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Auto Accidents

Multitasking & Distracted Driving

Multitasking – The ability to do several things at the same time.

“It’s called multitasking,” is my go-to statement to say to my boyfriend when he is texting away and remaining quiet as I ask him a question.

To which he responds, “I can’t do that.”

I read an article which stated that people who believe themselves to be good multitaskers are the most dangerous behind the wheel, and vice versa.  Which made me think, that instead of completely blaming smartphones and the 21st century for providing us with several tools of distraction, maybe just maybe, the problem might be people not knowing their limits and misjudging their own abilities?

Talking or texting on cellphones has become one of the most common ways of multitasking. Multitasking once reserved for the work environment, has now poured out and become a vital tool for everyday living and activities. Cellphones have given us the ability to be as close to being at two places at once as humanly possible. Hence why it plays such a big distraction when you are traveling in a car, you’re here but you want to be there. The point is cellphones equal multitasking heaven.

So if the problem really is people overestimating their own abilities when it comes to being able to multitask. The solution probably won’t be more statistics on how many people do it and how dangerous it is. Everyone knows it’s dangerous, the problem is the “it won’t happen to me” mentality, the “It’s not ok for everyone else to do it, but I’m good at it” thoughts.

So what is the solution?

I don’t know. But, in an era where social networks steer the world, and being socially accepted whether by likes on your Instagram post or your Facebook page make you feel more liked. Maybe the key lies in not shining a light as much on how many people do it, but rather how many more people don’t do it and how much more they are liked?

Far stretch? Maybe, but I’d say its wort a shot.

If you are a victim of a car accident resulting from a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Mazow | McCullough.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

“Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2014 alone, 3,129 were killed in distracted driving crashes.” – Distraction.gov

When I was first informed that April is distracted driving awareness month, my first thought was cell phone use. It has to be the number one reason why people out there are so, well, distracted right? But the more I thought about it over the weekend, the more I realized that distracted driving has been around for far longer than cellphones have. While I was sure that cellphone use had to take up one of the top 3 spots when it came to reasons why people are distracted behind the wheel, it couldn’t be number one source of distraction; I mean people have been driving for longer than cellphones have been around and distraction on the road has always been a problem.

So I did some research, and it turns out that according to the data gathered from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which is maintained by the National Highway Safety Administration. Cell phone use comes in second place when it comes to the top 10 driving distractions involved in fatal car crashes.
The number one reason is simple, people are generally distracted or “lost in thought.”

This makes sense; think about it, before there where cell phones, hand free devices, GPS systems there was just you and the road. There was minimal distraction, but with minimal distraction comes boredom. You are sitting in your car waiting for a light to turn red, mindlessly following the taillights of the car in front of you, and staying within the painted lines. Your mind is bound to wonder. Whether you wonder about why the sparrows get so darn close to your car every time as if playing a game of chicken with the other community of sparrows. Or you daze off to think about how you will check off your to do list for the day.

So for not only this month, but year round, let’s all try to be more aware of our state of mind and keep distractions to a minimum when it comes driving.

This month, I will write a series of blogs relating to distracted driving and how to do your part to keep distractions behind the wheel to a minimum. There should be nobody is injured due to somebody being distracted behind the wheel, there is simply no excuse.

If you are a victim of a car accident resulting from a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Mazow | McCullough.

Fitbit Data Being Used As Evidence in Car Accident & Other Cases

Fitbits, one of the many devices available on the market designed to track your activity levels, sleep, weight and even calorie intake. I myself have a Fitbit, after it was recommended to me by one of my friends I was interested in the little “health coach on a budget” device. One of my main reasons for obtaining the Fitbit was to track my sleeping pattern. Soon after buying it however, I realized that I could not stand to sleep with it on. (Insert sad trombone sound effect here.) But glass half full, that wasn’t the only reason I purchased it and it serves its purpose pretty darn well in every other aspect.

Since I have grown to love my “wrist health coach” it certainly caught my attention, when one morning while I was getting ready for work, I heard on the news that the data gathered by Fitbit’s was being used as evidence in court cases.

Now this sounded like something right up my alley!

