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Category Archives: Car Accidents


The Bear, Delware car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Focus Their Practice on Helping Seriously Injured Car Accident Victims.

What Are Driving Safety Tips for Memorial Day?

The Memorial Day holiday is quickly approaching. Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for mourning the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the armed forces. It is also usually treated as the unofficial beginning of summer. Usually there are many parties and family get togethers during the entire Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Given the fact that the weather is finally much nicer and the winter weather is usually over with, there are a lot of back yard parties. With increased parties and events, there will be increased traffic over the entire holiday weekend. With increased traffic you will face an increased risk of getting into a car accident. This article will discuss some things you can focus on to lower the risk of getting into a car crash over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Tips for Safer Travel

Given the fact that it appears that the pandemic is mostly under control and many restrictions have been lifted, it is expected that travel over the Memorial Day holiday weekend significantly increased as compared to the past few years. There could easily be over 40 million Americans who will be traveling over the weekend, with about 80% of those travelers doing so by vehicle. That’s a lot of extra cars and trucks on America’s roads and highways over the weekend. AAA considers the Memorial Day holiday weekend to begin in the evening of Thursday, May 26, 2022, to the end of the day on Monday, May 30, 2022.

Here are some tips you can use to help you and your passengers stay safe if you are taking a road trip this Memorial Day weekend:

  • Follow the Rules of the Road: This means that you follow the traffic rules in your state, including speed limits, stop signs, yield signs, wear your seatbelts, do not tailgate, and try to drive defensively.

 

  • Get Your Car Prepared: Make sure your vehicle is in good working order before the trip. Make sure your lights are working, turn signals, and wiper blades work as well. Check your windshield wiper fluids and oil just to make sure there will not be any issues during your trip.

 

  • Give Yourself Enough Time: Make sure to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to get to your destination. This will stop you from rushing and driving too fast if you think you are going to be late. If the travel time is going to be several hours, then giving yourself enough time will also allow you to make stops to get coffee and stretch your legs. This also helps prevent dozing off or falling asleep behind the wheel.

 

  • Do Not Drive in Bad Weather: Check the weather before you leave. If there is going to be a storm passing over around the time you plan on driving, maybe you want to postpone the trip for a few hours and even leave earlier to beat the storm. Driving in bad weather, no matter what the bad weather, always increases the risk of getting into a crash.

 

  • Check Your Directions: Make sure you know where you are going, especially if you have not been there before. But you should check your route even if you are familiar with it because there could be construction or route diversions that could significantly affect your trip. If there are route detours you may have to give yourself more time.

 

  • Don’t Speed: Most car accidents are caused by one person or another driving too fast. A driver may be driving too fast and lose control of their vehicle. Also, a driver may be driving too fast to avert another reckless driver. So, whatever you do, do not speed.

Put Together an Emergency Kit

No matter how much you spend on the roads and highways traveling, every driver should have an emergency kit that is kept in their vehicle at all times. You should not just have an emergency kit on long trips. You never know when you may need it. What if you are stuck on the side of the road for hours with a broken down vehicle? What if you are traveling along the highway and a multivehicle crash occurs ahead and you are stuck on the highway for hours and hours? These things happen all the time to people. Therefore, you should plan for it.

These are the things that you should focus on and putting in your emergency kit:

  • First aid kit with bandages and many other potentially necessary medical supplies.
  • Car fire extinguisher.
  • Road flares for warning other vehicles.
  • Drinking water just in case you are stuck in your vehicle for several hours.
  • Non-perishable snacks.
  • Extra warm clothing like hats, socks, gloves, and a towel.
  • Paper maps for when you may not have cell service because there are still areas in the country without cell coverage.
  • Portable jump starter battery pack that also acts as a backup power source for dead phones.
  • Duct tape.

Hopefully, you will never have to use your emergency kit because that means that, luckily, you have not been in an emergency! But the purpose of an emergency kit is to have it when you need it.

The Bear, Delware car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Focus Their Practice on Helping Seriously Injured Car Accident Victims

There is always a chance that you will get into a car crash and be injured. If this happens, you are entitled to compensation for your serious injuries. Our experienced Bear, Delaware car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have been helping people seriously injured in car accidents for decades. Call us today at 302-834-8484 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we service clients throughout the state.

The Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Passengers in an Accident .

Types of Injuries for Backseat Passengers

Although modern advancements have made the automobile much safer than in years past, recent studies have shown that in the event of a car accident, backseat passengers are more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries than front passengers. Although many injuries can be associated with the lack of wearing a seatbelt, there are several other reasons why backset passengers suffer worse injuries than front seat passengers.

