California personal injury attorneys

Avoiding Auto Accidents and Serious Injury

Obviously, the best way to avoid serious injury to yourself and others is to avoid the accident in the first place. "Defensive driving" is a common technique many use to avoid accidents. It starts with a mind set that assumes others will not be paying attention. For example, when a traffic light turns green, a defensive driver will still look both ways before stepping on the gas to ensure there is no red light running maniac entering the intersection!

Preventing, Preparing for, and Dealing with Auto Accidents

  • Always wear a seatbelt. California law requires all passengers wear a seat belt. Seatbelts are designed to minimize injury in an accident and you must always buckle up before you start the car regardless of the proximity of your destination. All passengers should also always wear their seatbelts, in fact it is a good idea to make it a household rule. The fact is seatbelt use generally minimizes the level of injury that would otherwise result from a traffic accident.

  • Place kids in the proper car seats. California state law mandates that children ride in a federally approved baby car seat or child booster seat until they are at least 6 years old or weigh at least 60 pounds. Make sure the seats are appropriate for their age and size; most people do not know that they are using a car seat incorrectly, so asking questions of your local CHP (or visit their office for a demonstration) or taking a safety class could help ensure the safety seat is installed properly.

  • Pay attention to road signs. Following the rules of the road and paying attention to the signs can significantly decrease the chance of getting in car accident. Pay close attention when there are construction zone for those can be a little confusing, and make sure you maintain a suitable speed in these zones.

  • Avoid distracted driving. Do use you cell phone while driving. If you must use a cel phone while driving, do not take phone calls without a headset or blue tooth unit. No tex ting, emailing, or browsing the internet. Many of us now have the equivalent of a minicomputer in our cell phone (i.e., a smartphone or PDA), but these devices are a serious distraction while driving. For some, it may be best to completely avoid the temptation by putting the phone or PDA in silent mode and away from where you can see it. Do not put on your make up while driving. Don't change your clothes while driving. Do not eat your lunch or dinner while at the wheel. Basically do not do anything that requires most of your attention while driving.

  • Make sure you keep your vehicle maintained. Check tires and brakes periodically, get the oil changed, and have all recommended maintenance performed regularly. It is important you keep the vehicle in good working order since this will reduce the chance of getting a flat tire or brakes failing while driving.

  • Store all heavy objects in the trunk. Loose items can become projectiles in an accident which may cause serious injury. To minimize keep all large or heavy items securely stowed in the trunk or cargo areas--not in the passenger area of a car or truck.

  • Do not drink and drive! Drunk driving (and "wet and reckless" driving) is against the law. Not only are you putting yourself in serious danger, but you are putting other in danger. It is the law, don't do it!

  • Make sure your have valid liability insurance. Be sure your policy includes adequate Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage with limits equal to your liability limits. Medical Payments with good limits.


    If you are involved in an accident, how you respond can often mean the difference between getting out of the situation alive--or not. For example, if you are involved in an car wreck on a freeway do not stop in the roadway and get of the car to exchange insurance information--many drivers, in a hurry to get around the traffic jam will swerve or speed around your vehicle and could hit you. Instead, check your rear-view mirror to ensure it is safe an pull over to the side of the road or the near accident pull-out.

    Although many of these tips are common sense we see people violating these common sense rules every day. Do yourself and your family a favor an be proactive-- Make a formal agreement with them that all family members will follow these rules with exception! It just may save a life.


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