I had one concern though, anybody who’s used any of the devices out there designed to track your activity levels etc. knows that the information gathered is only as good as how often you wear the device, so it can be misleading in a way. But then on second thought, I guess as long it’s not used as the sole source of evidence it works out.

So far, I am aware of Fitbits only being a part of two cases, the first being a personal injury case, which was naturally right up my alley.

A woman, who had been involved in a car accident, had her lifestyle and activity levels compromised as a result of the accident. She was a personal trainer and as a result of her injuries she could not be as active as she was prior to the accident. Her attorney used the data gathered by the Fitbit to prove her reduced physical activity, along with other supporting evidence. Now granted, I do not believe that the data obtained from the Fitbit’s should be used as sole evidence, but that data partnered with medical records and expert witnesses can be really convincing. It is exciting to know that as technology grows so grow other opportunities and I look forward to seeing these devices being used more and more in court cases.

The second case involved a woman in Lancaster, Pennsylvania who placed a 911 call claiming that she had been raped by a home invader. She had told the police that she woke up around midnight to find the intruder on top of her and that she had lost her Fitbit in the struggle. The Fitbit was found somewhere in the hallway and when the data was downloaded, it showed that while the woman said she had been sleeping up until the incident occurred, the data recorded showed the woman was actually awake and walking around. That along with other missing pieces of the puzzle in the woman’s story helped to prove that she was being less than honest.

Clearly, new evidence is always being used in legal cases and can do a lot to prove or disprove a particular matter. If you have been hurt in an accident and have questions about what kinds of evidence can be used to strengthen your case, don’t hesitate to contact Mazow | McCullough today for a consultation. Call now at (855) 693-9084.

Driving into the Glare of the Sun

I can’t seem to turn on the television recently without hearing about a horrific car accident that led to fatalities or serious injuries. One of them involves an 80 year old Plymouth woman, who was seriously injured and later died due to her injuries. She collided with a school bus as the bus was leaving a parking lot, her husband and granddaughter were also in the car but thankfully, they both suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police stated that the glare of the sun had a major role in the accident, and it is likely that the driver did not see the bus as she was driving.

Driving on a beautiful sunny day, whether it is in the summer or winter, can be both great and not so great. On one hand, you have the sun out and beautiful clear skies to accompany the nice scenery. On the other hand, you have this blinding sun that you can’t seem to get away from. I am the type of driver that considers leaving a gap between me and the car in front of me if it means that the sun will not be in my eyes, while I wait for the light to turn green. I think it, but I rarely/never do it. For some reason, drivers tend to get mad if you leave more than a 5 inch gap between you and the car in front of you, who knew?

Since there is no way to get around driving while the sun is in our eyes, considering that most of us drive either right after the sun has risen or just before the sun sets, which just happen to be the most dangerous and blinding times. Below are some tips to make the unavoidable a little more bearable.

  • Wear polarized sunglasses to help reduce the glare caused by the sun.
  • Keep your windshield clean, and definitely do this before your trip or if it is not possible to do before your trip, do it when you come to a stop. I think we all know what happens when you decide to spray windshield washer fluid while driving into the sun. (total and complete blindness)
  • Use your sun visor; it’s there for a reason.
  • Leave a decent amount of space between you and the driver in front of you while at the same time lowering your speed.
  • Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility to other motorists on the road.
  • Avoid having papers/envelopes stored on your dashboard, nothing like white to reflect sunlight.

If you are the victim of a car accident that involves the sun glare, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Mazow | McCullough at (855) 693-9084 for a consultation.

Driving on Snow and Ice

When it comes to driving on snowy and/or icy conditions, I think the best piece of advice out there is to stay put. Best case scenario, you have a couple of treacherous winters under your belt and decide against staying indoors; you will not be the only one on the road trying to overcome the elements. There will most certainly be first time winter drivers out there looking for some slippery fun, or perhaps the idea of staying indoors all day is far too unbearable as it is for me. Regardless of why other people are out there, the point is that there will be. So, if staying indoors is an option I would say it would be the wisest one.

Perhaps another piece of advice that could come in handy when dealing with snow and ice is that having four-wheel/all -wheel drive does not exempt anyone from taking precautionary measures such as diminishing your velocity and keeping your distance. The purpose of all wheel drive is to provide all your tires with enough torque to be able to move through snowy terrain. It will not give you the extra traction needed to come to a stop.