According to studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the majority of those injured in the backseat are not wearing seatbelts. Furthermore, the most common injury for backseat passengers are chest injuries, followed by head injuries. In fatal accidents, those in the backseat suffer both chest and head injuries. Other injuries included:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Broken ribs, punctured lungs, and heart
  • Facial lacerations
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Internal organ bleeding

Why is the Backseat More Dangerous than the Front Seat?

Wearing your seatbelt is the easiest way to protect yourself from serious injury in a car crash. However, many automobile studies have found that most people fail to buckle up when riding in the back seat. The IIHS found that, although front passengers are 91 percent more likely to wear their seat belts, only 72 percent of back seat passengers do. Although the reason may never be truly known, experts point to a few possible reasons.

  • Older beliefs: People may believe that sitting in the rear seat is safer, thus the feeling there is no need to buckle up. But this is simply not true. The roomier surroundings tempt people to cram in unconventionally without wearing seat belts. People may believe that the further they are from the dashboard or windshield the safer they would be. However, in the event of an accident, being unsecured and not upright can cause much more damage.
  • Rideshare services: Many more people are using rideshare services now more than ever; although this keeps congestion down, it is problematic for the safety of their customers. Studies have shown that four out of five passengers who use ride services do not buckle up, either because they find it uncomfortable or do not think it is necessary if it is a short ride.
  • Older vehicles: Shoulder belts were not always required in the backseat of an automobile. Lap and shoulder belts reduce the risk of serious injury and death by over 50 percent for outboard and middle seat passengers. Shoulder seat belts were only required in the middle back seat in 2007, while outboard seats required them in the early 90s.
  • Front seats have better safety technology: Modern technology has vastly improved the safety of the driver and front passenger, but not much has changed for rear seat passengers. Airbag and seatbelt technology have made vast improvements for front passengers but is virtually non-existent for rear passengers. Including crash test ratings; however, that is beginning to change, as car manufacturers are using virtual crash test data to develop airbags for rear seat passengers and better seat belt fit and tech.

Rear Seat Safety Tips

Next time you plan on travelling in the rear seat of a car or use a ridesharing service, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear your seat belt: It is important to remember to always buckle up, whether you are in a family member’s car or an Uber. Buckling up saves lives, even if it is not a three-point shoulder seat belt.
  • Sit in the middle: The middle seat is the safest in most vehicles, unless it only has a lap belt. Outer seat generally will have shoulder belts which are safer and will secure you better than the older lap belts.
  • Stay in your seat: Always stay in your seat, and do not lap on someone else or put too many people in the back seat. Doing so prevents a person from using a seat belt the correct way.
  • Secure objects: Any loose objects in the cabin area of a car can essentially injure you should an accident occur, so it is best to secure anything loose or keep them in the trunk or cargo area.

What Do I Do if I Am an Injured Passenger in a Car Accident?

If you are a passenger in a vehicle and find yourself in an accident, there are some steps to follow to ensure you are compensated for your injuries.

  • Get help: Your first priority is to make sure everyone involved is okay and safe, and contact 911 for medical assistance and for the police to come to the scene right away.
  • Gather information: Get the information of everyone involved, particularly both drivers and their contact and insurance information. Be sure to get a copy of the police report as well.
  • Gather evidence: Get evidence of the scene, such as detailed photos and videos. Get pictures of your injuries if possible.
  • See a doctor: If you did not go to the hospital or feel like you needed to get checked at the scene of the accident, it is best to seek medical attention anyway just to make sure everything is okay. Many injuries are masked by the adrenaline of a car accident and do not appear until well after, so you may not feel anything right away.
  • Keep records: Make sure to keep track of all your records, including any medical bills and treatment plans you may acquire during the process. You may also accumulate new household expenses because of an injury, or lost wages should you be out of work due to the accident, so be sure to keep all those records for a claim.

An accident claim can get complicated very quickly, especially if you were a passenger in an accident. You may have to file your claim with the driver of the vehicle you were in, or you may have to file your claim with another driver if they were at fault. The best thing you can do is to contact a reputable accident lawyer to help make the process easier and answer the questions you have.

The Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Passengers in an Accident

If you were a passenger in an accident and were injured by another’s negligence, then you must contact the Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow immediately. Our knowledgeable team has years of experience and will protect your rights and help you be compensated for your injuries. Call us today at 302-834-8484 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we service clients throughout the state.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help First-Time Drivers Involved in Car Accidents.

What Are Some Tips for New Drivers on the Road?

The excitement and newfound freedom that comes with getting a driver’s license is something every new driver will experience, and a feeling no one forgets. While this is an exciting time, it is also time to move with extreme cautious. Car insurance for teenagers is higher, and for good reason: teenagers are involved in more car accidents.

While exciting, first-time driving can often be overwhelming too. Until now a parent, family member, or driving instructor has been seated next to you, instructing, helping to navigate traffic, keeping an eye out for potential problems, and able to take over if necessary. Though most teenagers cannot wait for their first solo adventure, there is also typically some trepidation at being alone in the car.

