Golf Cart Safety Tips for Families This Summer

Golf Cart Safety Tips for Families This Summer

It’s not uncommon to see families on golf carts zipping around local neighborhoods, especially in the spring and summertime. In larger neighborhoods, taking a golf cart to the pool can save a car ride or a longer, much warmer walk. Master-planned communities may have a grocery store or school within the neighborhood where it’s tempting to hop on the golf cart for a quick trip. In today’s post, we’re highlighting the dangers posed when golf carts are operated by a child. We’ll also touch on some important golf cart safety tips that apply to those who are legally allowed to operate a golf cart in South Carolina.

Understand the Dangers of Children Driving a Golf Cart
While getting behind the wheel of a golf cart must be incredibly tempting to children, when you review the potential risks, you’ll understand why it’s so dangerous. The National Law Review recently warned readers about the dangers of children operating golf carts. They cited a study that took place from early 2004 to late 2014 focused on 100 children under the age of 17 who were treated for golf cart accident injuries in Pennsylvania trauma centers. The study found the average age of the children injured was 11, with 27 percent suffering a concussion. The concussion risk went up for children ages 6 to 11, with 25 to 30 percent sustaining brain injury and brain bleeding. The National Law Review cites the lack of safety features in golf carts (there are none for children) and helmets not being required as possible explanations for the increase in head injuries.

Know the Laws About Operating Golf Carts
Some may not realize you must be 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license to operate a golf cart in South Carolina (also called a low-speed vehicle). The law also states golf cart use is limited to daylight hours, and the golf cart must be registered and insured (liability insurance). The law goes on to state: “a low-speed vehicle may be operated only on a highway for which the posted speed limit is thirty-five miles an hour or less.” Additionally, golf cart operation is limited to “within four miles of the address on the registration certificate.” Refer to the South Carolina Legislature website for more specifics.

Ride Safely
As a parent or caregiver, you play a vital role in keeping children safe while riding on golf carts. Follow South Carolina laws for golf cart use, no exceptions. Halloween night, for example, is one instance where locals seem to ignore the “daylight hours” mandate, as reported by The Gazette of Summerville. Another hazard highlighted by The Gazette’s Matt Bise is driving a golf cart while under the influence or traveling with an open container. Bise reports, “A driver can get charged with DUI or having an open container just like in a car.” Nationwide Children’s Hospital put together a list of golf cart safety tips.

A few to note:

  • Braking slowly and avoiding sharp turns
  • Limiting passengers “to adults and children six years of age and older”
  • Regularly maintaining your golf cart
  • Waiting until the cart has reached a complete stop before exiting
  • Using handgrips and keeping both feet on the floor (passengers)

Refer to their website for the full list.

We Are Here to Help
Contact our personal injury firm if you or a family member has been injured in a golf cart accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Teen Driving Safety Tips for Families

Teen Driving Safety Tips for Families

Are you the parent or caregiver of a new teen driver? Much anticipation and preparation likely went into getting your teen driver ready for this milestone. Many of us can remember what it was like to get our first set of car keys. We may also have memories of our first fender bender or close encounter due to severe weather or hazardous conditions. As exciting as this time can be for your child, it’s important to have a serious conversation with them about the dangers of the road. Today’s post will include teen driving stats and safety tips to discuss as a family.

 

Teen Driving Facts

The facts around teen drivers and auto accidents are alarming. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports “the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens aged 16-19 than among any other age group.” When you view the risks per mile driven, teens are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash compared to drivers 20 years and older. Those who are at the greatest risk in this age group are males, those with teen passengers, and those who are newly licensed.

 

Contributors to Crash Risk

In examining what may lead to the higher risks of accidents for teen drivers, the CDC places inexperience at the top of the list, followed by speeding, low seat belt use, alcohol, and driving in the nighttime or on the weekend.