When driving on icy or snowy streets don’t make any abrupt changes to your speed or direction. Chances are that your car will not react favorably and will not be able to maintain traction sending you into a skid from which the best case scenario will be an increase in heart rate. If for some reason your car does loose traction and you are skidding, do not over steer or slam on the brakes. Slowly remove your foot of the brake or gas pedal and hold the steering wheel in the direction you initially desired to go. This should help you regain control.

In conclusion, winter rules to live by;

  1. Don’t drive unless you need to
  2. Drive at a speed that makes sense for the conditions you are facing
  3. Keep your distance
  4. Do not panic if you enter into a skid.

If you or a loved one were injured in a winter car crash, don’t hesitate to call the auto accident lawyers at Mazow | McCullough for a consultation at (855) 693-9084.

(855) 693-9084
(855) 693-9084
(855) 693-9084

Preparing Your Car for Winter

I will start this blog of by admitting that I was part of the 1% of people that were disappointed by the lack of snow this past holiday season.  Now, this does NOT mean that I wanted a snow storm or anything to that effect; as a matter of fact I didn’t even want 3 inches.

All I wanted was a little coating of magically shaped frozen water, a little something for my inner child to rejoice in. Sadly, that was not the case.  Instead of a white holiday season we had a very green holiday season, but what’s that saying?  “If you don’t like the weather in New England wait five minutes.”

Christmas Eve: 69 degrees.

Couple Days Later: 8 degrees.

All hail New England weather!

If the above is not enough indication that there is no predicting the weather for the east coast, let’s simmer on that fact that we are coming back from a winter with record-breaking snowfall. I would say it may be wise to prepare for a harsher winter and part of that involves the dreaded winter driving conditions.

Getting Your Car Winter Ready

  • Make sure you fill your windshield washer reservoir and buy extra to keep on hand in your vehicle.
  •   Check your windshield wipers and defrosters to make sure they work.

(Flashback to last winter: Nothing better than scraping ice off of your windshield because your heater is not working and the defroster is blowing cold air.)

  •  Do NOT pour hot water on your windshield unless you are going for the spider glass effect.
  •  Inspect your tires and make sure they have enough tread. If you have winter tires and are waiting for some snow to fall to swap out your all season or summer tires, you might want to take into consideration that winter tires are not only meant to perform well in snowy/ icy terrain but also to perform better in cold weather.  You wouldn’t want your summer tires cracking due to the brittle conditions.
  •  If you use winter floor mats, make sure to remove your current ones in order to prevent potential pedal interference.

Unfortunately, even taking extra precautions isn’t always enough, if you or a loved one find yourself injured in a car accident, contact the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough for a consultation. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Cellphone Usage While Driving

I have taken pride in the past in considering myself to be a very mellow driver. I’m not a road rage advocate, I don’t like to use my horn, unless it is a light tap to let someone kindly know that the light in front of them which Cellphone Usage While Drivingthey were supposed to be watching oh so vigilantly has changed to another color.

You can probably tell by the passive aggressiveness in that last sentence my standing on the matter has changed. The number one culprit, cellphone usage while driving! In the era of smart phones, iWatches, Google glasses and the need to feel constantly connected to the world at all times, it should come as no surprise that using such devices while driving has become a colossal issue. Now, I will not exclude myself from the masses. I will admit that I too am guilty at times of texting or trying to use a device while driving. However, after experiencing how irritating it is to drive behind someone who for three miles who is constantly texting and going below the speed limit. (Let the records show that the speed limit was 25 mph.) I have limited my device usage to red lights, stops or just a simple “Hey Siri, what does my new text message say?” As I feel the rest of the community should do at a minimum.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that cellphone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year and nearly 330,000 injuries. In Massachusetts, the law for cellphones and texting while driving prohibits school bus drivers and novice drivers (drivers 18 or younger) from using the device to either text or talk. All other drivers are only prohibited from texting while driving. Now that is not to say that talking is not as distracting as texting, studies actually show it may be equally as distracting or if not more, something about the human brain not being designed to multi-task. So when you get in a car whether you are the driver or passenger either make a wise choice to not text/ talk and drive at the same time or if you’re a passenger speak up about the unwise decision your friend is making. I mean after all you are in danger as well if something where to happen, so don’t be shy. Driving is a privilege not a right.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moped Hit and Run in Lynn

Over the Memorial Day weekend, a man riding a moped was seriously injured when he was the victim of a hit and run in Lynn, Massachusetts. Police are still searching for the car and the driver responsible.

