How to Avoid Aggressive Drivers

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Busier schedules, longer commutes, and more traffic on the roadways have led to an increase in aggressive driving around the country. Major cities, like Dallas, have an issue with aggressive drivers trying to make it to work on time in heavy rush hour traffic. Aggressive drivers put everyone on the roadway in danger, allowing rage to cloud their judgment and potentially lead to acts of violence. Recognizing an aggressive driver and staying away is the best options for protecting yourself from this human hazard.

Obey Roadway Rules

Many bouts of aggression behind the wheel stem from another vehicle disobeying the rules of the road. When one driver speeds, cuts another driver off, weaves between lanes, or fails to yield the right of way, it can trigger another driver’s rage reflex. You’ve likely felt this anger yourself. When a careless or negligent driver nearly causes an accident, it can make everyone else on the road feel heated. Don’t be the bad driver who makes other commuters angry. Wait your turn at a four-way stop, use your blinker when merging, and don’t use the left lane if you’re a slow driver.

Keep the Passing Lane Open

The “fast lanes” on I-30 and freeways in Dallas are passing lanes, according to Texas roadway rules. While many drivers stay in the left lane for the duration of their commutes, it’s actually only meant for passing slower vehicles in the middle and right lanes. To avoid an aggressive driver tailgating behind you, keep the passing lane open except when passing.

A driver in a hurry may get angry with you for blocking the passing lane. Resist the temptation to speed up, slow down, or “brake-check” the driver behind you to get him or her off your back. This could cause a rear-end collision or cause the angry driver to use other lanes to pass – a dangerous maneuver. Instead, carefully exit the passing lane using your blinker and allow the aggressor to pass you.

Leave Space Between Your Vehicle and Others

Keeping a safe driving distance between your vehicle and those around you is not only good safety advice, it can also help avoid road rage situations. Following the vehicle in front of you too closely can translate as tailgating, potentially making the other driver angry. The driver could then slam on his or her brakes, causing a rear-end collision if you can’t react in time (for which you’ll be responsible). Driving too closely to others could also cause an accident. Even a minor collision or scrape could set the wrong person on a rampage.

Don’t Use Inflammatory Gestures

Drivers often feel overly confident in the confines of their vehicles and do or say things they might not in a face-to-face altercation. Unfortunately, actions behind the wheel to another driver could cause a real-life confrontation. Avoid honking your horn unnecessarily, flashing your lights, or using rude hand gestures toward other drivers. It may be tempting to show another driver you’re irritated because he or she cut you off, but it isn’t worth making a heated situation worse. Save your horn for preventing collisions, not letting someone know you’re angry.

Stay Calm

Prevent triggering a conflict by avoiding eye contact with a driver you know is angry. If an aggressive driver purposefully causes a collision, follows you home, or tries to exit his/her car for an altercation with you, call 911. For every moving violation related to aggressive driving in Texas, a driver can pay fines of up to $200 and even face jail time. Trust law enforcement to handle an aggressive driver – never try to neutralize a dangerous situation on your own.

Posted by admin at 11:27 pm

What Do I Do When Another Driver Has an Accident in My Car?

Monday, December 19, 2016

It’s bad enough to crash your own car and have to take responsibility for the damages, but when someone else has an accident in your vehicle, you can feel trapped. Loaning your vehicle to a friend or family member seemed harmless at the time, but now you have to face the consequences of a collision. Luckily, car insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. However, someone else crashing your car can lead to your premium going up and having to pay a hefty deductible. Here’s what to do after someone else has an accident in your vehicle.

Call Your Insurance Company

The first step after a friend or family member causes an accident in your car is to call your insurance company. The company will tell you who your policy includes. Typically, insurance policies cover people in your household automatically, as well as friends if you give them your permission to drive the car. However, some policies have an excluded list that describes certain people the insurance company will not cover.

Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the driver’s insurance company, and the damage to your vehicle, your company will handle the situation in a variety of ways. If the driver suffered an injury in the crash, his or her own personal injury protection (PIP) policy would cover the costs. Unlike liability coverage, PIP policies cover the driver first and the vehicle second. If the driver does not have this protection under his or her policy, he or she could claim it against your own PIP coverage.

