The rules and regulations on the roadways today are complex and sometimes confusing. When it comes to Florida drivers, understanding what is and is not within traffic law is imperative to keeping the roads safe and free from collisions. Unfortunately, many traffic rules that people think they understand are actually loose versions of the law. For instance, which vehicle gets the right-of-way in a roundabout? Many motorists think that they know the answer, but these are usually assumptions. When it comes to operating a vehicle, making an assumption can be one of the most dangerous things a driver can do.
In an attempt to avoid some of the commonly broken traffic rules, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently seen mistakes:
- Four-way Stops: drivers are to yield to the car that reaches the intersection first. When two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, yield to the driver on the right.
- Left Turns: if light is green and no traffic is approaching, you can make the turn (whether or not the green turning light is lit).
- Following Distance: two full seconds should separate you from the vehicle in front of you. Determine this by counting how long it takes for you to pass a landmark on the side of the road.
- Speed Limit: driving 10 miles over the speed limit is against the law, always stay at the posted limit.
- Right on Red: while this is legal in Florida, drivers must come to a complete stop before turning.
- Roundabouts: vehicles entering the roundabout are to yield to any drivers already in the roundabout
- Highway Merging: entering vehicles must adjust speed to drive within the flow of traffic, vehicles already on the highway are to maintain the legal posted speed limit.
- Turning Signals: all turns and all lane changes require a turning signal, no matter what.
Far too many Florida drivers are unable to distinguish things that they think they “should” do on the roadways from things that are actually the law. For instance, how many drivers do you know who continually switch lanes without using a signal? This is against the law and causes hundreds of accidents each year. Always be aware of the law while behind the wheel, it could be the difference between life and death.
Any type of auto accident is scary. Add an 18 wheeler into the questions and the potential collision becomes deadly. Truck accidents occur all too regularly on the roads and highways of South Florida. With heavy traffic and frequent road construction, Florida drivers are faced with challenges on the roadways each and every day. In fact, Palm Beach County faces more than 57,500 large truck collisions each year, according to statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Knowing how to safely navigate the roads when driving near a large truck is critical, particularly when traveling on a busy highway.
Historically, over 70 percent of auto accidents involving 18 wheelers are the fault of the other vehicle, not the truck driver. Therefore, it is vital for all Florida motorists to follow these safety tips when near a large truck:
- Never cut off an 18 wheeler
- Always allow for a greater distance between you and large truck compared to you and a standard sized vehicle
- Exercise patience when you see two trucks driving side by side, as they are unable to exceed a certain speed limit to due “speed limiters”
- Be aware of 18 wheelers while they turn, as their radius often causes the edge of the truck to swing into the opposite lane
- Pass large trucks on the left-hand side whenever possible
- Be extra cautious when changing lanes in front of a large truck, if you cannot see both of the truck’s headlights than the truck driver cannot see you
Semi-trucks present a number of dangers due to their sheer size and weight. A collision with one of these vehicles has proven to one of the most dangerous types of crashes today. Understanding important aspects of driving near a large truck such as stoppage times, maneuvering limitations, and blind spots is essential to safe driving. When in doubt, always exercise great caution while traveling closely to an 18 wheeler.
Motor vehicle collisions are some of the scariest situations that a person encounters in their lifetime. When one vehicle crashes into another the impact is unexpected. The shock of the impact often sends the accident victims into a frenzied swirl of emotions. From stress to fear to uncertainty, auto accidents are often mishandled simply because the person is not in their normal state of mind. As the at-fault driver, one wrong statement can cause a seriously costly headache in the future of a potential car accident legal proceeding.
Taking the time to understand some of the most common mistakes made immediately following a crash is one of the easiest ways to prevent these blunders from occurring. These are of the most typical mistakes made after a car accident:
- Do not talk to the other motorist’s lawyer.
- Do not apologize to the driver, any type of apology can be considered an admission of liability.
- Call 911 immediately.
- Do not talk to the other motorist’s insurance company.
