Motorcycle Group Ride Safety Tips

It’s happened to everyone. You’re riding along the highway and you suddenly hear a loud zooming noise coming from behind and then, in an instant, the noises grow in numbers and get louder as the come from either side of your vehicle. This is the sound of a motorcycle group ride or, as some refer to it, a motorcycle gang. As a car driver, this type of loud zooming and crowding on the roadways can be startling and dangerous. Motorists often find it difficult to maintain composure during this time, as they feel surrounded by motorcycles moving at fast speeds.

In Florida and around the world, motorcycle group rides are incredibly common. Motorcycle riders often find great pleasure in riding as a group. In fact, a recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that motorcycle riders love the sense of community that they feel when riding in a pack. While this is great for the motorcyclists, it is often terrifying for the unsuspecting car drivers. Generally speaking, the most hazardous things about motorcycle group rides are:

  • Variance in motorcyclist skill level throughout the group
  • Expansive road coverage/blockage
  • Chaos in the form of loud noises and overall nature of motorcyclist packs

Car drivers are to remain calm when it close proximity to a motorcycle group ride. Remember to maintain your speed and continue to operate the vehicle as you normally would. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, can do a few things to keep group rides safe:

  • Ride with 10 or less motorcyclists
  • No “bullying” of cars by tailgating or surrounding
  • Plan for who will be the lead rider, sweep rider, and the overall formation of the intended ride
  • Discuss and plan your passing formation
  • Keep in mind the skill level of the group’s least experienced motorcyclist
  • Plan out the stops, route, and duration of the ride

Florida’s roadways are the safest when everyone does their part to drive carefully. While motorcyclists typically get a bad reputation in the event of a collision, it is truly up to all motorists to play a role in driving safely.

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Auto Accident Protection and Your Insurance Plan

Florida ranks as one of the top states for the largest numbers of uninsured drivers in the entire country. According to recent statistics, as many as 25 percent of all Florida motorists are driving around without insurance right now. While some may look at the 75 percent of insured drivers as a positive statistic for Florida, the truth is that many of these insured drivers are actually improperly insured, thus leaving them in a tough situation in the event of a car crash. If not properly insured, auto accidents can become incredibly expensive, which adds even more stress onto an already stressful situation. As such, Florida drivers must understand whether or not they are in fact properly insured.

In the worst case scenario, drivers who are not properly insured in Florida are at risk of losing their license in the event of a collision and might be subject to paying large charges at the DMV in order to get it back. Therefore, Florida drivers must make sure to carry no fault/PIP insurance if they are driving a registered vehicle in the state or if they are licensed to drive in the state – this means anyone spending more than 90 days in Florida. This kind of insurance covers the basics (as much as $10,000 per individual for injuries and lost wages). So, supplemental insurance should be considered in addition to this. Florida motorists should keep these tips in mind:

  • Purchase GAP insurance to make sure that the difference between auto value and auto loan is covered
  • Purchase an insurance policy option with high coverage levels
  • Make sure to carry uninsured motorist insurance in the event that the person involved in the car accident with you does not have insurance

In addition to carrying the right insurance and protecting yourself properly, Florida drivers should keep in mind that you should never admit fault by apologizing after a crash. Even if the accident was the other driver’s fault, apologizing is a form of fault admission and may be used against you. Also, do not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Auto accidents are chaotic and overwhelming and this often causes drivers to act irrationally. Be sure to purchase a proper insurance policy today to save money in the future.

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Technology Company Determined To Stop Texting and Driving

Scott Tibbitts was a chemical engineer who worked for NASA, but today he is the CEO and Founder of Katasi, a technology company determined to stop texting and driving once and for all. Tragic beginnings marked the concept for the company. When Tibbitts was traveling to a business meeting and discovered that the person who he was supposed to meet with was killed by a texting while driving teenager. With his engineering background, Tibbitts immediately realized that a driver’s phone should be shut down while they are driving. Using the telematics box located in all cars built after 1996, Tibbitts realized there was something that could be done. When the telematics box sends the wireless message that the vehicle is in motion, the Katasi servers are notified of both the car and phone’s location and incoming data.