Details Surrounding the Crash

On Monday, May 25 at around 9:30 PM police responded to a hit and run crash involving a man in a moped. The crash occurred on Union Street in Lynn.  Witness’s state that the car involved in the crash was driving very fast and took off immediately after the crash occurred.   The man driving the moped suffered severe burn injuries due to the gas from the moped catching on fire. Witnesses from the stores surrounding the area ran to extinguish the fire with fire extinguishers. The victim was taken by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital.  At this time there are no updates as to how the victim is doing.

Increasing your Safety on the Road

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) the majority of accidents occur for the following reasons:

  • Collision at an intersection
  • Rider inexperience
  • Excessive Speed
  • Alcohol

In order to reduce the chances of being involved in a crash, one must be vigilant at intersections while at the same time making sure you increase your visibility to everyone on the road, especially at night.

Remember to ride within your ability. If you are new to riding, avoid riding at times when heavy traffic is expected or when conditions are not safe due to weather or visibility.

Bear in mind to keep your speed in check. The faster you are traveling the less reaction time you have which, in return, also limits the reaction time of other drivers to you.

And last but certainly not least, do not drink and ride. There is little room for error when on two wheels. When riding, a “fender bender” is not the likely outcome of any crash. Now that summer weather seems to have finally arrived and everyone is out an about, it is even more important to take extra steps to remain safe on the road.

If you have been injured as a result of a moped, motor scooter or motorcycle crash, Contact us today for a consultation and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and How to Avoid Them

motorcycleIt’s Spring Time!

Longer days, warmer weather, bugs coming out to do whatever it is that bugs do, cabin fever in full effect , and, oh yeah, motorcyclists on the road. You’ve been cooped up all winter; casually strolling by your bike and waiting for this glorious time of year to approach, only to endure a disappointing first few weeks of spring [insert wrong answer game show sound effect here]. Well I am here to tell you that I have confidence that in the next two weeks, Mother Nature will give us spring back. So get ready to ride! But first, let’s take a look at the most common causes of motorcycle accidents involving drivers on the road, and how to prevent them.

Car Turning Left in Front of You

These types of accidents account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car. Most of the time a car fails to see you or judges your speed incorrectly, usually the turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcyclist is either passing a car or going straight through the intersection. Of course, there are several other reasons for this sort of collision happening, one of them being as simple as your mind playing tricks on you. Maybe some of you have gone to the fridge and opened it up and put your phone in the fridge instead of the milk [guilty]. If a driver is looking for cars he/she may simply only notice the absence of cars and not the presence of a motorcycle. Your best defense against this happening is that you just need to see it coming. Part of your job as a motorcyclist is to develop a sixth sense; you need to see danger where you usually wouldn’t if you were driving a car. You need to take something as simple as a car waiting to change lanes or a car waiting to exit a parking lot as an immediate threat to your life. The faster you learn to ride defensively the better off you will be.

A Car Changes Lanes into You

You’re riding in traffic, scratch that you are riding period. When a car in the lane next to you decides that, right at that moment, it would be a good time for him/her to switch lanes. There’s only one way to help you avoid a collision in this situation and that is, to keep in mind that motorcycles are much smaller than cars, making it that much easier for you to be in someone’s blind spot. You need to be aware of how different cars have different blind spots. A car’s blind spot size will be considerably different than that of truck. Know the blind spots and spend as little time in them as possible. Be extra cautious when you see situations that are going to favor lane changing. Chances are if you would change lanes; know that someone else is having the same thought. People are going to want to be in the lane that is moving at a faster speed. When riding, look for signs that a car is about to change lanes. A blinker, a car speeding up or slowing down, and my favorite tell-tale sign, a driver looking over his or her shoulder. Be aware of this at all times, and your chances of not getting into an accident will be strongly diminished.