When it comes to driving, there is no such thing as being too safe. You have attended driving classes, taken behind-the-wheel instruction, followed your parents’ directions, and passed your driving exam. You are well-equipped with driving knowledge and full understanding of traffic rules, but it never hurts to familiarize yourself with driving safety tips again, and repeatedly, until they become second nature.

When you – and your freshly printed driver’s license – head out on your first trip, review and use these safety tips:

  • Follow traffic rules: Obey all of the traffic signals and safety rules every time you are on the road. Follow the speed limit and leave adequate space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Pay attention to traffic signs and road markers and maintain complete alertness in construction zones to ensure the safety of those in your vehicle and those around you.
  • Slow down: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that teenage drivers are the age group most likely to speed and travel too closely to the car in front of them. The less distance and more speed equal less time to stop in order to avoid an accident and increases the risk of more serious injuries in an accident. At 45 miles per hour and higher, the necessary braking distance is higher and raises incrementally with speed.
  • Maintain the car: Making sure your car is in proper working order can help avoid breakdowns and accidents. Proper maintenance includes having plenty of gas in the tank, keeping proper tire pressure, regular oil changes, appropriate brake fluid and coolant levels, unworn brake pads, functional lights and wiper blades. Additionally, know your car. Read the manual, note where all the functions are and how to use them.
  • Wear your seatbelt: Never drive without your seatbelt on and properly secured. This applies to everyone in your car. Make it a practice that you will not start the engine until everyone in the vehicle is buckled in, and make sure everyone who rides with you understands and will obey the rule. Those who will not follow your rules do not ride with you.
  • Preadjust: Taking your hands off the wheel and your eyes off of the road to adjust mirrors, your seat, and the position of the steering wheel while driving is an accident waiting to happen. Adjust everything before leaving so you can keep your focus on the road while driving.
  • Avoid distractions: Do not eat, drink, text, email, make calls, adjust the radio and other technology, play with pets or children, interact with friends, apply makeup, or perform any other activity than driving. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode, set the GPS and music, and wrap up important communications before starting the car and driving.
  • Do not tailgate: Responsibility for rear-end accidents is almost always placed on the rear driver, meaning you could receive a traffic ticket and higher insurance rates to cover the car you hit and injuries the occupants of either car suffers. Many states are adopting laws that the rear driver is always faulted, regardless of what may have led to the accident.
  • Use your indicators: Always use your turn signal to alert others where you intend to move, especially when making a lane change on an interstate or freeway.
  • Be prepared: Accidents, emergencies, and breakdowns can happen to anyone, even when you are following all safety rules and precautions. We cannot control the actions of others on the road. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car in case you find yourself in an emergency situation or having to spend extended time in your vehicle. Include hazard cones, jumper cables, flashlights, water and non-perishable snacks, blankets, and possibly road flares.
  • Watch the weather: Weather conditions are a frequent cause of car accidents as rain, snow and ice alter the road’s surface and making it more challenging for your tires to connect with the road and harder for you to see. Braking takes longer than usual when the roads are wet, slushy, or iced over. If weather conditions are dangerous, avoid driving altogether if possible.
  • No impaired driving: Under no circumstances should you ever get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Thousands die every year in the United States due to drivers under the influence. If you have been consuming alcohol or other substances, have a sober designated driver, call a friend or family member or a rideshare or taxi to pick you up.
  • Relax: Yes, road rage is real. Do not be an aggressive and emotional driver. Sometimes we encounter drivers who make mistakes or do stupid things. Do not scream, gesture wildly or chase the other car.
  • Drive defensively: Know who is around you at all times and pay attention to the behavior of other drivers. Try to avoid cars who are speeding or weaving in and out of traffic, especially on an interstate, and put extra distance between you.
  • Practice parking: One part of driving that causes at least some level of anxiety for most new drivers is parking, especially parallel or rear end parking. To familiarize yourself and improve your skills, find a parking lot or side street with less cars and practice both maneuvers until you feel more comfortable and confident.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help First-Time Drivers Involved in Car Accidents

One pinnacle of the teenage years is earning your driver’s license. It is an exciting time for new drivers – and a terrifying time for parents. Teenagers are far more likely to have car accidents than any other age group. If you are a new driver who has been involved in a car accident, whether your fault or someone else’s, the experienced Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Call us at 302-834-8484 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Bear, Delaware, we serve clients in Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

 

The Bear Accident Lawyers from Rhoades & Morrow Law Firm Help Injured Holiday Crash Survivors Move Forward with Their Lives.

How Can I Stay Safe Traveling This Easter?

Spring holidays like Easter and Passover present the opportunity for families and friends to gather together. This means that roads, highways, and turnpikes may experience more traffic than usual during these celebratory periods.