While the concept was there, Tibbitts needing some financial backing. In 2010, American Family Insurance found out about the Katasi project and eventually contributed a $1 million investment in the company. The ability to stop texts and social media alerts from coming through to a cell phone until the car has stopped could be one of the biggest breakthroughs in motor vehicle safety. Take a look at Katasi’s promotional video introducing their product, Groove:

Tibbitts was able to find a partner in Sprint to create a well-rounded team in order to continue the development of Katasi technology. Unfortunately, Sprint had to back off as they were concerned with the legal ramifications of backing this project. As such, the project was stalled. In the end, Tibbitts had to go off on his own again, although he did receive investments from the organization. To date, Tibbitts is still working towards creating a solution to texting and driving. The greatest challenge he must overcome is in the ability to conquer consumer demand. At the end of the day, Tibbitts has one true goal and that is to save lives.

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Childbirth Injuries Caused by Negligence

Childbirth is one of the most incredible, and also scary, events that take place in a woman’s life. With such a serious matter, it is absolutely imperative that the doctors and other healthcare providers are attentive, careful, and making every effort possible to avoid any type of errors. Injury to a child or mother during childbirth or pregnancy is devastating and while there are certainly risks involved in the process, injuries and complications caused by the negligence of a healthcare professional is simply unacceptable. In the terrible event that some sort of negligence has caused a complication during a childbirth or pregnancy, the healthcare provider is subject to legal ramifications. Due to the complexity of malpractice law suits, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney.

Legal claims are justified in the following childbirth injuries:

  • Failure to diagnose properly and treat any complications present
  • Failure to choose the right procedures and treatment
  • Failure to obtain informed consent prior to medical treatment being administered
  • Failure to consult with a healthcare specialist when it is necessary to do so
  • Failure to monitor the child’s or mother’s conditions properly

Unfortunately, for every 1,000 childbirths, 27 result in some type of injury. Oxygen deprivation is the most common amongst these injuries often due to issues with the umbilical cord. Additionally, many child birth injuries occur due to an abnormal position during the birthing process. The following are some of the most common childbirth injuries:

  • Brachial Plexus Palsy
  • Brain damage
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Fractured Collar Bone
  • Klumpke’s Palsy
  • Skin Irritation
  • Temporary Paralysis

Physicians and healthcare providers have the duty to act “reasonably prudent” while at work and as therefore held responsible in the event that some type of negligence takes place. The ability to recover damages for childbirth injuries is critical to being able to cover the expenses of physical injuries, medical expenses, economic damages, and more.

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Avoiding the Most Common Passenger Vehicle Errors

Passenger vehicle errors are one of the top causes of truck accidents in Florida today. Traveling on the turnpike or I-95, it is likely that you will pass several 18-wheeler trucks or large tractor-trailers. Due to their size and weight, these large trucks often travel at slower speeds than a typical motor vehicle and this can cause frustration for other drivers on the road, particularly when the truck is traveling in the middle or left lane. For the most part, tractor-trailer trucks are expected to travel in the right-most lane. Nevertheless, these trucks cannot always travel in that lane and therefore the passenger vehicles must adjust their driving habits accordingly.

Each year there are more than 2,000 motor vehicle accidents with large commercial trucks. Since these trucks are so enormous, the results of these crashes are often catastrophic. Florida motorists must make every effort to avoid the following most common passenger vehicle errors:

  • Tailgating
  • Driving in a truck’s “No Zone” (their blind spot – which is very large)
  • Changing lanes improperly
  • Changing lanes without using the turning signal
  • Keeping only one hand on the steering wheel
  • Neglecting to adjust their follow distance during poor weather conditions

The above errors can cause an accident with any type of vehicle, but when a large commercial truck is involved, the aftermath can be fatal. For instance, did you know that when you are traveling behind a tractor-trailer truck and are unable to see their side view mirrors they are unable to see your vehicle? This is known as the truck’s “No Zone” and, unlike a typical vehicle, the blind spot is lengthy. Keeping in mind the most common passenger vehicle errors will help Florida drivers to avoid them. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to give a commercial truck as much space as possible on the roadway, even if that means waiting to pass them.