- Avoid arguing with the other motorist.
- Stay at the scene of the accident no matter what.
- Wait to bring your car in for repairs until your insurance provider says to do so.
- Do not leave the accident without exchanging important information like the motorist’s name, insurance provider and policy number, vehicle make and model, home address, and license plate number).
- You do not have to use the tow truck that came to the scene of the crash, discuss towing options with the police officer there.
- Do not try to deal with the accident aftermath by yourself, consult a trustworthy attorney as soon as you can.
Car accidents are overwhelming for the at-fault driver and the victim in the crash. The many emotions and stresses that come along with any kind of collision make it difficult to thinking clearly and this often leads to costly mistakes. Keep these common blunders in mind so that you are prepared in the event of an auto collision.
An afternoon shower is almost a guarantee each and every day during the summertime in Florida. From highway travel to local street traffic, rain can really complicate a typical driving situation. What was once a quick, easy ride can quickly develop into a time-consuming, treacherous route. Florida drivers grow frustrated when traffic jams arise from heavy rains that cause people to hit their brakes and drive slowly. Unfortunately, this frustration leads to poor decisions behind the wheel. This issue, coupled with that many hazards associated to driving in the rain, cause an abundance of auto accidents in the summer season.
There are a number of common bad habits that make Florida’s roadways more dangerous than they have to be during a summer storm. Understanding these bad habits and making an effort to correct them can be the difference between a safe travel and a crash. The following are 12 tips for driving in the rain:
- Attempt to drive in the middle, as the sides of the roads have water run off present
- Turn your headlights on
- Turn on your windshield wipers right away
- Do not attempt to drive through an enormous puddle, have patience and drive around it when safe to do so
- Slow down speed to match the driving conditions
- Take turns very easy, as skidding is common during the rain
- Make sure tires are properly inflated to avoid hydroplaning
- When skidding occurs, slowly take your foot off of the gas and steer your car in the direction you wish to go
- Do not attempt to suddenly brake while hydroplaning
- Allow ample distance between you and the vehicle in front of you
- Try to avoid using your brakes
- Do not use cruise control while driving in the rain
While many of these tips seem obvious, far too many Florida motorists forget them during scary, heavy rainstorms. Things like lightning and thunder can become dangerous distractions while behind the wheel. When in doubt, find a safe place to pull over your vehicle until the rain stops and lessens.
Bullying and harassment in schools throughout the United States has become a growing problem over the last couple of decades. From cyber bullying on social media websites and chatrooms to school bullying in elementary, middle, and high schools, children today are faced with a number of challenges that never existed before. Palm Beach County has taken a serious stand on the issue of bullying by joining in on the Do the Write Thing Challenge with thousands of other schools across the nation. As a long-time supporter of the organization, Bill Bone feels strongly about the impact that this writing challenge has on children throughout Palm Beach County schools.
The goal of the programs is to shed light on the issue of bullying through a writing competition as well as a personal commitment from the students. These students participate in a classroom discussion as well as a writing contest to express how violence has impacted their life personally. In an effort to reduce violence in neighborhoods, homes, and schools across the country, the Do the Write Thing Challenge has had an overwhelmingly positive impact since it first began. To date, over a million students have taken the challenge and participated in committing to do something about youth violence today.
On May 12th, NFL’s Anquan Boldin as well as the Harlem Globetrotters were the special surprise guests at the recognition luncheon at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Parents, teachers, and students attended the event to shed light on the anti-bullying movement and the importance of stopping youth violence. Boldin made a particularly heartfelt speech during the luncheon to discuss how important doing the right thing and helping each other out can be in the defense against bullying today. The Globetrotters also had the opportunity to show off their basketball skills while discussing anti-bullying.
As the Palm Beach County chairman of the Do the Write Thing Challenge, Bill Bone offered his feelings regarding his long-time support of this amazing cause, “I am often brought to tears by the stories we hear from these students. The response we have received over the past seven years, from teachers, parents and students is overwhelming.”