 

Danger Zones to Discuss With Your Teen

The eight danger zones identified by the CDC are as follows:

  • Driver inexperience
  • Driving with teen passengers
  • Nighttime driving
  • Not using seat belts
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Impaired driving

 

Agree on Ground Rules for Safer Driving

After going over the aforementioned danger zones, have a collaborative conversation with your teen regarding safe driving ground rules. A few we may suggest include:

  • Always wearing seat belts
  • Following posted speed limits
  • Staying away from alcohol and drugs
  • Using turn signals
  • Putting phones and technology out of reach to reduce distracted driving
  • Limiting teen passengers
  • Limiting driving at night

Other tips highlighted on TeenDriving.com:

  • Proper hand placement on the wheel
  • A clean windshield for better visibility
  • Being aware of aggressive drivers
  • Keeping gas in your car
  • Being a safe driver at school (more on their website)

 

Additional Steps to Consider

Be sure to review the First Driver’s License section on the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) website for requirements and resources. The Insurance Information Institute recommends parents sign their teen drivers up for a driver’s education course. They also suggest looking into safe driver programs offered by your insurance company. Modeling safe driving habits around your teen is also emphasized. Spending some time on the AAA Keys2Drive website may also be worthwhile. They have a parent-teen agreement that is print-friendly and ready for signatures.

 

We’re Here to Help

Contact our personal injury firm you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Contact John Price Law Firm today.

Avoiding Fatigued Driving

Avoiding Fatigued Driving

Fatigued driving is a topic we regularly cover on the blog, and for good reason: the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reports more than 6,000 lives are lost each year due to drowsy driving. When you factor in holiday to-dos, strained sleep schedules from concerns around COVID-19, and conditions on the road this time of year, a reminder about the dangers of driving while drowsy is in order. Keep reading for tips on how to avoid fatigued driving from an accident lawyer in North Charleston.

Tired and Drowsy Driver and Passenger

What Is Fatigued Driving?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s (AASM) definition of fatigued driving: “When a person who is operating a motor vehicle is too tired to remain alert. As a result, the driver may have slow reaction times, reduced vigilance and impaired thinking. In the worst case, the driver may fall asleep behind the wheel.”

Groups at a Higher Risk of Fatigued Driving According To AASM Include:

  • Those with untreated sleep disorders
  • Shift workers
  • Those experiencing medication side-effects
  • Young men

Learn the Warning Signs of Fatigued Driving

 

AASM cautions drivers to be aware of the signs of fatigued driving:

  • Yawning
  • Not able to keep your eyes open
  • “Nodding off” and trouble keeping your head up
  • Not able to remember driving the last few miles
  • Driving too close to nearby cars
  • Missing road signs or turns
  • Drifting into other lanes or onto rumble strips on the shoulder

An additional sign of fatigued driving listed on the National Safety Council (NSC) website is having difficulty maintaining your speed.

How To Avoid Driving Drowsy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s suggestions to prevent fatigued driving:

  • Get adequate sleep (7+ hours for adults, 8+ hours for teens)
  • Practice good sleep habits (a sleep schedule may be helpful)
  • Pursue treatment if you have a sleeping disorder
  • Don’t drink or take medications that make you sleepy before driving

Other ideas from the AASM to keep in your toolkit:

  • Avoid driving late at night
  • Drive with a companion
  • Take turns driving with a partner
  • Pull over at a safe place to take a nap
  • Consume caffeine for a quick boost
  • Arrange for a ride home

We’re Here to Help
Are you looking for an accident lawyer in North Charleston? If you or someone you love was the victim of an accident due to fatigued driving, turn to John Price Law Firm, LLC. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Additional Resources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/problem-drowsy-driving
http://sleepeducation.org/sleep-topics/drowsy-driving
https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/fatigued-driving

Celebrating New Year’s Eve

Celebrating New Year’s Eve

Many of us look forward to wrapping up the holiday season with New Year’s Eve festivities. That often means gathering with family and friends as you reflect back upon the joys and challenges the year held. As we weather a global pandemic, your plans may look different than when you ushered in 2020. Perhaps you are keeping your circle small, taking things virtual with a Zoom party or staying home. For those who have plans to attend a New Year’s Eve event while social distancing, fingers crossed the weather cooperates and you are able to celebrate under the stars. Today’s post is for you; keep reading for tips on celebrating New Year’s Eve from the John Price Law Firm family. We are lawyers in North Charleston who are ready to serve you with more than 118 years of combined experience.

 

As you bid farewell to 2020 and greet 2021 with hopeful anticipation about the blessings ahead and memories that await, remember to celebrate in a responsible way. Our firm represents DUI victims, so we know first-hand the devastating consequences of driving under the influence.