A Car Hits You from Behind

You come to a stop, a yield, the car in front of you hits his/her breaks unexpectedly warranting for you to hit your breaks and come to speedy stop.  Brace for impact! This type of accident in a car would usually result in a “fender bender” meanwhile on a motorcycle, a “fender bender” can have drastically worse consequences. How can you avoid this? Instead of stopping in the center of the lane, try coming to a safe stop on the side of the lane if possible. When coming to a stop, pay attention to what’s coming up behind you. Use your side mirrors to observe the cars behind you, and determine if they are coming up too fast and could possibly collide with you. Always keep your bike in first gear and right hand on the accelerator in order to be ready to take action in a moment’s notice. Be particularly vigilant in situations where there’s bad visibility, bad weather, poor lighting etc.

When ridden safely, motorcycles are a great option to get around; they are fun, fast and fuel-efficient, and did I mention fun? As stated above, the key to making sure your experience remains enjoyable is to respect the road and remain vigilant. Being vigilant and wearing the right equipment will go a long way in helping prevent bumps and bruises or worse consequences that come along with accidents. Enjoy motorcycle riding responsibly, while you feel the pavement underneath glide on by.

In the unfortunate event that you, or a loved one, are involved in a motorcycle accident don’t hesitate to contact the motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Mazow McCullough.

Snow Storm Safety Tips: Driving

driving along a snowy road

It’s best to avoid driving in snowy weather if at all possible.

You can’t seem to turn on the news these past two weeks in New England without hearing about the next snow storm or blizzard that will be progressing through the area. In Boston, there has been about 72 inches (6 feet) of snow within the last 18 days. Mother Nature has managed to help us beat the record for the snowiest 30-day period, which was previously occupied by a record of 58.8 inches in a stretch that included the infamous Blizzard of 1978. Even more notable is that fact that we still have 12 days to try and bump that number up.

As the snow piles continue to grow, the safety concerns grow with it. Everybody is dealing with a sequence of inconvenient snow storms, which add on day to day tasks: shoveling every day, getting up earlier than usual to try and get to work on time, scurrying to try and get a parking spot that isn’t being saved by someone’s patio chair, cooking pot, or fan. We must remember that it can get pretty bad out there as everyone tries to continue with their daily lives, which likely includes spending some time behind the wheel. With the snowfall accumulation forecasted to continue throughout the week, some safety measures should be taken while driving in order to try and survive this record-breaking snowfall that we seem to have been gifted with.

Snow Storm Safety Tips

  • Drive slowly and be aware of children playing in the street and/or around snow piles.
  • Clear exterior exhausts vents and vehicle exhausts to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Avoid driving at night if possible.
  • If you are out at night and walking, try wearing bright colors or reflective gear.
  • Stay inside during storms unless absolutely necessary.
  • Avoid shortcuts; shortcut paths may be dangerous as it is less likely that snow has been removed.
  • Do not use cruise control when you are driving on a slushy or slippery road.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires provide less traction, which is already an issue with snow and ice covered roads.
  • Remain calm in a skid.  Do not over steer or slam on your breaks. This will make it harder to regain control of the vehicle.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding.
  • Increase your following distance. This will give you plenty of time to respond hazards on the road and changing conditions.
  • Clean all the snow off of your car. Make sure to clear the rear windows, mirrors, and roof as well as the windshield.
  • Clean off your headlights and taillights so that you can see and be seen.
  • Do not pass snow plows.
  • Remember bridges, ramps and overpasses are likely to freeze with temperatures dropping.

Whether you’re enjoying the current snowfall apocalypse that has invaded New England, which I don’t presume to be many of you, or wish you could pack it back up and send it elsewhere – or better yet, pack your own bags and go elsewhere – the sorrowful fact is that we have to deal with it. We have been glued to our TVs watching the weather forecast for the next snow storm or blizzard and as they have become more and more frequent, we dismiss the importance and urgency in becoming prepared.  Here in New England, many of us have a “we can handle anything” outlook on things, or still have a sense of humor about the whole ordeal. The Boston Globe compared the snowfall totals to the heights of some of Boston’s favorite athletes. Rob Gronkowski is still peeping over the snow but others weren’t so lucky. Let’s not mistake the “we can handle anything” attitude for a “we have seen it all” attitude. Stay alert and stay warm.

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