The New Year’s Eve forecast calls for extremely low temperatures, rain, and possible ice. Not exactly the weather we had hoped for to ring in the new year.
And to make our roads even worse, drunk driving will also spike this weekend. Alcohol already accounts for one-third of all fatal accidents and that number skyrockets to 42 percent on New Year’s Eve.
I passed a crash at an intersection driving into the office this morning — and the weekend hasn’t even started yet.
But you can still enjoy a happy and safe new year’s celebration.
Tips on how to drive safely
Drunk drivers will be out in force. Alcohol impairs vision, judgment, reaction time and coordination, the factors that allow a driver to drive safely. With intoxicated drivers and possible icy weather, how can you stay safe?
- Avoid the roads during the prime drunk driving hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.,
- If throwing a party, serve plenty of non-alcohol beverages and food,
- If going out, pick a designated driver in advance,
- Download the app for Uber, Lyft or a taxi service, and
- If the weather looks bad, stay home
How you can avoid black ice
Black ice is a patch of ice that blends in with the roadway. Because black ice is so perfectly camouflaged, you won’t know it’s there until you hit it and start to slide.
If you can’t see black ice, how can you avoid it? First, assume that ice may form in wet, below freezing weather conditions especially on bridges and overpasses, rural roads, shaded streets at at night.
We are fortunate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that we have few below freezing days. But because you aren’t used to driving in these dangerous conditions, you and the drivers around you may not know what to do. Trucks and SUVs are especially hard to control in these conditions. Don’t assume your anti-lock brakes will keep you from skidding. Your tires can’t get the traction they need to stop your vehicle, so your brakes are basically useless.
What what’s the best way to drive if black ice suddenly appears in front of you?
- Do not hit the brakes,
- Hold the steering wheel steadily,
- Steer into the skid, and
- Keep your foot off the gas pedal
Maintain a longer following distance so that you won’t crash into the car in front of you.
Our Fort Worth injury law firm can help you
I certainly hope that you are not involved in an automobile crash this weekend (or at any other time) but if you unfortunately are, these are some of the problems that usually arise:
- Injuries: Drunk drivers often drive faster and more recklessly. They can cause major wrecks resulting in devastating injuries and even deaths.
- Hospital and medical expenses: No one will tell you in advance, but my clients are always shocked to see how quickly these bills mount. Depending on your health insurance policy and other benefits, some or even all of these bills can get paid, but the process is overly complicated and frustrating and expert help is recommended.
- Lingering pain: Injuries to your head, neck and back can be slow to heal and the resulting pain can be life-altering. Many doctors will prescribe habit-forming opiods to relieve your symptoms and recommend diagnostic testing like CT scans and MRIs as well as steroid injections and even surgery. Medical treatment and physical therapy can take months if not years to resolve your pain. Payment in advance is required, unless you or your personal injury lawyer can locate doctors and therapists willing to work on a delayed payment basis. We have advice and resources that can help you throughout this difficult process.
- Lost wages and lost job performance: As you are dealing with your injuries and treating with your doctor, you may not be able to work. The loss of income can be traumatic. You may lose job benefits, promotions, bonuses, and even be terminated. A car accident lawyer can help you file for all available sources of revenue and even advance loans. I have never charged interest to my clients for emergency loans.
- Totalled or nondriveable vehicle: Your car or truck may have been towed from the scene and is sitting in the police pound or wrecker yard. It may be totalled and worse, you may have a large balance due. Or it may be repairable but you have no rental insurance and so no way to get to your doctor, job, grocery store, or other essential activities. The sooner you can file on the at-fault driver’s liability policy and have your vehicle appraised and paid a good settlement (if totalled) and work with your bank, or the sooner you can have that company agree to pay for repairs and get you into a rental car, the better. We can help you with those services at well.
At Berenson Injury Law, we know from 37 years of working to help the victims of car accidents just how devastating they can be. If you are in a car or truck collision over the New Year’s weekend, please contact us. We will fight to help you receive the compensation that you deserve.
I wish you a happy and safe New Year!