Find Out Who Will Pay for Damages

In a common scenario, where you and the driver both have car insurance, both companies may foot the bill for the accident. Your car insurance would serve as the primary coverage, and the driver’s insurance would be secondary. If the vehicle’s damages exceed the coverage limit on your policy, the driver’s insurance would step in and cover the remaining balance. Your own insurance coverage would pay for all damages if:

  • The driver did not have insurance
  • An excluded driver borrowed your car
  • Someone stole and crashed your vehicle

Remember, if the accident wasn’t the driver’s fault, the other involved driver’s car insurance would cover damages and your personal insurance wouldn’t change. Arm yourself with information in these situations by speaking with your insurance company and finding out what your policy covers. If you don’t have the right type of coverage, you may end up paying for damages out of pocket.

Speak to an Attorney Regarding Liability Issues

When someone else crashes your car, it’s possible for victims in the accident to hold you liable for damages. While this may not seem fair, it does make sense in certain scenarios. A party may hold you responsible for injuries and property damage even if someone else was driving your car. Such a situation might include you knowingly letting an intoxicated person operate your vehicle, letting an unlicensed driver take your car, or if issues relating to the car itself caused the crash.

If, for example, the car’s badly maintained brakes failed while someone else was behind the wheel, the courts may hold you, the vehicle’s owner, responsible for a crash. Liability issues can be complex when a crash involves a vehicle owner and separate driver of the vehicle. Speak with an attorney if you believe you might end up in court regarding a car accident – whether you’re the driver or someone else was.

Prevent Similar Accidents in the Future

Dealing with car insurance companies and liability problems resulting from an excluded driver crashing your car can be a major headache. If there’s even a small possibility of a friend or family member driving your vehicle, include him or her on your insurance policy.

Posted by admin at 11:36 pm

What Are the Deadliest Distractions in Your Car?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A daily commute can be a tedious, boring part of the day, especially when stuck in bumper-to-bumper Dallas traffic. Many drivers turn to devices to make their commutes more enjoyable, scrolling through social media on smartphones or grabbing a bite to eat on the go. Unfortunately, any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road can be deadly.

In 2014, distracted driving killed 3,179 people and injured 431,000 more in the United States. Distracted drivers are unable to react to changes in roadway conditions or hazards in time to avoid collisions. The best way to put an end to distracted driving is to understand what activities are dangerous behind the wheel. Avoid becoming a statistic by avoiding these 10 most deadly car ride distractions.

Lost in Thought

The most deadly distraction in your car is getting lost in thought. Driving can be a soothing, therapeutic task that causes some drivers to detach from reality. Driving in a haze, daydreaming, or in autopilot can slow your reaction time and increase your odds of crashing. According to a report by Erie Insurance, 62% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were lost in thought.

Cell Phone Use

Surprisingly, cell phones do not come in at the top of the list of deadly distractions. They account for about 12% of fatal distracted driving accidents. Thirteen states ban the use of cell phones behind the wheel for all drivers, while 37 (Texas included) ban them for teen drivers only. Texting, talking, dialing, listening, and accessing the Internet on a mobile device while driving cause thousands of car accidents every year.

Rubbernecking

Staring at outside events, such as a car accident, leads to about 7% of accidents. Drivers take their eyes away from the road for extended periods of time to look at an event, object, or person, and crash into the back of the vehicle in front of them. Drivers should always keep their eyes on the road ahead.

Passengers

Other occupants in vehicles can cause an accident by distracting the driver or moving the driver’s hands or feet, such as jerking the wheel away as a joke. Bad company in your car can easily lead to an accident from occupants talking too loudly, making conversation that upsets you emotionally, or physically making you crash.

Reaching for Objects

Drivers who try to reach for objects in their vehicles, such as napkins from the glove box, headphones, or navigational devices account for 2% of all distracted driving crashes. Drivers are especially at risk of reaching for devices they bring into their vehicles.

Eating and Drinking

Eating and drinking while driving is one of the most common mistakes drivers make. Many drivers are in the habit of eating breakfast or sipping coffee on morning commutes, or taking lunch breaks on the go in their vehicles. Saving a few extra minutes isn’t worth the risk of a major traffic accident.

Changing Vehicle Controls

Fiddling with the devices or controls in your vehicle can take your eyes away from the road just long enough to cause an accident. Changing the radio station, air conditioning, repositioning your mirrors, moving your seat, or using a GPS navigation system while driving can be fatal distractions.

Moving Objects

Moving objects in the car can cause a distraction or lead to an object impeding the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. Moving objects may include pets or insects inside the car that take a driver’s eyes, hands, or attention away from the road.

Smoking

Activities relating to lighting cigarettes or other items, as well as ashing a cigarette in a car ashtray, can cause a distracted driving accident. Lighting a cigarette takes a driver’s eyes and hands away from the driving task, leaving him or her prone to crashes.

Posted by admin at 11:21 pm