally go to bed. This will give your body a chance to gradually acclimate to the time change. If you are unable to go to bed earlier, try to sleep an extra hour longer the next morning, or take a nap during the day on Sunday.
  • Adjust your other routines. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in addition to going to bed earlier in the days leading up to the time change, it is recommended that you adjust the timing of other routines. For example, consider eating dinner a bit earlier than you would normally eat. If there are other nighttime rituals that you do, move them a bit earlier to cue your body that it is time to go to sleep.
  • Change your clocks in the early evening on Saturday. Rather than changing the clocks when you go to bed or waiting until exactly 2:00 a.m. when DST officially starts, consider changing the clocks in the early evening on Saturday, and go to bed at your regular time on Saturday and Sunday night. This will help you adjust to the one hour loss of sleep.
  • Work from home if possible. If you have the flexibility to be able to work from home the week following the DST time change, you are urged to take advantage of that and avoid being out on the road. The morning and evening commutes are when motorists are more likely to be exhausted and distracted.
  • Take breaks if you are driving a long distance. Long trips can be exhausting, particularly when you have not gotten enough sleep before the trip. If you plan to take a long road trip immediately following the time change, take rest breaks every two hours. If there is another experienced driver in the vehicle, share the driving responsibilities. If you are driving alone, it is important that you take regular breaks to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and give yourself a break from the monotony of driving.
  • Use your headlights. If it is dark outside when you are driving to or from work, make sure that you turn on your headlights so that other vehicles can see you. In addition, use your turn signals when appropriate and use extra caution when approaching an intersection or a crosswalk.
  • Do not tailgate. If you are driving too close to the vehicle in front of you and you are drowsy, you may not be able to slow down or stop in time to avoid hitting the vehicle. Always leave plenty of distance between your car and the other vehicles on the road.
  • Avoid distractions. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents in this country. Motorists who are exhausted are also more easily distracted. The combination of drowsy driving and distracted driving can be devastating and even deadly. Keep your attention focused on the road at all times.
  • Watch for potholes. Unfortunately, potholes are a common road hazard during the winter and spring. When the water on the roads freezes, it causes the road’s surface to expand and shift. As it thaws, the fractures in the road develop into potholes. Depending on the size of the pothole, they can cause serious damage to your vehicle and increase the risk of an accident. When you are drowsy from losing an hour of sleep or not paying attention to the road ahead, you may not see the pothole until it is too late.
  • Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car. If you are driving to work when the sun is rising, extreme sun glare can impact your vision. Make sure that you always have a pair of sunglasses in the vehicle, preferably a pair that has polarized lenses, which help reduce sun glare better than non-polarized lenses.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advocate for Motorists Injured in Drowsy Driving Car Accidents Following the Time Change

If you become involved in a DST-related accident, our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help. We will thoroughly review the details of your case, and our dedicated legal team will protect your rights. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Can Elderly Drivers Stay Safe While Driving?

The natural aging process affects the body in a number of ways, from physical changes, like diminished hearing and eyesight, to mental and cognitive changes, like reduced reaction times and memory issues. All of these age-related changes can impact an elderly motorist’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. In fact, older drivers are more than twice as likely to have a medical issue that can impact their ability to drive compared to younger drivers. However, that does not mean that all motorists of a certain age have to hand over their car keys and give up driving altogether. There are a range of safety tips that can help older drivers stay safe behind the wheel and avoid a serious car accident.

When a new driver gets their license, it is a major milestone, and one of the first significant steps towards independence and adulthood. For older drivers, the prospect of no longer being able to drive due to age-related physical or mental health issues is a significant loss of independence. Fortunately, there are a number of proactive steps older drivers can take to stay physically and mentally fit and avoid a serious accident.

Stay Active

Getting regular physical activity helps older drivers improve their strength, flexibility, and stamina. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is a great way to get into shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Taking daily walks, doing sit-to-stand exercises, and stretching and strength training using light weights are all great ways to stay active and avoid an unhealthy lifestyle.

These simple exercises can help improve your driving skills by making it easier to look over your shoulder before changing lanes or making other movements when driving or parking.

Have Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly

Your hearing and vision declines with age, so it is extremely important to have them checked. Because the decline tends to happen slowly over time, you may not notice a change right away.

Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are all common age-related vision problems. Hearing problems are also common. Today’s hearing aids are barely visible and can significantly improve your hearing.

Manage Your Medications

Many older adults take multiple medications to manage certain health issues. In addition to the prescribed drugs that they take every day, they may also be taking something for pain or for an infection. Many drugs cause drowsiness, dizziness, or other side effects that can be extremely dangerous if you are behind the wheel.

Always read the label, and consult with your doctor or pharmacist about whether it is unsafe to drive while taking a certain medication.