 

If you plan to drive this Easter, you may want to take precautions to ensure safer traveling. Below are some best practices to help reduce the chances of being involved in a springtime car accident.

 

Prepare for Unexpected Winter Weather

 

Easter is considered a spring holiday, but spring weather in Delaware and the surrounding states can change from warm and mild to cold and icy quickly. Fog also can become a factor, especially when temperatures fluctuate significantly from day to day.

 

Even if the forecast calls for blue skies and a mild day, check your weather app before heading to any destination. You may be surprised to see a band of rain or even sleet. It is much better to know what you may encounter so you can prepare to drive defensively or stop to avoid the worst of a storm.

 

Give Yourself Lots of Time

 

You can be sure that plenty of other travelers will take advantage of the Easter weekend to visit loved ones, go on errands, or take a short weekend vacation. Knowing this, give yourself enough time to get to wherever you intend to go and allow for extra traffic.

 

If you leave late, expect to arrive late. Never speed or drive aggressively just to get to an Easter celebration. Remaining calm and allowing yourself to move with the general flow of traffic is always better than racing to get somewhere.

 

Put Away Anything Distracting

 

Distracted driving remains a top reason for serious and fatal accidents. Although you probably know that texting while driving is a main distraction, other types of activities can interfere with your concentration. These include everything from putting on makeup to eating snacks.

 

Whenever possible, stow away anything that might distract you, like your smartphone. Or, set it to silent so you are not tempted to reach for it if a call or text comes through. Additionally, make sure you have gotten ready before leaving. As a final note on this topic, always secure your pet companions safely in a travel-approved carrier so they cannot roam around your vehicle.

 

Watch for Pedestrians and Cyclists

 

Not everyone you encounter on the road will be driving during the Easter holiday. Some people like to take advantage of spring breaks to walk, run, or ride their bike. This can put them alongside you on roads, especially on rural, residential, or city streets.

 

If you strike a pedestrian or cyclist with your car, you are likely to be held liable for the event since you were driving. Therefore, be cautious and slow down so everyone stays safer.

 

Check Your Tires and Windshield Wipers

 

When was the last time you checked on your tire treads? Do you make sure your tires are inflated properly? Your tires keep your car from skidding off the road. They need to have enough gripping power to ensure that you can make turns securely, especially in wet conditions.

 

In addition to paying attention to your tires, test out your windshield wipers, too. The last thing you want is to get into a springtime shower and discover that your wipers do not work well.

 

Avoid Driving If You Have Been Drinking

 

Sober driving keeps everyone safer. Even if you only plan to have one drink during an Easter dinner or get-together, consider giving your keys to someone else. Alternately, you may want to name another licensed driver in your group as the designated driver for the day.

 

Being charged with and convicted of drunk driving can lead to serious repercussions for you. Aim to play it safe.

 

Stay on the Lookout for Animals

 

The spring months are prime time for animals and their young to come out of the woods in search of food. For instance, you may encounter more deer on the road in late March, April, and May. The same holds true of other smaller creatures like raccoons, groundhogs, squirrels, and possums.

 

Hitting a deer or even a small animal can cause damage to your car and potential injury to you or your passengers. The best way to avoid hitting an animal is to stay alert for them. Driving at posted speed limits will make certain that you have enough time to react.

 

Coach New Drivers for Easter Driving

 

You may have someone in your family such as a teen or young adult who is driving during Easter for the first time. Explain the importance of being alert with your new driver.

 

Remember that as a more seasoned driver, it is up to you to play the role of a mentor or coach. You may want to go over basic driving instructions and make Easter a time for a quick refresher lesson.

 

Re-establish Your Safe Car Kit

 

Maybe you put together an emergency care kit over the winter. If so, it probably included everything from flares and bottled water to a blanket and first aid items. Use Easter as the time to look over your kit. Is there anything that should be replaced, such as energy bars that have expired? Do you want to add anything, such as a bottle of sunscreen in anticipation of summer?

 

While you freshen up your personal car kit, give your vehicle a cleanup, too. Vacuum the interior and wipe down the windows inside and out. Scrub any debris off headlights and tail lights as well.

 

What Should You Do If You Get in a Car Crash on Easter?

 

Police and emergency responders work 24/7, 365 days a year. If you get into a car accident on Easter, call 911 as soon as you can to alert the authorities. Then, wait patiently until help arrives.

 

After your accident, get any treatment you need. You may want to set up an appointment with your primary care provider, too. Some injuries take a day or two to appear, including traumatic brain injuries and whiplash. If you have trouble with the insurance claims process or feel you need help, think about talking with car accident lawyers about your situation. Car accident lawyers can help you get a better understanding of your rights and legal opportunities.