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What To Do After a Hit and Run Accident

According to Florida law, all drivers involved in a car accident must remain at the scene of the collision until all auto accident requirements have been fulfilled. Unfortunately, far too many motorists completely disregard this law and drive off in the hopes that they will get away with their wrongdoing. In the state of Florida hit and run crashes are a very serious crime. Luckily, Florida is a “no fault” insurance state, meaning that insurance companies in Florida are responsible for providing compensation to the victims of a hit and run collision. While this is promising to some extent, many insurance companies will attempt to only pay for a percentage of the medical expenses and lost wages incurred due to the crash.

The best way to deal with a hit and run accident is to be prepared beforehand. No one can predict when something like this will occur, but being mentally prepared will help for this terrible situation to go as smoothly as possible. Here are a few tips on what to do immediately following a hit and run collision:

  1. Attempt to get the driver’s license plate number
  2. Call the police to report the incident
  3. Fill out an accident report with the police
  4. Speak to any witnesses who were at the scene of the crash
  5. Contact your insurance company to report the crash

Remember, the best base scenario is to pull over to the shoulder and exchange information with the other driver. However, if the other driver neglects to stop, you must take the above actions. The following are things that you should not do after a hit and run accident:

  1. Follow the fleeing vehicle
  2. Block traffic while waiting for the police to arrive at the scene
  3. Leave the car in the travel lane

When an accident occurs it is easy to make mistakes in the chaos. It is likely that the person who fled the scene of the accident did so because they are not insured or not properly licensed. At any rate, it is not your job to track them down. Do your best to write down a license plate number and contact local law enforcement. Dangerous things can happen if hit and run crashes are mishandled. Keep these tips in mind in the event that you are involved in a hit and run collision in Florida.

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How To Talk To Your Teens About Safe Driving

Whether they know it or not, parents are the key to keeping their teens safe on the roadways today. For every eye roll and back talk that has parents frustrated and hesitant to speak to their teens, having serious conversations with your teen drivers can truly be the difference between a car accident and a safe ride home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the United States today. Most notably, the main cause of these collisions is driver inexperience. Teen car crashes do not discriminate. Your straight-A student is subject to a car crash just as much as the class clown. New drivers simply need more attention. They need to be taught the rules of the road and the safest way to operate their vehicles from the start and continually as they become more and more experienced.

Parents who play an active role in not only teaching their teens the proper way to drive (with ample and continuous practice), but who consistently remind their teens that operating a motor vehicle is a serious, dangerous matter that should be treated with maturity. The following are some of the most important tips for parents of teen drivers:

  • Set rules that extend beyond the traffic rules – for example, limit the number of passengers that you allow your teens have in their vehicle
  • Consider having your teen sign a Driving Agreement where they understand the consequences of breaking your rules – for example, taking the car away for an extended period
  • Do not assume that passing the driver’s license test indicates that your teen is ready for the road – keep communication open and only allow them to drive alone when you are ready and comfortable
  • Be open and honest about the fatality rates of teen drivers, point out statistics that help to paint a clear picture
  • Make sure to be very clear regarding things like alcohol, seat belts, and cell phone use – these are the most commonly broken rules amongst teens
  • Demand that your teen makes it home by curfew every night and take the car away the second that they fail to meet curfew
  • For the first several months of the teen’s driving alone, make sure that they are only allowing one passenger in their vehicle at a time

Enforcing these rules can be tough. Teens like to argue and they always feel like their parents are being “unfair”. It is absolutely imperative that you stand your ground and enforce these rules, no matter what. Teen drivers are three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to older drivers. Parents must do their part to keep their teens safe on the roads.