 

Driving Under the Influence Statistics

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports, “during the Christmas and New Year’s periods in 2018, there were 285 drunk driving-related fatalities nationally.”
  • AAA reports New Year’s Day “ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities.”
  • The majority of alcohol-impaired driving crashes take place in the evenings and on the weekends.
  • Most alcohol-impaired driving crashes occur during the evening hours and on weekends, according to AAA.

 

Celebration Tips

  • Reach for non-alcoholic options: If you will be driving, commit in advance to avoid alcoholic drinks altogether. Enjoy non-alcoholic versions of your favorite adult beverages and know that making the responsible choice is the right thing to do.
  • Stay put: If you plan to consume alcohol, speak with the host beforehand about staying overnight.
  • Designate a driver: An alternative to staying overnight is designating a driver well before the festivities begin.
  • Arrange an Uber in advance: Don’t rely on an Uber driver being available without notice. Use the “schedule” feature to lock in your transportation.
  • Drive cautiously and defensively: When you make your way home after the party (after not having any alcohol), be especially mindful of other drivers on the road. Statistically, there will be other drivers on the road who have not made the responsible choice. Keep a safe distance and report reckless drivers by calling the authorities.

 

We’re Here to Help

Are you looking for a team of experienced lawyers in North Charleston? If you or someone you love was a DUI accident victim, turn to John Price Law Firm, LLC. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Additional Resources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/es/drunk-driving/drive-sober-or-get-pulled-over-holidays
https://www.wtoc.com/2019/12/31/aaa-new-years-day-among-deadliest-days-nations-roads
https://www.uber.com/us/en/ride/how-it-works/scheduled-rides

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over This Holiday Season

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over This Holiday Season

The havoc (and heartbreak) wreaked by driving under the influence is far-reaching and inexcusable. Those who choose to get behind the wheel when they are not safe to do so put the lives of others at risk (as well as their own). The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports, “nearly half of all fatal crashes in South Carolina involve an impaired driver.” In today’s post, we’ll be covering the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) campaign against holiday drunk driving. Their messages include: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and If You Feel Different, You Drive Different — Drive High Get a DUI. If you are searching for a DUI victims lawyer in Charleston, know that our founding attorney, John Price, is a former state prosecutor who has prosecuted numerous drunk drivers and habitual traffic offenders. Now, he puts his 25-plus years of trial experience to work for DUI accident victims.

 

What is Driving Under the Influence?
Law.com defines driving under the influence: “Commonly called ‘drunk driving,’ it refers to operating a motor vehicle while one’s blood alcohol content is above the legal limit set by statute, which supposedly is the level at which a person cannot drive safely.” The South Carolina Department of Public Safety website states: “South Carolina law prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired.”

 

Drunk-Driving Statistics

According to NHTSA, in the U.S., the lives of nearly 30 people are lost each day due to drunk-driving crashes. Their website states: “The tragedy of these deaths is felt year-round, but for many, most strongly during the holidays.”

  • For the periods covering Christmas and New Year’s in 2018, there were 285 fatalities related to drunk-driving
  • In 2018, 10,511 deaths were caused by drunk-driving crashes
  • Deaths caused by drunk-driving are preventable 100 percent of the time

Planning Ahead

The NHTSA urges making smart choices and planning safe transportation in advance for those planning to attend a holiday gathering or event. Other seasonal safety tips on their website include:

  • Designating a sober driver
  • Using public transportation or a ride-hailing service
  • Staying 100 percent sober as the designated driver
  • Contacting law enforcement right away in the event you spot an impaired driver on the road
  • Preventing friends from driving impaired (taking their keys and helping them secure a safe ride home)

We’re Here to Help

If you or someone you love was one of this year’s DUI accident victims, turn to John Price Law Firm, LLC. We provide compassionate yet appropriately aggressive representation to injured individuals throughout South Carolina. We also pursue maximum compensation for families in wrongful death cases. You can count on our Charleston lawyers to be diligent advocates for you.

