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Minneapolis Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Ways to prevent boating accidents

Boating can be a very enjoyable pastime. However, boating accidents do occur. Minnesota residents who enjoy boating may benefit from learning about the common reasons for boating accidents and what steps they can take to avoid accidents while out on the water.

Running out of gas while boating is not an unusual occurrence and can be a result of a miscalculation of the return bearing or trying to outrun inclement weather. However, running out of gas while in the middle of a large body of water can result in a very dangerous situation. This could be avoided by first planning beforehand and carefully calculating how many gallons of gas are needed to go into the water and return and then by adding an additional 10 to 20 percent of gas to be safe.

Drivers may be too reliant on safety features, says AAA

Minnesota drivers who use safety features like automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring should not over-rely on these features. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has come out with a report that sheds light on this trend, which raises questions about how drivers will be able to adapt to semi-autonomous vehicles in the future. At the root is ignorance of safety tech limitations.

Blind-spot monitoring, for example, is not so effective at detecting fast-approaching cars, bicyclists and pedestrians. Yet 80 percent of drivers in the AAA report overestimate this ability, and 20 percent are so trusting that they never look for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes.

Avoiding hydroplaning in the rainy season

Hydroplaning is common during the rainy season in Minnesota, so drivers will want to consider the following tips to reduce their risks. When wheels encounter more water on the road than they can handle, the pressure in the front of the tires pushes the water underneath and lifts the vehicle up on a thin layer of the water. The thicker that layer becomes, the more the tires lose traction.

The vehicle can then slide or skid uncontrollably, potentially causing a serious crash. This is why drivers should slow down and avoid large puddles when in the rain. They should be especially cautious during the first 10 minutes of rainfall, as this is the time when the water and the oily residues on the road mix together to create a slippery surface. Afterward, the rain will wash away most of the residue.

Distracted driving remains a problem

Most Minnesotans are probably aware of the risks of distracted driving. However, a new study shows that distractions are still a major problem for motorists. Auto manufacturer Volvo teamed up with the Harris Poll to gather more information about exactly what is keeping motorists from being more focused on the task of driving safely.

The study, which was conducted by polling two separate groups of 2,000 Americans each, reveals that a majority of respondents identify distracted driving as a substantial hazard affecting highway safety. Ninety percent of those questioned believed there are more distractions behind the wheel now than five years ago. Nearly twice as many people said distracted driving is more troubling to them than people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The next highest perceived threats were speeding and aggressive driving. More than half of those surveyed indicated feeling anxious when too busy. This anxiety accompanies them behind the wheel and can affect roadway safety for all.

Keep this information in mind to get your best settlement offer

Combined injuries are some of the hardest to deal with as a patient. Not only do you have physical struggles, but you're dealing with the hardship of mental troubles as well. Whether you're struggling with broken bones, traumatic brain injuries or depression as a result of the crash you were in, it's extremely difficult to get back to a normal life.

As someone who typically works to support yourself, you know that you have to get fair compensation for your injuries. Without it, you'll struggle to make ends meet and have to return to work before you have the full chance of recovery that you need.

Roundabouts force drivers to slow down

Roundabouts can make rural roads and many intersections safer. This is because they prevent serious crashes that could result in injuries or death to drivers and pedestrians. When a Minnesota driver enters a roundabout, the only thing that he or she needs to be concerned about is whether there is another driver already inside of it. With an intersection, a driver may be tempted to time his or her entry, and that timing may not always be correct.

While there are fewer collisions at intersections with traffic lights, those that do occur tend to be more severe. Roundabouts generally do not reduce the number of accidents that occur. However, the accidents that do happen are less significant because vehicles are operating at lower speeds. Vehicles generally have to slow down when approaching a roundabout as well as go slower while inside of it.

Drowsy driving: how to recognize it and what to do about it

According to the Sleep in America poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adults admit to driving drowsy, and 37 percent admit to falling asleep behind the wheel. The same foundation put out a Sleep Health Index revealing that around 7 million Americans admitted to falling asleep at the wheel within a two-week period. Minnesota residents who have experienced drowsiness on the road will want to know what its effects are.

Most importantly, sleepiness leads to poor judgment and slower reaction times. Drowsy driving becomes more prominent in the summer when people are more likely to take long road trips. The National Sleep Foundation warns drivers that the effects of drowsiness are comparable to those of alcohol intoxication. Drivers who have been awake for 24 straight hours will act like someone with a .10 BAC, which is well above the legal limit of .08.

SUV design and smartphones blamed for rising pedestrian deaths

Walking across a street in Minnesota has become more dangerous. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that fatal pedestrian accidents involving SUVs have spiked by 81 percent over the past 10 years. IIHS researchers noted that the increasing number of SUVs on the road and their designs could at least partially explain the surge in pedestrian deaths.

The IIHS president said that the high front ends and vertical design of SUVs hit people on foot more completely than passenger cars. People cannot roll off vehicles and potentially limit their injuries. At the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the widespread use of smartphones by both drivers and pedestrians has come under scrutiny. The agency estimates that about 10 percent of all traffic deaths now arise from distracted driving. Other safety advocates have placed blame on recreational marijuana and malfunctioning traffic signals.

Automated vehicle technology may soon be applied to motorcycles

Car owners aren't the only drivers in Minnesota who may benefit from automated technology. Some companies are exploring the possibilities of using driver-assistance innovations to make the road safer for riders on two wheels. Motorcycle fatalities routinely exceed fatal car crashes several times over per mile traveled according to U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures. Part of the reason for this is because of direct exposure the elements and having very few defensive options.

One auto parts supplier is hoping to cut down on motorcycle accidents with driver-assistance systems for motorcycles. One of the features being developed is adaptive cruise control that speeds up and slows down to avoid possible accidents. Another company is working on an alert system that would give motorcycle drivers a 360-degree view of what's around them. The system consists of front- and rear-view cameras and lights on the rear-view mirrors that alert the driver of potential collision risks.

Common accidents during Fourth of July weekend

Minnesota residents will want to be careful on the roads when the Fourth of July weekend comes up. There are approximately 200 highway deaths each year from June 30 to July 4; in fact, 40 percent of all highway deaths between 2007 and 2011 take place during this five-day period, according to Esurance and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The common factor in these deaths is alcohol intoxication.

That's not the only hazard, though. AAA estimates that 37.5 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more from their home this Fourth of July weekend, which means more drivers on the road who are perhaps traveling on unfamiliar routes. Other safety risks present themselves at home.

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