Avoid Distractions

Since older drivers tend to have slower reaction times, it is extremely important to avoid distractions and focus their attention on the road ahead while driving. Eating, talking, texting on the phone, and programming the GPS are all distractions that should be avoided.

Avoid Driving at Night

Many older drivers already have vision issues, and driving at night can be particularly difficult for the elderly. Therefore, it is highly recommended that elderly motorists avoid getting behind the wheel after the sun has gone down.

Take a Defensive Driving Course

Drivers of all ages can benefit from taking a defensive driving course, and even though senior drivers may have a lot of experience behind the wheel, it is a good idea to take a refresher course on driving techniques. Seniors can learn specific tips about how to reduce the risk of a serious accident.

Avoid Driving in Inclement Weather

All motorists should avoid driving if roadways are covered in ice or freezing rain or if visibility is an issue. However, this is particularly true for older drivers who should wait to drive until the inclement weather has passed and the road conditions are safe.

Avoid Driving in Heavy Traffic

During peak traffic times, motorists can become impatient and stressed, causing them to drive too fast, tailgate, cut off other drivers, and engage in other dangerous actions that can cause an accident. When possible, older drivers should avoid driving during the morning and evening rush hour or when traffic is particularly heavy.

Consider Consulting With a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist

These trained professionals evaluate older drivers for a range of issues, including the following:

  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
  • Coordination and reaction time.
  • Judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to drive with specialized, adaptive devices.

Understand Your Limitations

While it is not always easy to recognize the fact that you may have developed age-related physical or cognitive limitations, it is important to be realistic and make the necessary adjustments. For example, if gripping the steering wheel causes your hands to hurt, consider purchasing a steering wheel cover that makes it more comfortable to grip the wheel.

A doctor or physical therapist can make other recommendations for exercises or devices that can address your needs and keep you safe while driving.

Always Wear a Seat Belt

Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest and most effective ways you can prevent a serious injury. It is just as important for backseat passengers to buckle up as it is for the driver and passenger in the front seat.

What Advanced Safety Features Help Protect Older Drivers?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, over 8,000 adults aged 65 years old and older were fatally injured in car accidents. It is difficult to face the reality that age-related factors make driving potentially unsafe, but the following are some of the risks that older drivers may face:

  • Seniors are more likely to suffer from a range of health issues that can affect their driving, including arthritis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia.
  • Elderly drivers have slower reaction times, which means they may be less able to react quickly enough to avoid an accident.
  • Older drivers are also more likely to be on a range of medications that may cause drowsiness or other side effects that can impact their ability to operate a motor vehicle.
  • Older drivers often have vision issues that can make it difficult to see objects or read road signs. This is particularly true when driving at night.
  • Older drivers may be more likely to become distracted by another passenger, a phone call, or listening to music or an audio book.
  • Elderly drivers may also become drowsy, particularly when driving at night.

Fortunately, today’s motor vehicles are equipped with a wide range of advanced safety features, making them safer than ever:

  • Forward collision warning: This warns drivers if a crash is imminent. The system will apply the brakes if it detects a potential crash.
  • Automatic crash notification: This will signal emergency services that there has been a car accident without the driver having to call 911.
  • Parking assist with rear-view display: The backup cameras equipped in the vehicle allow the driver to see what is behind them when they are reversing. Some vehicles will notify you if you are about to hit something.
  • Automatic self-parking systems: Some vehicles are equipped with technology that takes over the steering so that the vehicle can parallel park itself.
  • Navigation assistance: Turn-by-turn GPS systems help older drivers feel more confident and more relaxed. However, some of these systems can be distracting and difficult to use, particularly if the older driver is not comfortable with using certain types of technology. Motorists should always program their navigation system before they start driving.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Can Help You After an Elderly Driver Collision

Our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help you if you have been injured in an elderly driver collision. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Do I Spot a Distracted Driver?

Despite the ongoing efforts to discourage drivers from engaging in distracted driving, far too many motorists do not think twice before making a phone call, reading a text, reaching for something in the back seat, or programming the navigation system while driving. Even if you make every effort to avoid distractions while driving, you cannot control other motorists’ behaviors. On any given day, you may see other drivers talking on the phone or sending texts when they should be paying attention to the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, there were 3,142 fatal distracted driving car accidents. If you know how to spot a distracted driver, you can take proactive steps to prevent a serious accident.