Are you looking for a DUI victims lawyer in Charleston? Contact our personal injury firm if you or a loved one has been the victim of a DUI accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Additional Resources:

https://scdps.sc.gov/scsoberorslammer/
https://www.nhtsa.gov/es/drunk-driving/drive-sober-or-get-pulled-over-1
https://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=588
https://scdps.sc.gov/scsoberorslammer/scduilaws

#JustDrive: Distracted Driving Carries Serious (Sometimes Deadly) Risks

#JustDrive: Distracted Driving Carries Serious (Sometimes Deadly) Risks

As a personal injury firm, the John Price team has seen the dangers of distracted driving first-hand. It is a topic we discuss regularly in the media and on our blog, and unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be going away soon. As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic as a global community, the National Safety Council (NSC) made the sound decision to move Distracted Driving Awareness Month to October 2020. We hold distracted drivers accountable  and are here to arm you with the information you need to remain focused behind the wheel. Join us in this commitment and keep reading to learn more.

Defining Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.”

Activities they list include:

  • Talking on your phone
  • Texting
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Conversing with passengers
  • Adjusting the stereo, entertainment or navigation system

The CDC breaks distractions into three main categories:

  • Visual (anything that draws your eyes away from the road)
  • Manual: (anything that removes your hands from the wheel)
  • Cognitive (anything that distracts your mind from focusing on driving)

In summary, it’s “anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”

Dangers of Distracted Driving
NSC reports the number of people injured by distracted driving crashes during a typical day is over 700. In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 2,841 people lost their lives to distracted driving. Digging deeper into those numbers, we see 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists died.

Hands-Free Isn’t Safe
The availability of the hands-free feature in your vehicle doesn’t make it safe (the same goes for speaker phone). The NSC cautions “hands-free isn’t risk-free,” going on to report that drivers who are on the phone can’t see up to 50 percent of what is in view of their windshield. They describe hands-free and handheld cell phone use as “deadly.”

Action Steps

Reducing distracting driving starts with you. Here are a few reminders that could save a life:

  • Take the “Just Drive” hands-free pledge and share the pledge with your friends and family
  • Reduce the temptation to check your phone by turning it on airplane mode or silent, away from reach when driving
  • Remember to set your GPS or navigation device before you put your vehicle into drive
  • Keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road
  • Be an example for loved ones and passengers in your vehicle
  • Safely pull over if a passenger needs your attention
  • Advocate for distraction-free driving by speaking with your local representatives

 

We’re Here to Help

Contact our personal injury firm if you or a loved one has been injured due to a distracted driver in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Drive Safely Work Week: Resources for Employers

Drive Safely Work Week: Resources for Employers

Drive Safely Work Week is typically the first week of October, but the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) has taken a new approach to allow for more frequent campaigns to raise awareness around driving safety. If you are a business owner, be sure to visit the NETS website for free resources including a launch letter, fact sheet, presentation, pledge cards and more. If Drive Safely Work Week isn’t being promoted at your workplace yet, employees are encouraged to pass the information along to their leadership team or appropriate committee(s) for consideration. Keep reading to be informed about this worthwhile cause.

 

What is Drive Safely Work Week?
Drive Safely Work Week is designed to promote “safe-driving education and awareness materials for all employees and their families.” At the time of this post, there are five main modules available on the NETS website as a part of this initiative:

  • Don’t Text and Drive. Period.
  • Drive Focused. Drive Smart. Get Home Safely.
  • Equally Risky
  • Hang Up the Phone
  • Safe Driving is Serious Business

Don’t Text and Drive. Period.
SafeWise describes texting and driving as “one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.” Sending a single text can distract a driver for up to five seconds. They go on to say “texting and driving is risky at best and lethal at worst.”

 

Drive Focused. Drive Smart. Get Home Safely.

Being a focused driver means eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and cellphones (including hands-free) away and out of sight. Be more alert by limiting distractions (visual, manual and cognitive).

Equally Risky
At the center of “Equally Risky” is hands-free technology. NETS states: “Studies show that hands-free devices are just as distracting as hand-held devices.”

Hang Up the Phone

A direct reminder that “your decisions drive your safety.” The National Consumer Advocacy Commission emphasizes the dangers of cell phone use while driving: “A growing body of evidence suggests that drivers that simply involve themselves in a conversation suffer debilitating distractions.”

 

Safe Driving is Serious Business

NETS cautions employers that “distracted driving, although not a new threat, is an ever-increasing threat to your employees.” Promoting safe driving in workplace communications and activities is one place to start. NETS recommends “combining education with legislation and enforcement.”