 

The Bear Accident Lawyers from Rhoades & Morrow Law Firm Help Injured Holiday Crash Survivors Move Forward with Their Lives

 

Did an Easter crash leave you with mounting medical bills? Call our Bear, car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Set up an appointment at our offices in Wilmington, Bear, or Milford by calling (302) 834-8484. You also can fill out our online form. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

 

 

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Those Injured in Rental Car Accidents.

Who Is Liable in a Rental Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to know who is liable for the damage that results. This is especially true if a rental car was the cause of the crash. Different states have different laws about liability for rental cars. In some states, the renter is liable for any damage. In other states, the insurance company pays for any damage and then sues the renter to recover their losses.

Since rental cars are often used on vacations or when travelling for work, you must understand which state’s laws apply as accidents may occur in a different state than where you reside or normally work. If you are renting a car and get into an accident, it is important that you understand which state’s law applies before making any decisions that could affect your rights and responsibilities. On the reverse side of the crash, if you are involved in a crash that was caused by a negligent driver who was driving a rental car, you also need to know what to do and what not to do. There may be more steps to take care of than if the accident occurred between two privately-owned cars.

The renter is liable for any damage if they are the cause of the crash. However, there are many sources of recovery if you are hurt due to the negligence of a driver of a rental car. It depends upon what type of insurance policies are available and what type of coverage is paid for on each policy. The rental car company is liable for any damage to the rental car if the renter was in an accident and was found to be at fault. If the renter is not found to be responsible, then the renter will be liable for all damage incurred in an accident.

If you are seriously injured in a car accident that is caused by a rental car driver, one of the first phone calls you should make is to a law firm. You will need a lawyer who knows about the type of insurance involved in these crashes and how the law applies.

Here are the potential insurance policies that may come into play.

Rental Car Insurance

When you rent a car, the rental company always offers the renter extra coverage. What type of coverage and how much is offered will depend upon the state where the rental agreement is signed. However, this extra rental insurance could come into play if the rental driver causes the crash, and someone was seriously injured.

The At-Fault Driver’s Personal Insurance

In some cases, the rental driver’s insurance policy that covers their personal vehicle might come into play. Again, this depends upon the law of the state and the details of their personal automobile policy, but it is something that a thorough attorney will investigate and pursue if needed.

Credit Card Company Rental Car Insurance

When people rent a car, they will always use a credit card. In many instances, the credit card company has a standard benefit attached to it where it provides insurance that covers the rental car. Again, there is no guarantee that such a policy exists with every rental car purchase. Also, there is no guarantee that when there is credit card company rental car insurance, it will provide benefits and coverage to injured people.

The Rental Car Company

Most people think that if they were injured by a negligent driver of a rental car, that the owner of the rental car would also be liable and responsible for any injuries their driver caused. But this is not the case. A federal law passed in 2005 by Congress called the Graves Amendment made it impossible to file a lawsuit against a rental company merely for owning a vehicle that was involved in a crash due to the negligence of the driver. This type of liability is called vicarious liability, which means that the owner of the vehicle is vicariously liable for the actions of the driver. The Graves Amendment ended that in the United States.

However, if the injured person can demonstrate that the company’s negligence or actions contributed to those injuries, then the rental company can be held responsible. The type of negligence on behalf of the rental company could be that it failed to professionally train and supervise its employees as to renting out vehicles to proper drivers. Also, if the rental car company fails to perform proper maintenance and inspection of their vehicles, and it was proven that a malfunction of the vehicle caused the crash, then the company could be held responsible. Last, if the rental car employees rented a vehicle to someone who they clearly should not have rented to, then the rental car company could be liable for the negligent actions of their employees. Here are some potential ways that a rental car company employee could rent to the wrong person and be responsible for your injuries:

  • The rental car company rented a vehicle to someone who was clearly intoxicated on either alcohol or drugs and let them drive off the lot in that condition. If the intoxicated driver, then goes out and causes a crash, the rental car company could be responsible for the injuries that happened in the crash.
  • The rental car employee rented a vehicle to someone whose license is revoked.
  • The rental car company employee failed to review and verify the driver’s license information and it turned out the driver either did not have a license or the license was restricted in some manner.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Those Injured in Rental Car Accidents

If you were seriously injured by someone who was driving a rental car, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have decades of experience and can help. We have office locations in Bear, Wilmington, Milford and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties, we serve clients throughout the state. Call us at 302-427-9600 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation.

 

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Those Seriously Injured in Roundabout Accidents.

Are Roundabouts Safer and More Efficient?

Entering a roundabout can be a tense situation for some drivers, especially when they are in an unfamiliar area. Even though many road safety experts say that roundabouts are safe overall, car accidents can still happen when navigating through them. If you are unfamiliar with roundabouts, that is understandable because some states and regions have very few, if any. The United States has only recently been pushing to build more roundabouts, as opposed to traditional intersections controlled with stop lights.