Florida is home to the number one boating destination in the United States. This week is the celebration of Independence Day and for most Floridians, this means hopping on a boat and enjoying a day on the ocean. Fourth of July festivities wouldn’t be the same without water, sunshine, and a barbeque. But with the massive number of boats out on the water this weekend, it is absolutely essential to remain safe. When boaters go out for July 4th they are often in “party mode”. This means that alcohol intake is high and judgment can be clouded. Boating accidents and injuries often follow when you pair a boater with alcohol. In the worst case scenario, this combination leads to a boating death and no one wants that.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important safety tips for you to keep in mind while you’re out on the boat celebrating July 4th this weekend:
- Be aware of the weather before your departure and plan accordingly
- Remain at a safe speed and be aware of jet skiers, water skiers, and swimmers at all times
- Never allow the boat captain to consume alcoholic beverages
- Be sure to have the correct safety equipment such as life vests (enough for ALL passengers), fire extinguisher, operable boat lights, etc.
- Exercise extra caution when loading and unloading the boat
- Make sure that all passengers remain inside of the boat at all times
- Follow all rules and regulations for the specific area that you are boating within
According to the United States Coast Guard, a person is injured or killed in a boating accident every two and half hours. What’s even scarier is that 63.4 percent of boating accidents occur with a boater who considers themselves “very experienced”. Clearly, boating accidents can happen to anyone and any time. Being aware of the most important boating safety tips is imperative while operating a boat in open waters. Be sure to go through your checklist prior to leaving the dock. Larmoyeux & Bone wishes all of you boaters a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!
Summer is a time for friends, family, and celebrations. One of the biggest celebrations of the summer is certainly Independence Day. As Americans across the nation gather together to bring in July 4th, it is important to have fun while remaining safe. Unfortunately, there are a lot of potential safety hazards common to 4th of July festivities. From the dangers linked to swimming to the possible fireworks risks to boating accidents to sun damage, the list goes on and on regarding what could cause injury or harm on this day. Statistics show that over $35 million is spent throughout the nation in fire damages each year. Both fireworks and decorations near fireworks are linked to these costs. Not only are injuries a real threat, but children are often those who are most likely to sustain an injury.
This year, let’s make an effort to go to the extra mile to ensure the safety of our friends and family. An avoidable injury will surely ruin your Independence Day celebrations. Keep the following tips in mind on July 4th this Friday:
- Make sure that kids are away from any and all fireworks at all times
- Be responsible with alcohol consumption, always plan for a designated driver if you are traveling to a party
- Make sure there are ample sets of eyes on the water when children are swimming
- Keep food and beverages covered will outside
- Apply sunscreen throughout the day
- Go over the safety guidelines when swimming at a waterway, ocean, or lake
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
- Keep children far away from the grill and any campfires
- Do not leave food outside all day
- Be aware of all boating laws and restrictions, ensure a sober driver is available
- Parents and caregivers must be aware and alert all day
July 4th can get chaotic quickly. Celebrations call for a level of hectic fun. Nevertheless, it is absolutely imperative that parents and caregivers take an active role in ensuring that the children are extra safe during firework displays, while swimming, and during sun exposure. Finally, drinking responsible is essential. Intoxicated adults cannot keep a careful eye on children. On behalf of Larmoyeux & Bone, Happy 4th of July!
Driving is an inevitable, unavoidable part of almost every American adult’s day. In Florida, in particular, almost every person is tasked with the responsibility of driving to and from work, driving their children around, etc. The average Florida driver is in their vehicle for quite a few miles each and every day. Cell phones are, not surprisingly, one of the most fatal and widespread forms of driver distraction. While hands-free devices certainly exist, data supports the fact that hands-free does not necessarily equal risk-free. Evaluating the most influential driving distractions today is essential to reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities related to distractions on the road.