 

We’re Here to Help

Contact our personal injury firm if you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Rear-Ended Collisions in South Carolina

Rear-Ended Collisions in South Carolina

If you’ve ever been rear-ended while driving, you know first-hand how emotionally jarring and physically painful it can be. Everyone’s experience is different; seconds may feel like an eternity or faster than milliseconds. When replaying the scene in your head, you may recall a host of sounds, such as tires screeching or metal being crushed. Depending on the severity of impact, you may have suffered a concussion, whiplash or worse. Today’s post on rear-ended collisions covers the statistics, prevention, reducing your risk and more.

Rear-Ended Collision Facts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports an estimated 1.7 million rear-end collisions in the United States each year. Of those collisions, there are an estimated 1,700 deaths and 500,000 injuries. The NHTSA found that rear-ended crashes are the most common collision type (nearly 29 percent). South Carolina drivers aren’t known for being safe; Andrew Shain for The State reports: “South Carolina might be in the heart of NASCAR country, but the Palmetto State has the nation’s second-worst drivers.”

Preventing a Collision
What can be done to prevent these types of collisions? Ashley Halsey III, transportation reporter for the Washington Post writes, “The NTSB estimated that 80 percent of the deaths and injuries resulting from rear-end collisions could be prevented by collision avoidance systems, which are available in some cars but not required on all of them.”

Reducing Your Risk

Although much is outside of your control regarding these types of accidents, Driver’s Alert has a few helpful pointers to reduce the likelihood of being rear-ended:

  • When you are being tailgated by another driver, safely switch lanes
  • If switching lanes isn’t possible, consider a short detour to let that driver move ahead
  • Don’t slam on your brakes unless you absolutely must
  • “Brake early and slowly” so that drivers behind you have ample time to slow down and stop

What to Do If You’ve Been Rear-Ended

Report the accident by calling the authorities and seek medical attention right away if you suspect you’ve been injured. It’s especially important to know the cognitive, physical, emotional and sleep symptoms of concussion and traumatic brain injury.  The signs range from “hard-to-see to quite obvious” according to the Brain Injury Association of America. A copy of the police report, photos of both vehicles and insurance information on both parties are also essential. Rear-end car crashes often involve multiple parties, multiple insurance companies, and perhaps even uninsured drivers, all reasons to consult a car accident attorney.
We’re Here to Help

Contact our personal injury firm if you or a family member has been rear-ended in South Carolina and suffered from an injury. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Stop on Red Week: Dangers of Running a Red Light

Stop on Red Week: Dangers of Running a Red Light

Have you ever had a close call with another driver making the dangerous mistake of running a red light? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) describes red light running as the “leading cause of urban crashes in the United States,” often resulting in serious injury or death. As Stop on Red Week from the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) approaches this August 2-8, we’re highlighting the dangers posed by drivers who run red lights and sharing tips to reduce your risk of being a victim of this dangerous driving behavior.

How Common Is This Issue?
Medical Xpress reports that “even though 85% of drivers say that red light running is very dangerous, nearly one-third admit to going through a red light within the past 30 days when they could have stopped safely, according to the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index.” NCSR reports that “more than 3.8 million drivers received a red light running violation in 2016.”

 

Risks of Running a Red Light

IIHS reports 846 people were killed in 2018 from crashes related to running a red light. Nearly half of those who lost their lives were “pedestrians, bicyclists, and people in other vehicles who were hit by the red-light runners.” Additionally, red light crashes resulted in approximately 139,000 people being injured. Although Nolo.com reports running a red light or stop sign is a misdemeanor in South Carolina and means four demerit points on a motorist’s driving record, there is much more at stake. The report “depending on the situation, a red light or stop sign violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, ‘reckless vehicular homicide’ charges are possible.”

 

Defensive Driving Tips for Intersections
Driving defensively is defined by AIG as “driving so as to prevent accidents in spite of the incorrect actions of others or adverse driving conditions, such as weather, traffic, lighting, vehicle or road condition, or the driver’s physical or mental state.” When it comes to intersections, they recommend driving as though others on the road may not obey traffic control devices, allowing yourself time and space to avoid the hazards this may create. Exercise even more caution after dark and look out for large vehicles approaching. Additionally, check to see that your lights and reflective devices are in working order.