Roundabouts are circular traffic flow patterns that reduce the number of conflict points, aid in traffic flow, and enhance road safety. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are 35 percent fewer accidents in roundabouts than intersections. This has led to a 90 percent decrease in fatalities and a 75 percent decrease in injuries nationwide. Over the last decade, the state of Delaware has been advocating for the use of more roundabouts versus intersections.

Roundabouts are cheaper to build, safer, and improve traffic flow, according to some road safety experts. What makes roundabouts safer, overall, than a traditional intersection is the number of conflict areas in each roundabout. A conflict area is an area where two vehicles could collide. A four-way intersection has 32 conflict areas, whereas a roundabout has only eight. The fact that there are way fewer points where vehicles could impact greatly reduces the likelihood of car accidents.

Also, given the fact that there is rarely the need to stop, rear-end collisions are also reduced in roundabouts. Crashes in roundabouts are typically minor fender-benders because most of the time vehicles have to naturally slow down when entering roundabouts. Less violent collisions means less catastrophic injuries.

Roundabouts are also cheaper to build and have lower maintenance costs. These are the reasons why many areas are seeing more roundabouts.

What Are Common Causes of Roundabout Car Accidents?

Even though roundabouts seem to be generally safer than traditional intersections, you can still get into a car crash while traveling through one. This can happen no matter how safe of a driver you are because you cannot guarantee other motorists will be following the rules of the road. There will always be motorists who drive recklessly with little care or concern for the vehicles that share the road with them.

Here are common reasons why roundabout car accidents occur:

  • As vehicles enter the roundabout, someone fails to yield to oncoming or incoming traffic.
  • Making erratic, sudden, and unsafe lane changes, especially without looking before changing lanes or without checking one’s blind spot.
  • Driving too fast, especially for the conditions of the road due to weather or traffic congestion.
  • Stopping the vehicle unexpectedly and without warning.
  • When entering the roundabout, the driver uses the wrong lane while circling, or they use the wrong lane to exit the roundabout, cutting in front of other vehicles.

Determining Fault in Roundabout Car Accidents

It is more difficult to determine who is at fault in a roundabout crash compared to other types of car accidents. At an intersection, most of the time, it is fairly easy to pin fault on a driver because they ran a red light or they were not paying attention and rear-ended someone. However, with a roundabout, traffic is often weaving in and out between all of the vehicles, so it is difficult to pinpoint who is ultimately the cause of the crash. For this reason, it is critical to speak with a lawyer after a serious roundabout accident.

A lawyer can help you in the following ways after a roundabout car accident:

  • Obtain footage: Many roundabouts have cameras constantly filming the traffic, similar to the cameras on stop lights at intersections. A lawyer may be able to help you obtain this footage.
  • Speak with witnesses: Also, a lawyer could interview any witnesses and obtain their statements so that they could use them later at trial if necessary.
  • Have an expert recreate the accident scene: You could give your lawyer pictures and videos of the entire accident scene. Your lawyer could have an expert attempt to recreate the accident to demonstrate which driver was negligent and violated the rules of the road.
  • Use your accident report: A lawyer can review your accident report, which could help build your case.

All of this can be used to prove someone was at fault in a roundabout car accident.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Those Seriously Injured in Roundabout Accidents

Driving in roundabouts can be overwhelming for some drivers. On days where traffic is congested and busy, entering a roundabout can be confusing, leading to a collision. If you have been seriously injured in a roundabout accident because of a negligent driver, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can protect your rights. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

st patrick's day car accident

How Can I Stay Safe on the Road This St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that celebrates Ireland and people all over the world with Irish descent. However, it has also become an unofficial drinking day. Besides community parades, folklore and stories, and Irish dance and music performances around the country, St. Patrick’s Day is known for a day of drinking.

Pub crawls and other special events at bars and restaurants are popular activities in many communities on St. Patrick’s Day. Alcohol and cars is a bad combination, but it is likely that people will be driving to those events, and many of them will be drinking while they are there. According to data from WalletHub, about three out of four fatal drunk driving car accidents on St. Patrick’s Day involve a driver who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level that is twice over the legal limit.

Many people were wary of holiday celebrations over the last few years due to the coronavirus pandemic keeping people at home. However, restrictions have lifted and eased, so holiday events may be much more popular this year. It is estimated that over half of Americans plan on celebrating the holiday.

Because of alcohol-related St. Patrick’s Day events, police ramp up street patrols around the holiday, conducting sobriety checkpoints and traffic stops on the road. Breathalyzers may be used at these stops. Depending on the community, police may ask a driver to take a breathalyzer test, or they may conduct a field sobriety test.

