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Van Nuys Legal Blog

Tire maintenance on an 18-wheeler

Trucking companies in California have a responsibility to maintain their trucks' components, from the front bumper of the tractor to the back of the trailer. That includes all the tires in between, as well as the various engine parts, connectors and brakes. 

According to the Bolt Insurance Agency, part of routine maintenance for commercial vehicle tires is ensuring that they are properly balanced. If this is not done regularly, tires will develop vibrations that lead to uneven wear on the treads, increasing the risk of blowouts. Alignment is another vital wear factor. When the tires are aligned, they are all flat against the pavement and parallel to each other. 

An auto wreck doesn't have to wreck your life

It's Monday, so you make the usual trek to work on the crowded highway. Of course, you'd rather be other places, but duty calls. All of a sudden, a car that seemingly comes out of nowhere strikes your vehicle and injures you. Now, you find yourself on the way to the hospital instead of to work, and going to work doesn't sound so bad after all.

In some accidents in California, the crash was the result of a careless driver. If a negligent motorist caused the auto wreck that led to your injuries, it is within your rights to seek monetary compensation, and a police report may be a helpful tool in achieving this.

Has your vision changed since your car accident?

After your head-on collision, you went to the nearest California hospital and received medical attention to ensure that you did not suffer any serious injuries. A careful exam may have revealed some soft tissue injuries and a bump on the head, but your doctor assured you that all would heal with minor treatment needed. Could changes in your vision a few weeks later be related?

According to Yale Medicine, the answer is yes, and your delayed symptoms could even lead to a detached retina. Warning signs that may develop gradually and indicate that your vision is at risk include the following:

  • Flashes of bright light (some have compared this to lightning in appearance)
  • Intermittent black floaters (these may look like cobwebs or bugs moving across the vision)
  • Fluttering eyelid
  • Weaker vision

Using hand signals on the road

When collisions happen between motorcycles and cars, trucks or SUVs in Van Nuys, it is virtually guaranteed that the motorcyclists will the get the worst of them. Sadly, the brunt of consequences that they are forced to bear often does not reflect their degree of fault in causing such accidents. Of the 4,976 motorcyclists that The Insurance Information Institute reports were killed on American roads in 2015, it may be safe to assume that many of them died due to the fault of motorists. Often, motorists will attempt to claim that the motorcyclists they struck suddenly turned into their lanes, leaving them with little time to react. This highlights the need for motorcyclists to do all they can to indicate their intentions on the road in order to counter such claims. 

While motorcycles do typically come with turn signals, they can be difficult for motorists to see. Therefore, motorcyclists may want to also consider using hand signals when attempting to maneuver on the road. Recognized hand signals used while driving include straightening out the left arm to the side to indicate a left turn, raising the left arm to form a 90-degree angle at the elbow to indicate a right turn, and lowering the left arm to form a 90-degree angle at the elbow to show one is slowing or stopping. 

Federal truck driver health regulations may save lives

A truck driver's health may affect how well he or she performs on the road. In fact, according to a study published in Science Daily, truckers with certain medical conditions have a much higher crash risk. These include conditions that are unfortunately common due to the sedentary lifestyle, such as heart disease, back pain and diabetes.

Roundabouts lower some risks, increase others

Many cities in California and across the U.S. have replaced traditional intersections with roundabouts. Drivers merge into the circle, which has one or more lanes of traffic, and then exit when they reach their street. According to CityLab.com, some cities report a significant reduction in fatal motor vehicle crashes at intersections replaced with roundabouts. One study showed that injury and fatality crashes dropped 38 percent.

Even though roundabouts are safer, they do not necessarily indicate a lower number of crashes. In fact, more collisions happen in traffic circles, not fewer, some studies report. In one case, accidents increased by 12 percent, although the majority of the crashes damaged property only.

How can you compensate for bad drivers on your motorcycle?

You have been riding your motorcycle on the California roadways for a while now, and you may be comfortable with your skill level. However, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the risks you face on your bike never go away, and because there are so many factors that contribute to any given crash, your best bet is to manage that risk with defensive riding.

One way to identify hazards you face from other drivers is to analyze your own driving skills. If you find yourself glancing at your phone while behind the wheel, braking hard or having near misses, consider how these behaviors from other motorists affect you when you are riding. How do you avoid hitting a driver who pulls out in front of you, slams on the brakes or swerves suddenly into your lane?

Get a head tart on your claim after an accident-related TBI

Head injuries are one of the most common types of car accident injuries, and they can range in severity and impact. You may have suffered a concussion or other type of minor head injury, yet the impact of these can be quite significant for you. Even a minor traumatic brain injury can have a major impact on your life.

Some California car accident victims find that symptoms of brain injuries do not show up until days or weeks after the initial accident. In some cases, symptoms appear and linger for an extended amount of time, sometimes affecting a person for months. If you suffered even a minor brain injury in a car accident, you have no time to lose in seeking the full protection of your rights.

Senior drivers may need to take extra precautions

In some communities in the United States, public transportation and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods make owning a vehicle less important. However, for many in California, a driver's license and vehicle are key to freedom and independence. Surrendering these when health conditions become troublesome may be difficult for some seniors, but in some cases, the decision can be put off a few more years.

According to AAA, even though seniors are often safer drivers because of their experience and risk avoidance, this group still has the second highest rate of crash fatalities per mile driven, particularly after the age of 75. Part of this is due to health conditions that make it more difficult for them to operate a vehicle, such as failing vision, limited range of motion, stiff or painful joints and medication side effects. These same conditions also explain some of their higher risk of death because they also may increase vulnerability in a crash. 

Can you encourage trucker safety in your workforce?

As you may be well aware, truckers in California face a variety of risks associated with operating a vehicle that is large and heavy. Risks related to user error, inclement weather, driver distraction and environmental conditions can create dangerous situations if not navigated cautiously. However, your efforts to educate your employees on proper safety practices can encourage your workforce to use responsibility, care and vigilance when operating their vehicles. With your encouragement and efforts to provide consistent reminders of required protocols, you may be able to prevent unnecessary accidents within your workforce. 

According to TruckingOffice.com, these are some of the ways in which you can use your leadership position to promote safety among the truckers who work for you. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Create incentives: The members of your fleet may be more likely to operate their trucks safely and be extra cautious when you tie safe driving efforts to rewarding incentives. You can implement rewards after so many accident-free miles to promote safety and encourage other drivers to follow suit. 
  • Define acceptable behavior: Do not leave any areas to question when it comes to which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Make it clear that drivers should not be distracted, fatigued, manipulating electronics or acting carelessly while behind the wheel.
  • Be consistent: Having rules established and in place is an excellent way to avoid unnecessary accidents, but it will not be any good if you do not enforce your policies. When the actions of any of your drivers are in question, apply your policies and reward and discipline as necessary to show your fleet that you are serious about following the rules and adhering to the code.
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