 

We’re Here to Help

Contact our personal injury firm if you or a loved one has been the victim of an auto accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

 

Additional Resources:

https://www.iihs.org/topics/red-light-running
https://ncsrsafety.org/key-issues/red-light-safety/
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-08-red-deadly-common.html
https://www.drivinglaws.org/resources/traffic-tickets/moving-violations/running-red-lights-and-stop-37

Summer Boating Safety Tips During COVID-19

Summer Boating Safety Tips During COVID-19

Are you planning an afternoon on the lake or the Intracoastal Waterway? During these unsettling times, an outdoor adventure complete with nautical breezes and sunshine provides a welcome respite from the worries of the day. Boating safety is always a priority when enjoying an outing on the water, but even more so during COVID-19. Today’s post covers safety basics and additional considerations in light of the pandemic.

 

Boating Safety Courses and Vessel Safety Checks
The U.S. Coast Guard reports that human error is the number one cause of boating accidents. Their website includes a directory of boating safety courses for all ages and experience levels. There are online courses available, including the South Carolina Boating Safety course through the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Boaters are also encouraged to take advantage of a vessel safety check, which is offered at no cost thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons.

 

Life Jackets and Equipment
Troubling statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard: “76% of boating deaths in 2017 were due to drowning, and 84% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.” When ensuring a proper fit of life jackets, the goal is “comfortably snug” (check the label for age and weight ranges). Refer to this helpful infographic from the BoatUS Foundation. As for required equipment, the South Carolina Hunting & Fishing website provides an up-to-date list.


Review the Marine Forecast
Before finalizing plans, check the latest weather forecast. The marine forecast for your area from the National Weather Service details current conditions and hazards and also posts specifics for rivers and lakes. Here’s a look at Charleston’s Marine Weather, as an example. Know that changing plans to avoid possible hazards is always a good idea.

Safety and Surroundings
We covered being aware of your surroundings while boating in a previous post; look up for bridge clearances and power lines, and down for floats, swimmers, debris and divers flags.  Before making a turn, ensure you are clear on all sides and watch out for passing traffic. Be aware of your speed. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) states: “In South Carolina, vessels may not be operated in excess of idle speed within 50 feet of an anchored vessel, wharf, pier, dock, or a person in the water. Vessels may not operate in excess of idle speed within 100 yards of the Atlantic coastline.” Your speed should allow you to take the appropriate steps to avoid an accident. We recommend you keep at least 200 feet between your vessel and another boat and avoid jumping other boats’ wakes.

Don’t Drink and Operate a Boat

Safe Kids Worldwide cautions boaters: “A large portion of boating accidents that occur each year involve alcohol consumption by both boat operators and passengers.” Given the effects of alcohol on the mind and body, we urge boating operators to steer clear of alcoholic beverages.

Maintenance and Recalls

The National Law Review appropriately describes boats as “high maintenance vessels.” Proper maintenance and inspections provide peace of mind and may help reduce unexpected issues on the water. You may think about recalls for your vehicles or household products, but they are also a possibility in the boating space. Search the recall list on the U.S. Coast Guard website.

 

COVID-19 Considerations
The National Law Review advises that by design, boating isn’t conducive to social distancing. For this reason, they recommend limiting boating excursions to persons who live in the same household. Richard P. Console, Jr. writes, “Failing to do so could risk you or somebody you love contracting the virus, which is not something you want to experience.”

 

We Are Here to Help
Contact our personal injury firm if you or a family member has been injured in a boating accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Additional Resources:

https://www.safekids.org/tip/boating-safety-tips
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/how-to-stay-safe-boat-summer
https://www.uscgboating.org/content/recalls.php

Meeting for Drinks? Getting Home Safely During COVID-19

Meeting for Drinks? Getting Home Safely During COVID-19

As some restrictions lift and businesses reopen, you may consider meeting a friend or family member for a drink to catch up (while socially distancing). Before making plans, be sure to review the latest information from the CDC on going out, keeping in mind “the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.” If you have made the decision to venture out and enjoy one another’s company, today’s post includes tips on getting home safely in the midst of COVID-19.