While some of the top driver distractions may seem obvious, others may serve as a bit of a shock. Let’s take a look at the most dangerous and well-known types of driving distractions plaguing the roads today:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone while driving
- Driving with kids in the backseat
- Talking to passengers
- Eating and drinking while driving
- Using a GPS device
- Changing the radio station/song on a mobile device
- Driving angry to blow off steam
- Grooming or applying makeup
- Driver exhaustion
Driving distractions according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are either manual, cognitive, or visual. Manual distractions refer to those that require the hands to come off of the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions refer to those that sidetrack the mind away from the task of driving. Visual distractions refer to those that occur when the driver is unable to watch where they are directing the vehicle. No matter how you slice it, multi-tasking or doing any activities beyond focusing on driving while behind the wheel is incredibly dangerous.
Every year the “Do the Write Thing Challenge”, an anti-violence program, hits the heart of many, both children and adults. Sponsored by the National Campaign to Stop Violence, middle school children are tasked with the challenge to compose essays or poems about violence and bullying. The winners from each local county are chosen to represent their school in Washington, D.C. during an all-expenses-paid trip. Middle school students are often faced with bullying. At a time of their lives when bullying hits so close to home, the Do the Write Thing Challenge is an incredible opportunity for these kids to express themselves through writing.
Paired with a classroom discussion, the “Challenge” is to write an essay or poem that answers these three questions:
- How has youth violence affected my life?
- What are the causes of youth violence?
- What can I do to reduce youth violence?
The program’s objective is to reduce the amount and frequency of violence in schools, homes, and neighborhoods through the encouragement of these students making a personal commitment to do something about the problem. This year, Michael Lesh, a 12 year old student of Don Estridge High Tech Middle School, is one of 10 local students being recognized for his essay. Michael’s essay about losing his brother, who was shot and killed during an armed robbery at a gas station, struck a chord with this year’s judges.
In his essay entitled, “Would He Have Done It If He Knew How Sad I Am?” Michael says, “… This act of violence devastating my family. We have all gone to counseling to help us try to get through this. … The police never found his killer. He robbed me of ever getting to know my brother. He took away the time we would have shared. It’s hard to forgive him. I wish he could know how I feel so maybe he could feel empathy and never do it again.”
Michael is excited to be chosen as a representative of Palm Beach County. The Do the Write Thing Challenge is an excellent program that has encouraged millions of students to make a commitment to do something about the problem of youth violence in America. Bill Bone is a proud sponsor of this inspiring program.
Despite the onslaught of media attention surrounding texting and driving in the United States, it seems that teen drivers and adult drivers still haven’t gotten the message. From Public Service Announcements to in-school campaigns to grassroots campaigns, there certainly is no shortage of available information. Unfortunately, recent statistics reveal that this still hasn’t had much of an effect of accident and injury rates due to texting while driving. According to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen driver distraction behind the wheel is a serious concern. In fact, about 41 percent of America’s teen drivers reported texting or emailing while driving. These numbers highlight the fact that this problem has not gone away.
With such a large bulk of teen deaths a result of motor vehicle accidents, it is truly frightening that texting and driving is a growing issue. Teens today are incredibly dependent on their cell phones. From checking Facebook updates to staying in constant communication with their friends, young people in America cannot seem to let go of their phone, even while operating a vehicle. These numbers continue to expand in spite of the many pushes to raise awareness. Take a look at this incredible PSA below from Volkswagen entitled, “Eyes on the Road”:
In the PSA, Hong Kong moviegoers were seemingly watching a commercial with typical footage of a vehicle driving along the road. All of a sudden, these moviegoers receive a text message at the same time, as the audience all looks down at their phone to read the message the vehicle veers off of the road and hits a tree. The commercial then cuts to text that reads, “Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel”. This is another powerful, impactful message that hopefully hits home for viewers.
It seems as though scary statistics just do not do the trick in convincing teens of the dangers linked to texting while driving. With any hope, these type of commercials will help to influence teens to put their phones down while they are behind the wheel. Anything can happen in a split second while operating a motor vehicle. Texting and driving is a deadly combination.