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A Breakdown of Premises Liability

Premises liability is something that everyone should know about. Whether you are a business owner or a customer, having a basic understanding of the legal definition of premises liability and what that may mean to you in the event of an injury is imperative. A general definition refers to the breach of duties that the owner or occupier of a real estate property is obligated to maintain. It is the body of law which holds the occupier or owner accountable when an individual suffers an injury as a result of the dangerous conditions or a commercial or residential property. In a nutshell, people walk into a residence or a store with the expectation that they will be safe, not placed in any sort of hazardous situation. Owners and occupiers must maintain an adequate minimum level of safety, whether a private or public property.

At the supermarket or shopping mall or even a friend’s house, some type of safety requirements are expected. Unfortunately, unexpected injuries occur all over the United States each and every day. Some of the most common forms of premises liability claims include:

  • Slip and fall
  • Inadequate security
  • Fires
  • Lack of store maintenance
  • Falling ceilings
  • Unsafe sidewalks or walkways
  • Construction zones
  • Electrocution
  • Exposure to a poisonous substance of some kind
  • Escalator or elevator malfunction

Neglecting to maintain a safe atmosphere for all people who step foot on an owner or occupiers’ property is subject to a potential lawsuit. As such, an owner or occupier must make sure to take as many precautions as possible to maintain a safe place for their guests to be exposed to. As a guest or customer, being aware of your rights is critical in the event of an accident. Even if you are unsure that an injury you sustained falls under premises liability, it is essential that you speak with an experienced attorney to determine if a lawsuit is the appropriate measure to take.

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The Importance of Balancing Your Checkbook

Balancing a checkbook is something that most adults would agree to dread. Often described as “frustrating” and “painful”, balancing your checkbook takes patience and time and a lot of math. Unfortunately, checkbook balancing is one of the inevitable chores that every adult must do in order to keep their finances in order. The problem is that so many adults avoid balancing their checkbook that when they finally get around to doing it, the task becomes overwhelming. The key to making balancing your checkbook less of a chore is to do it regularly and avoid the headaches that come with months’ worth of balancing.

Keeping your checkbook balanced is important for a number of reasons. Keep the following in mind the next time you think you can push back balancing your checkbook another week:

  • Bounced check charges and overdraft fees get more expensive every year
  • Bounced checks can negatively affect your credit rating
  • Allows you to keep a close watch on bank statements in the case that the bank makes an error
  • Keeps your alert in the event of fraudulent charges or identity theft
  • More trustworthy and up-to-date than online banking
  • Helps to encourage budgeting

Balancing your checkbook is one of those annoying, yet necessary parts of being an adult. As more and more changes in technology come along and effect online banking, it can be tempting to avoid balancing your checkbook all together. At the end of the day, keeping a close eye on your bank account is the key to avoiding costly mistakes, fraudulent activity, and all sorts of other unforeseen issues regarding your banking. Once you make balancing your checkbook a habit, it will seem like less of a chore and more of a financially responsible activity.

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Avoiding Insurance Company Excuses

Auto accidents happen in a flash and they are often a chaotic, frightening time for all involved in the crash. Insurance companies play a major role in most vehicle collisions. With the responsibility to help foot the bill for any injury, insurance companies tend to make every effort to reduce their financial responsibility. Even though the insurance industry takes in billions of dollars in premiums each year, they continually attempt to limit the amount of money that they pay their insured clients. Insurers will develop a number of excuses to avoid paying a fair settlement to those involved in the crash.

Being aware of the most common excuses that insurance companies make can help to prepare you in the event of an accident. From recovering from an injury to making sure that your vehicle is properly repaired, accident victims have a long to-do list after a crash. Here are some of the most frequently used excuses from insurers today:

  1. The crash was caused by defective equipment on your vehicle
  2. The driver was speeding and therefore was unable to avoid the crash
  3. The driver is blamed for being distracted and not paying attention at the time of the accident
  4. No turning signal was used
  5. The only witness to the accident was the passenger inside of your vehicle and they don’t count

None of the above excuses are valid when it comes to getting your insurance company to cover the costs of your accident injuries. Insurance companies are paid premiums throughout the year for this exact reason, during your time of need. If an insurance company is attempting to give you the run around, you may need some help from an attorney. Having an experienced attorney speak to your insurance company on your behalf is often the most efficient way to get the money that you deserve.

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