Impaired Driving is Dangerous
The National Safety Council found that “impairment begins with the first drink.” More specifically, they report that “significant impairment occurs in the following ways among drivers under .05 alcohol concentration: visual acuity, vigilance, drowsiness, psychomotor skills and information processing.” Knowing that the risk of crashing goes up with just one drink means driving yourself home is never worth the risk.

Secure a Safe Ride Home in Advance
It’s always important to have safe transportation in place. In the past, you may have relied on a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft to provide you with a way home. Uber and Lyft recently announced significant layoffs (as reported by the Washington Post). What does this mean for consumers who rely on rideshare services? With the demands for rides down, customers may have a more difficult time finding a driver when requesting a ride. Instead of waiting to request an Uber, use the app’s “scheduled rides” feature before heading out to nail down specifics. Their website states this option is available up to 30 days in advance. Lyft has a similar feature that extends up to seven days in advance. Other possibilities include a designated driver or making arrangements for a friend or family member who hasn’t been drinking to drive you home.

 

Reach for a Non-Alcoholic Drink

If you aren’t able to locate safe transportation, it’s possible to keep your plans. Instead of the cocktail or specialty brew you typically order, go the non-alcoholic route. You’ll still be able to share a laugh and great conversation, and the peace of mind you’ll have knowing you won’t have to worry about who will drive you home is worth it. There will be other opportunities for a beer flight or wine tasting.

 

We Are Here to Help
Contact our personal injury firm if you or a family member has been the victim of a drunk driving accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 632-5672.

Five Safe Driving Tips for Summer

Five Safe Driving Tips for Summer

Although your summer plans have likely changed due to COVID-19, some families are taking shorter road trips to enjoy the great outdoors while socially distancing. The National Park Service (NPS) website states: “In many areas, people can visit parks, trails, and open spaces as a way to relieve stress, get some fresh air and vitamin D, stay active, and safely connect with members of their household.” NPS recommends checking the park’s website prior to planning a visit to stay up-to-date on its operating status. Before you pack your picnic basket, sunscreen and bag, refer to today’s post for five safe driving tips for summer.

Follow the Speed Limit
Though traffic overall has decreased, speeding is on the rise across the country according to the National Safety Council (NSC). They also report that while roadway deaths are down, “the U.S. has actually seen an increase in the fatality rate per miles driven.” Distracted driving continues to be an issue, adding to the problem.

Avoid Distracted Driving
One distraction to be especially careful of while driving is cell phone use, including hands-free calls. NSC reports that “even when talking hands-free, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what’s around them because they are engaged in a cell phone conversation.” Also known as inattention blindness, drivers are looking but not processing everything visible through the windshield. 

Don’t Drive While Fatigued or Impaired
Be well-rested and alert before getting behind the wheel. NSC found that “driving while drowsy is similar to driving under influence of alcohol.” Your risk of being involved in a car crash increased by three times when you drive drowsy. Driving while impaired must be avoided, and there are plenty of safe alternatives such as using a ride-share or having a designated driver.  NSC reports that “drivers with alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 have remained involved in about one-third of all traffic fatalities in the U.S.”

 

Keep Children Safe
Review NSC’s Child Passenger Safety resources and have your child’s car seat checked for safety. Children through the age of 12 should be riding in the back seat. Rear-facing restraint devices are recommended for children through the age of 2. If you are a parent of a teen, the time spent going through the DriveitHOME presentation together is well worth it.

 

Be Aware of Vehicle Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates around 53 million vehicles are being driven with unresolved safety recalls. The consequences for drivers and passengers can be quite serious. A simple visit to www.checktoprotect.org is fast and free.

 

We Are Here to Help
Contact our personal injury firm if you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 604-3814. 

Additional Resources:

https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/public-health-update.htm
https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/tools-resources/newsletters/focus-on-the-drive?utm_campaign=Driving+Safety+DDC&utm_source=adwords&utm_term=drive%20safe&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_cam=243719679&hsa_ad=375417742706&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_acc=3965156914&hsa_grp=76806304997&hsa_tgt=kwd-108922005&hsa_ver=3&hsa_src=g&hsa_kw=drive%20safe&hsa_mt=b&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkbPmhPeD6gIVJIVaBR3lmwKvEAAYAyAAEgIVPfD_BwE
https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/child-passenger-safety
https://www.nsc.org/driveithome/resources/driveithome-presentation
https://www.checktoprotect.org/

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