Coming up with a game plan for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities is important. Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself on St. Patrick’s Day.

Choose a Designated Driver Before You Head Out

You may be out this St. Patrick’s Day with a large group. If one person volunteers to stay sober for the night and get everyone home, that designated driver is stepping up to protect the lives of others in the group and others on the road.

A good way to thank the designated driver for taking this on is to pay their fare for the night and cover the costs of their non-alcoholic drinks and food.

Have an Alternate Plan

Having an alternate plan is a good idea on a holiday that centers so much around drinking. If the designated driver decides to indulge in a few drinks, do not get a ride home from that person. Call a friend or family member, or you can call a cab or use a rideshare service.

Use a Rideshare Service

Using a rideshare service is another way you can stay safe this St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you plan on drinking. Download the rideshare app on your phone and set up a ride to the event and a ride back.

Use Public Transportation

If you are familiar with the route to get home and pick-up and drop-off areas are close by to the event and your house, take public transit. This is a great way to avoid getting behind the wheel, and it is less expensive than most of the other options.

Communities and local restaurants and bars are aware of the drunk driving incidents and often offer rides for those participating in events. This will provide a ride to and from the event to a central location, which is likely a good spot to catch a ride home.

Plan to Stay Overnight Near the Event

Renting a hotel room nearby may seem like a ridiculous expense, but a crashed car, fines, jail time, and loss of driver’s license are much more expensive. Remember to go with a place within a quick walking distance, as drunk pedestrians are also often involved in accidents.

What If I am the Designated Driver for the Night?

If you are the designated driver this year for St. Patrick’s Day, you should consider the following:

  • No intoxicating substances. A sober person is one who has not consumed any alcohol or drugs, so avoid all intoxicating substances, legal or not. You need a clear mind to get everyone home safely.
  • Watch out for your friends. Staying sober gives you an advantage to help friends who are not. So, if you see a drunk friend trying to get behind the wheel to drive home, take their keys. Also, keep an eye out for friends who leave their drinks unattended. It is easy to put something in someone’s drink if they are not paying attention.
  • Check passengers in your car to make sure they are not bringing alcoholic drinks or drugs home. If you are stopped, this can lead to fines and jail time. Because intoxicated people may not even realize they are holding a drink, it is up to you, the sober person, to act quickly to prevent this.
  • Drive slowly and carefully. Intoxicated people may be crossing the road, jaywalking, riding a bike, or driving a car nearby. All of these activities are hazards, and you can avoid them by driving slowly and being vigilant on the trek home.
  • Take less traveled roads. If at all possible, avoid the main drags where bars and events are and drive on side roads or smaller roads. Where there are less cars, there are fewer chances of coming across drunk drivers.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You After a St. Patrick’s Day Accident

It is critical that you drive safely on St. Patrick’s Day if you plan to attend an event. It is even more important to find a sober ride if you plan to drink. However, you cannot guarantee that other motorists will be responsible on the holiday. If you have been injured in a drunk driving collision, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You if You Have Been Injured in a DST-Related Collision.

Do Car Accidents Increase Following the Start of Daylight Saving Time?

Twice a year, most of the United States has to shift their clocks back or forward one hour to observe daylight saving time (DST). Changing the clocks was initially designed to reduce energy consumption by maximizing daylight hours. This year, the clocks spring forward on March 13.

While the idea of maximizing daylight is appealing, the bi-annual clock changes are unpopular, and many people think the practice is antiquated. The time shift impacts sleep patterns, mood, work and school performance, and even driving.

Research from the University of Colorado, Boulder shows that fatal car accidents increase by nearly six percent in the week following DST in spring. The main reason behind the increase is a disruption in sleep patterns.

With spring forward, everyone loses an hour of sleep. People need six to eight hours of sleep a night, too much or too little can impact performance during the day. Also, it is easy for drowsiness to take over when driving.

Much like drunk drivers, drowsy drivers have a delayed reaction time, and because they may be nodding off, they may not be paying attention to the road. Lack of sleep can lead to agitation, aggression, and poor driving decisions, such as speeding and tailgating. Irritability around the time change also has biological reasons. Circadian rhythms get thrown off, which impacts mood, appetite, and sleep.

People often underestimate the impact sleep deprivation has on the body. It may be just one hour of lost sleep, but DST means that mornings might be darker as well, causing drowsiness.

How Can I Avoid a DST-Related Accident?

