Memorial Day Weekend Road Saftey

Road Safety Extra Important for Summer Holiday Weekends

Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of the summer in the Midwest.  However, you and your family choose to celebrate or honor the holiday weekend, it often involves road travel.  Extended weekend holidays in Missouri and Illinois always mean more traffic and greater possibility of impaired drivers and car accidents on the roadway.  There are a few safety measures that are quick and simple ways to increase everyone’s safe travels.

Drive Sober

Many will the celebrations with alcohol and great food.  The extended weekend and beginning of summer can be the reason enough to celebrate.  Simply plan ahead.  Just as you are planning which family or friends you are going to meet and where–take a few minutes to plan how you will all arrive home safely.  Those arrangements may mean that you are staying over at other’s homes, staying at a hotel, Vrbo.  Depending on where you are,  rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have saved many a drunk driver from a collision.  It is great idea to pre-plan lodging and travel so there is availability;  but also so you are not confronted with four equally drunk friends drawing straws on who is going to irresponsibly risk everyone’s life.  We typically do not make our best decisions under the influence. Sometimes those bad decisions are humorous after the fact, however, this is no humor in being involved in a crash due to a drunk driver and nothing funny about criminal prosecution.  We can fully enjoy  ourselves no matter how crazy the party by just planning a little before we begin.

Do not drive if you have been consuming alcohol. Do not ride in a car with someone else who has been consuming alcohol. Designated drivers are a great thing, but they need to be a person who has not consumed ANY alcohol, rather the person who is “least drunk”.

Buckle Up

The number of people failing to wear a seat belt has been alarming high this year according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol crash reports.  We are not doing a great job of buckling up in Missouri.  And, it is not as if clicking the seat belt takes a great deal of time or effort. Many of us do it as a habit without even thinking about it.  If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash, the seat belt keeps you in the vehicle.  Those without seat belts are subject to “ejection”.  A person’s odds of surviving a crash decreases dramatically when they are ejected.  Injuries due to ejection or partial ejections are really too awful to describe.  There is a reason that ejections most often result in fatalities simply due to the force exerted on the body.

Prepping Your Vehicle

If you are going on a road trip this weekend, hopefully, you’ve already prepared your vehicle.  Many folks left yesterday.   A quick check before leaving your drive would involve checking your tires, gas level and fluids.  Making sure you have a working, charged cell phone for roadside emergencies is a must.  Maybe you’ve pared down your winter emergency kit and changed out a cooler of water for the heavy blankets and kitty liter for snow/ice.  A flashlight is helpful as well as visibility equipment (reflectors/flares), water, blanket, first aid kit, phone charger, tire sealant/gauge and snacks. The few repair shops that are open may not be convenient. As well, Roadside Assistance services can get booked up thus delaying them getting to your car very quickly.

Don’t Park on the Shoulder

Do not pull to the side of the interstate for any reason other than your vehicle simply will not move.  If many motorists had any idea how dangerous it  is to pull to the side of the interstate, it would happen far less.  Our attorneys have been a part of many fatal accident reconstructions involving trained workers and state highway patrol.  In those instances, our attorneys have stood in the median in full reflected gear and been dumbstruck at how many vehicles fly by and clearly those passing motorist never see them or the emergency vehicles with lights.   Traffic is going  by 70-100 mph and it is disturbing that you can see drivers looking in every direction but right in front of them. The point of this little story—never pull over on the interstate unless your car will not move.  If your car simply breaks down–get as far as you possibly can away from the road.  Experts will even tell you to get out of the car (do not exit onto the road–go out through the passenger door into the median) and get away from the car.

Ideally, we keep our vehicles in good working order to avoid this nightmare.  Granted, one’s car breaking down on the road is a nightmare in of itself.  Please do not compound the problem by being a sitting duck in that car waiting to be struck by a semi-truck.  It is tragically common that pedestrians are hit on an interstate after a crash or car break down.  Please do not assume that any other drivers will see you or your vehicle.  It sounds crazy because it is.  That is how very dangerous it is to be on the side of the interstate.  Several times in mere months, we see news articles where first responders or law enforcement are struck by other motorists while they are assisting injured motorists.

While you are driving, keep a look out for possible stranded motorists and avoid hitting them.   More than one of in the office has run their car onto the rims when a flat tire occurred while on the interstate if that gives you any indication of how important it is to us not to pull over on the interstate.  We have had too many clients that were critically or fatally injured when they pulled over on the interstate.

Follow the Rules of the Road

Yes, it is a holiday and many will be in the mood to hurry up and get to their destination for the fun to begin.  However, traffic is heavy. It began Thursday night and will continue through next Tuesday morning.  Plan your trip and allow a little extra time. Everyone wants to get to their destination as soon as possible, but don’t be tempted to speed or make some reckless driving decisions in order to make up a couple of minutes. Failing to obey the rules of the road can intersection collisions and multi-vehicle collisions

Pay Attention to Safe Passing

Again, patience is not always in great supply when you are trying to get to your celebration.  A common mistake drivers make is passing aggressively.  Again, make sure you have clear distance before engaging in passing and pay attention to the car in front of you. Are they traveling really slow because they may turn?  If so, they may turn right into you while you are passing.  We like to hope that everyone will use their signal, but we cannot assume so.  Signaling is the original form of texting and it is really helpful.  Improper passing can easily result in horrifying head-on collisions and rear-end crashes.

Obey the Road Signs

Yeah, maybe you’ve done a rolling stop at the stop sign on the corner every day for a month.  When we do not observe the signs correctly, it becomes a bad habit. Then, the one time a car is coming and you fail to stop–ouch.  We all have some bad driving habits we are working on correcting.  The point is, make sure you mind your P’s & Q’s while driving in hectic holiday traffic.

Motor Vehicle Crashes

Nothing runs a good celebration buzz like a motor vehicle crash.  Likewise, car crashes can be life changing even if not life-threatening.  An injury can not only ruin your weekend but impact the next few months or years of your life.  We are not talking about just fatal crashes here.  Many people are in “serious” or “moderate” crashes that literally require months and years of treatment.  You do not want to be responsible for that kind of injury for yourself or your friends.  There will be motor vehicle crashes this weekend.  We wish that were not true, but we have not had a single weekend of any year that did not involve motor vehicle crashes. We can keep from having 50-100 of these crashes in Missouri.  Each of us can focus on driving safely and improve our crash numbers greatly.

If You Are In a Crash…Take These Steps

There are some steps to follow after a crash.

Immediately call the police.  No matter where you are, call the police.  The mess that occurs when you just “exchange numbers” is hard to work out.  Anytime you just “exchange information” without a police report, you should know that it is always a good chance the other driver may not give you correct information and may simply denied it ever happened with no report.

If you are hurt, then go to the ER. Yes, if you are not in the town in which you live, it is inconvenient.  If you are hurt–go get medical help.  The crash has occurred and not getting the correct help to take care of your health is a mistake.  We have assisted many clients in this exact scenario and they always regretted not taking care of themselves.  Once the crash occurs, things have gone sideways and the situation has changed.  No trip or celebration is more important than your heath.  Take care of yourself so that you can actively be a part of all the future celebrations.

Take safety precautions, drive safe and sober and enjoy the first holiday weekend of the summer!!!

If you have questions, can help. We do answer the phone seven days a week and even on holidays.

Call us toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally 314.369.5116

 

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The Cagle Law Firm serves accident and injury clients throughout St. Louis and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, including the eastern Missouri and southern Illinois communities. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your personal injury case, call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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