Category: Car Accidents

Winter Driving

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Winter weather in the Midwest can be beautiful but also somewhat unpredictable. Safe winter driving is possible with some planning and preparation. Knowing what you are facing in advance will allow you to be prepared and help ensure a safe trip.

Drivers should always practice basic safe driving skills, but especially so during hazardous winter weather. Things like wearing a seat belt, staying within the speed limit, and avoiding distractions while driving become even more important when driving conditions are less than ideal. One thing many drivers don’t consider is that you should avoid using cruise control when driving on icy or snowy roads – it’s too easy to be unaware of your speed and suddenly find yourself out of control of your vehicle. Maintaining a safe speed, even if that means staying under the speed limit, will give you more time to react and respond to icy roads or sudden whiteouts that can appear out of nowhere.

 

When the roads are snow or ice covered, slowing down is the number one safety tip that drivers should employ. Give yourself more time to brake, more time  to maneuver, and allow more space between vehicles. This is especially true if there are snowplows on the road. Don’t follow too closely, recognize that they may occupy more than one lane at a time, and be aware that they may not be able to see you as well as you can see them. Staying behind a plow is often your best option. You may have to drive more slowly, but you’ll be on a road that’s clear of ice and snow. Getting there safely is the goal.

Certain areas of the road can be more hazardous than others during winter driving – bridges, overpasses, and ramps all have the potential for being ice covered, even when the rest of the roadway is dry. Be on the lookout for black ice on roads that appear to be clear. Illinois drivers are encouraged to check this site for continually updated information on winter road conditions and other traffic-related information. Being aware of areas that may be hazardous gives you the opportunity to re-route your trip if necessary or will at the very least give you the information you need to pass through areas of concern more safely.

Your very best safety decision is to limit travel during bad weather whenever possible. If a driving trip is necessary however, be aware of the weather and share your travel plans with family members or a trusted friend. If your cellphone is equipped with a tracking app, consider setting it up and sharing your location with people who know your travel plans.

If=f you decide you cannot avoid a trip during potentially bad weather,  make sure your vehicle is prepared by doing all necessary service, checking wipers, brakes, fluids, tires, etc. For a list of winter maintenance your car needs, check this site. You should also be prepared with a few essentials like a brush and ice scraper, jumper cables, flares or reflectors, warm clothing and blankets and some non-perishable food. Read this for additional information on an emergency kit for your car.

Preparation, planning, and practicing the usual safe driving skills are all keys to arriving in hazardous driving conditions. Be safe out there!

image of man driving car

What is Uninsured & Underinsured Coverage?

I recently had the pleasure of joining my friends Derek and Grant of Shelbyville Insurance Services for an episode of the D&G Show, where they interview local professionals to share practical tips and advice with their audience. We covered several topics related to insurance claims, car accidents, personal injury law, and insurance coverage.

Here is a clip from the interview explaining Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance Coverage:

When I’m asked “What is Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage”, my favorite answer is: “It is the most important coverage you can have to protect yourself and your family from other drivers.”

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage, often abbreviated as “UM/UIM” in insurance policies, is coverage you can carry on your own automobile insurance coverage to provide benefits for you if you are injured in an accident with a vehicle that is either uninsured or that has inadequate insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your damages.

It is very important to carry as much UM/UIM as you can reasonably afford, as many of the at fault drivers we see in Decatur car accidents and Bloomington car accidents have either no insurance or the state minimum insurance of $25,000. Unfortunately, with rising medical costs, if a person is seriously or even moderately injured, the minimum coverage will be inadequate. All too often we see the most reckless behavior and most serious injuries caused by people who are driving illegally, often distracted, drunk or on drugs, while having no insurance.

The single most important insurance coverage to protect you and your family from economic devastation caused by another driver is to purchase adequate UM/UIM coverage, and often that coverage is surprisingly affordable.

If you have questions about your insurance coverage, or if you’re reading this blog, I highly encourage you to take a few minutes to review your own insurance policy and make sure you are comfortable with the amount of coverage you have on your policy. Consider what would happen if another driver’s negligence prevented you from being able to work for 6 months. Does it still seem like you have enough coverage? I’d recommend getting a quote from an agent and increase your coverage. This is even more important if you are self-employed.

And as always, remember that your choice of a car insurance company matters. Consider asking around to make sure that if you actually have a claim that you are insured by a company that pays claims honorably. There is a big difference in how claims are handled by different insurance companies.

If you’d like to discuss any of these issues, call anytime.

Emergency kit for your car

What should you pack in an emergency kit for your car?

I keep an emergency kit in my car for my own safety and for the safety of my family and my passengers. It’s a good idea to put a small backpack together to keep in your trunk with basic items you might need if you were to break down for an extended period of time, particularly in poor conditions or in circumstances where help may not be readily available.

Below is a list of items to consider including in your emergency kit:

  • Jumper cables and/or battery jump pack.
  • Flares, reflectors, and a reflective vest.
  • Blanket (or space blanket), warm clothes, poncho
  • Flashlight with extra batteries, or crank flashlight
  • Basic tool kit, multi-tool, and duct tape
  • First aid kit, prescriptions, sanitary items, paper towels
  • Food & Water. Granola bars / energy bars
  • Ice scraper and a small shovel
  • Additional misc. supplies if traveling with babies, children, or pets

Take a look at other resources for suggestions on building a good emergency kit, including lists put out by the AARP, the NCS, and the Farmer’s Almanac.

Josh Rohrscheib | Bloomington IL attorney | Car Accidents

In an accident? Follow these helpful tips.

So you are involved in an auto accident. What should you do at the scene? First, take a deep breath and get control of your emotions. Whether immediately or in the days after, be careful not to act or speak out of anger, confusion, panic or fear. Many insurance companies provide a simple form or guide to assist you in recording details in the immediate aftermath of the accident. It’s a good idea to keep one of these with your insurance information in the glove compartment. Follow these recommendations to:

  1. Notify police and get proper medical attention for everyone involved immediately. Make the scene as safe as possible while waiting for their arrival.
  2. Be polite, but never make unnecessary comments or statements — certainly do not admit liability. Don’t discuss your accident with anyone except the police or a known representative of your insurance company.
  3. Don’t assume or state you’re uninjured if you’re not sure. That little bump on the head, minor headache, brief loss of consciousness or period of being dazed and confused, little bruise or swelling, or “crick” in the neck maybe more significant than you think and may be much more severe the next day. Don’t hesitate to get it properly evaluated.
  4. Write down the names and driver’s license numbers and contact information of any persons involved as vehicle operators or owners. Get their insurance information if possible. Get names, contact information, and a brief description of the nature of injuries for any injured party.
  5. Briefly describe the vehicles involved and write down their license numbers
  6. Be sure to write down the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  7. Write down the name and badge numbers of any police officers investigating the accident and find out how you can obtain a copy of the police report.
  8. Take advantage of today’s technologies, like your cell phone, to photograph damages, injuries, or accident scene details.
  9. Don’t rely on memory. As soon as practical, jot down notes about what happened. Even make a simple sketch to illustrate the movements and directions of the vehicles involved.
  10. Finally, you should contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. And, especially if you feel another driver was at fault, you should probably get independent experienced legal advice.

Need representation for your auto accident case? Please contact me for a free case evaluation today.