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3 simple ways to protect yourself from a rush-hour car accident

If driving in rush-hour traffic is part of your daily routine, it's critical to take steps to protect yourself against an accident.

Here are three simple changes you can make to your approach:

  • Find a new route: It may be impossible to avoid rush-hour traffic altogether, but a different route may be safer. For example, if a particular roadway is known for regular accidents, avoid it by finding a safer route.
  • Leave more time: Many rush-hour accidents are a result of being in a hurry. For example, if you're running late for work, you may decide to push the limit by violating the speed limit. Doing so is a mistake, as it increases the risk of a crash. When you leave more time to reach your destination, it's easier to keep your cool and remain patient.
  • Stay in your lane: When stuck in traffic, you'll begin to think about the best ways to make up time. This often includes lane jumping. Rather than "chase the fast lane," stay where you are until it's time to turn or exit. The more lane changes you make, the greater chance there is of an accident.

Yes, you can fight a traffic ticket and win

If you receive a traffic citation, you can elect to pay the fine or fight back. It doesn't always make sense to fight a traffic ticket, but there are times when doing so will work in your favor.

The first thing you need to do is learn more about why you received the citation. You can find everything you're looking for on the ticket itself. From there, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Hope the officer doesn't show up: This isn't the best traffic ticket defense strategy, but if the officer doesn't show up in court it typically results in the dismissal of your ticket.
  • Attend traffic school: If it's an option, attend traffic school as a means of having your ticket dismissed. Not only is it more convenient than going to court, but in today's day and age you can typically attend traffic school online.
  • Formulate a strategy: Since you can't rely on the officer not showing up, you should have a defense strategy in place. For example, you may be able to dispute the officer's opinion that you violated the law or assert that your speed was justified under the circumstances. The more evidence you collect, the easier it is to argue your side of the story.

Why see a doctor after a car crash if you only feel sore?

You may feel sore following a tennis match or after pulling weeds or because you were repeatedly moving a heavy ladder while cleaning your gutters.

You could also feel sore if you were the victim of a car crash, even a minor one. You may think a bit of soreness is no big deal, but you should see a doctor promptly.

How to safely drive your motorcycle on the highway

As a motorcyclist, you're sure to find yourself on many different types of roads. When you take to the highway, it's critical to adjust your approach to enhance your safety.

Here are just a few of the many tips you can follow to safely drive your motorcycle on the highway:

  • Don't lane split: It sounds like an efficient way to make up time, but driving between lanes of traffic is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Choose your lane and stay there.
  • Take caution when merging: When merging, it's your responsibility to monitor traffic, get up to speed and safely move into the lane. Remember, not all drivers will move out of the way so that you can carefully merge, so plan for this.
  • Stay out of blind spots: Driving in someone's blind spot increases the risk of a crash, as they're unable to see you. For example, if you ride directly behind a commercial truck, the trucker won't be able to see you.
  • Don't change lanes to make up time: Your motorcycle is much more nimble than other vehicles, so you may be tempted to change lanes often to make better time. The problem with this is that you increase the risk of an accident every time you move from lane to lane.

What are the most common dangers of fall driving?

The fall season in North Carolina is a beautiful time of the year. The leaves change, the weather cools and you're able to spend plenty of time outdoors.

However, there are many dangers of fall driving, all of which you need to protect against. Here are three that could cause you trouble:

  • Back to school traffic: With children back in school, the number of vehicles on the road will increase. This includes both school buses and parents transporting their children to and from school. Also, there will be children in close proximity to the roads on which you drive.
  • Heavy rain: North Carolina is known for having heavy rainstorms during the fall season, so make sure you're prepared to adjust your driving style accordingly. For example, you need to slow down and use your headlights in wet conditions.
  • Animals: Negligent drivers and inclement weather aren't the only causes of accidents during the fall months. Animals, deer in particular, are more active at this time of the year. If an animal darts in front of your vehicle, it's likely to cause some type of accident.

Tips for driving safely in heavy rain

When driving in North Carolina during the fall months, you may find yourself contending with heavy rain, strong winds and other dangerous weather conditions.

Operating a vehicle in heavy rain is a challenge, as your visibility is limited, and the roadways are slick. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to drive safely in heavy rain:

  • Slow down: There's never a good time to drive fast in wet conditions, as it increases the risk of losing control of your vehicle. Slow down, take your time and watch for standing water on the roadway.
  • Use your headlights: This increases your visibility of the road ahead, while also allowing other drivers to more easily see your vehicle. Even if you're driving in the rain during the daylight hours, using your headlights is imperative to maintaining your safety.
  • Leave a greater following distance: It takes longer to slow your vehicle in wet conditions, so leave extra space. This can be the difference between causing a rear-end collision and avoiding a dangerous situation.

Rear-end collisions can cause several spine-related injuries

You do not have to travel on I-95 to become the victim of a traffic accident. A rear-end collision can happen anywhere, including the streets of your own neighborhood.

Injuries to the spine are common in this kind of crash, although you may only begin feeling the effects in the hours or days afterward. Here are four examples of spine-related injuries resulting from rear-end collisions.

What are you doing to prevent an accident with a truck?

Driving in close proximity to commercial trucks is nerve-racking, as you always have concerns about someone making a mistake that causes an accident.

Since you don't want that "someone" to be you, it's critical to take steps to prevent an accident. Here are four things you should do:

  • Avoid blind spots: Commercial trucks have multiple blind spots, including the area directly next to and behind the truck. Avoiding these spots will enhance your safety.
  • Use turn signals: This gives everyone on the road, including truckers, a clear idea of what you're doing. An abrupt lane change without a turn signal increases the risk of an accident.
  • Passing in the right lane: When passing a truck, it's critical that you do so in the left lane. Passing in the right lane is dangerous, as the truck driver may not see you doing so.
  • Slow yield: When yielding onto the highway, it's critical to get up to speed as you keep a close eye on the traffic moving toward you. If you pull in front of a truck while driving too slowly, it could result in a rear-end accident at high speed.

Some people are more likely to drive drowsy

Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous. Even if you don't fall asleep at the wheel, driving while fatigued makes it difficult to maintain control and follow the rules of the road.

While anyone can become drowsy while driving, this is more likely to impact the following groups of people:

  • Anyone who doesn't get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel
  • Commercial drivers like truckers who are on the road for many consecutive hours — often without breaks
  • Drivers with a sleep disorder, e.g., sleep apnea
  • Shift workers, especially those who work the graveyard shift
  • Anyone who takes medication that can cause drowsiness

How to drive safely in a parking lot

Upon reaching your destination in your vehicle, you'll immediately begin your search for a parking spot.

When you find yourself navigating a parking lot in search of the perfect space, it's critical to keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Follow the speed limit: Just the same as local roadways, parking lots and parking garages also have speed limits. If you don't see a speed limit posted, which is often the case, don't travel any faster than five mph.
  • Take extra caution when backing out: Many parking lot accidents happen when a vehicle is backing out of a space. Take your time when doing so, while also using your backup camera, if available.
  • Don't drive the wrong way: Many parking lots only allow for traffic to move in one direction. If you drive the wrong way, you risk causing a head-on collision with another vehicle.
  • Be patient: In a crowded parking lot, it can take some time to find a spot. This is particularly true at busy times of the day, such as during the morning or evening commute. Patience is critical to maintaining your safety.
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