Certain types of unsafe driving behaviors are easy to spot. For example, you know a driver is speeding if the car whizzes past you and you are driving the speed limit. Tailgating is also easy to spot. Distracted driving is not always obvious at first. However, if you know some of the common signs to look for, you can take steps to avoid an accident. The following are behaviors that may indicate distracted driving:

  • Driving too fast or slow: Motorists who are distracted by a phone may not be paying enough attention to their speed and whether they are staying within the flow of traffic.
  • Unexpected speed changes: Slowing down or speeding up intermittently are also signs of distracted driving.
  • Weaving in and out of lanes: When a motorist is distracted, they are more likely to drift out of the lane.
  • Longer stops: When stopped at a red light, a distracted driver may not react promptly when the light turns green.
  • Running a red light or stop sign: Drivers who are particularly distracted may not notice that a traffic light has turned red or that they drove right through a stop sign. If another vehicle is coming from the other direction when the distracted driver runs a red light, this can cause a very serious car accident.
  • Seeing the driver’s eyes focused on something other than the road: If a motorist is looking down at their phone, this is an obvious example of distracted driving.

What Should I Do if I See a Distracted Driver?

If another motorist is showing any of the common signs of distracted driving, you are strongly urged to keep your distance and assume that the other driver does not see you. While you may be tempted to get their attention by pulling up next to the distracted driver’s car, it is not a good idea to engage with the other motorist.

If it appears that the driver’s behavior is particularly erratic or is endangering the lives of other motorists on the road, pull over to a safe spot and call 911 to report the driver. Take note of the license plate number, or if there is another passenger in your car, have them take a picture of the license plate or write it down on a piece of paper so that you can provide that information to dispatch.

How Serious Is Distracted Driving in Georgia?

Each year, there are approximately 344,000 car accidents in Georgia, most of which are distracted driving accidents that could have been prevented if the motorists were focusing on the road. The following statistics highlight how serious this problem is in Georgia:

  • Within the first three months after instituting the hand-free cell phone requirement, police officers wrote over 8,000 citations for using handheld devices and over 7,000 more citations in the three months that followed.
  • According to a study by TrueMotion, prior to Georgia’s hands-free law, motorists texted or used apps close to 20 percent of the time that they were driving.
  • Shortly after the law was passed, the incidence of talking on the phone while driving dropped by over 20 percent to 15.4 percent of total driving time.
  • A Constitution survey found that 45 percent of respondents said that they always obey the distracted driving law, and 40 percent said that they obeyed the law most of the time.

What Are the Three Categories of Distracted Driving?

The NHTSA defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a motor’s attention away from the road. There are three categories of distracted driving:

  • Manual distractions: These are distractions that cause you to take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Examples of this type of distraction include eating, adjusting the radio or the temperature in the car, or reaching for something in your purse or in the back seat.
  • Visual distractions: These are distractions that cause you to look away from the road. Common examples include reading or sending a text message, making a phone call, or programming the vehicle’s navigation system.
  • Cognitive distractions: While these distractions do not involve taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road, they do cause your attention to drift off of the task of driving. Using a hands-free device, listening to the radio, or daydreaming are all examples of cognitive distractions.

What If I am Injured in a Distracted Driving Car Accident?

All motorists have a responsibility to make safety a top priority when they are behind the wheel. If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury claim.

In order to reach a successful outcome, you will need to prove that the other driver was distracted. Unlike drunk driving, distracted driving is more difficult to prove because there is no test to determine whether the motorist was distracted at the time of the accident. However, a skilled car accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation, including obtaining copies of police reports, witness testimonies, and hiring an accident reconstructionist if necessary to demonstrate the other motorist’s unsafe driving behavior at the time of the crash. If you are able to take a picture of the accident scene, this also provides valuable evidence that can be used to help your case.

What Can I Do to Prevent Distracted Driving?

While you cannot control how other people drive, you can take proactive steps to avoid common distractions and keep your attention focused on the road. The following tips can help you avoid a distracted driving accident:

  • Put the phone away. If your phone is within reach, you may be tempted to answer a call or read a text message while you are driving. Your phone should only be used for emergencies, so it should be put away either in your purse or in the glove compartment. If you must make or accept a call, pull over to a safe spot. Even hands-free devices can be distracting.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the car. This is particularly true for newly licensed drivers who are more easily distracted when there are more people in the car.
  • Do not eat while driving. Oftentimes, people do not realize how distracting it is to eat while driving. However, since you are holding your food with one hand, eating is a manual distraction, and if you are looking down at your food before taking a bite, this is a visual distraction.
  • Avoid multitasking while driving. Even if you spend a significant amount of time in your car, you should not use that as an excuse to make phone calls, send or read text messages, or check social media. Take care of important business before you start driving and keep your attention focused on the road and the other motorists in the vicinity.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Motorists Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents

If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, do not hesitate to contact one of our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. These accidents are largely preventable if motorists keep their attention focused on the road. However, too many motorists are easily distracted. Our skilled legal team will determine who is responsible for your accident. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

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