To minimize problems on the road following DST, experts recommend taking a week or so to adjust to the time change. A few other tips that might help you avoid a DST-related accident include:

  • Go to bed earlier. Head to bed at least an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier on the days leading up to DST. This will give your body a chance to adjust to the time shift before it happens. It can be easier to introduce the body to the coming clock shift by doing this gradually, in 15-minute increments for four nights beforehand.
  • Avoid alcohol at night. Alcohol disrupts sleep. Do not consume alcohol at the end of the day before bed.
  • Avoid caffeine. Avoid caffeine at least four to six hours before going to bed. Caffeine in your body will impact your ability to fall asleep.
  • Do not eat heavy meals before bed. Avoid heavy meals before going to bed. Digesting a heavy meal could keep you up at night.
  • Avoid exercising before bed. Avoid heavy exercise just before bed. Exercises should not be strenuous, as you want to avoid getting your heart rate up just before you head to sleep.
  • Stick to a routine. Start waking up and going to bed at the same time every night. This may not be possible for many who work in rotating shifts. If you can, go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time.
  • Use light to help you wake. There are alarm clocks that use a light pattern along with noise to help people wake up. Another way to quickly wake up is to go outdoors quickly after that alarm goes off, as the daylight will help you shake off drowsiness. You could walk your dog or take a quick jog. Even a few minutes in the daylight will help you significantly.
  • Maintain a safe following distance. This is two to three car lengths. Many times, people do not follow this rule. If the driver in front of you is nodding off or drifting out of their lane, the distance should increase another two to three car lengths.
  • Slow down. Slow down at crosswalks and intersections, and anticipate that pedestrians may cross mid-block.
  • Car maintenance is critical. Clean and maintain windshields, windows, and mirrors so your vision is clear for the road ahead. Because it is still cold in March, use your dehumidifier then wipers to clear the windshield.
  • Avoid distractions. Checking or sending a text, looking at your phone to dial a call, or finding the right music playlist or podcast are all activities that are ill-advised when the car is moving. Your cellphone will demand your visual focus, even if it is just for a second, so put it down. However, there are plenty of distractions in a car, such as finding the right music, eating, drinking, and having conversations with passengers. Driving is a responsibility. You should make sure you always drive safely, especially following the time change.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You if You Have Been Injured in a DST-Related Collision

Drowsy driving is dangerous, and you might see more fatigued motorists in the week following the start of DST. It is important to make sure you drive safely when the time shift happens, but you cannot guarantee other motorists will do the same. If you become involved in a drowsy driving accident, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Provide Legal Assistance to Those Injured in Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Accidents.

What Are the Primary Causes of Road Rage?

Roadways can be crowded and congested, which can lead to many frustrated drivers. In some cases, aggressive driving and road rage incidents can occur. However, road rage is more than just aggressive driving, it is a violent and intentional act to cause physical harm.

Drivers that tend to exhibit aggressive driving behaviors escalate their actions to the level of road rage for a number of reasons. Often, drivers who have road rage have not learned alternative ways of dealing with their emotions.

Common causes of road rage car accidents include:

  • Heavy traffic: Traffic tests all drivers’ patience.
  • Distracted drivers: It is likely that you have seen a driver on their phone or otherwise distracted. Besides being illegal, distracted driving threatens the safety of everyone on the road, and this is enough to cause a road rage incident.
  • Running behind schedule: The desperate feeling of being late to a meeting or appointment can cause road rage.
  • General disregard for the law: Drivers who think the rules do not apply to them and routinely practice aggressive driving tactics can easily become enraged.

Some drivers feel protected by the anonymity of being in a car sealed off from others around them. A driver can threaten others with their aggressive behavior and feel confident that they will not be confronted or held accountable for their actions.

What Are the Signs of Road Rage?

A driver that is experiencing road rage may exhibit these aggressive driving behaviors:

  • Tailgating or following a driver that offended them.
  • Honking, yelling, and gesturing.
  • Flashing headlights.
  • Blocking traffic lanes or purposely cutting other drivers off.
  • Speeding through traffic.
  • Weaving in and out of lanes without signaling.
  • Driving over shoulders, sidewalks, or medians.
  • Intentionally ramming another car.
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver.

Road rage can be triggered by the irresponsible behavior of other drivers and other factors out of their control. Usually, someone who is prone to road rage is already very impatient, stressed, or aggravated and may exhibit violent behaviors in other areas of their life.

How Can Road Rage Be Prevented?

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent road rage:

  • Get a lot of rest. Insufficient sleep contributes to stress and makes it harder to stay in control. Everyone should make sure they are getting enough rest each night.
  • Allow extra travel time. Leaving early means a little extra traffic will not derail the day. All drivers should make it a routine to leave earlier than usual, especially in the morning.
  • Take a deep breath and count to 10. In heavy traffic, drivers can use this method to give themselves more time to calm down. They should focus on their breathing and not whatever is aggravating them.
  • Play calming music. Music can be calm and uplifting. Music may help drivers stay positive, despite traffic.
  • Start with the right attitude. Driving is not a game where someone wins. Driving safely is a top priority.
  • Be a courteous driver. Drivers should always use their turn signals, merge with plenty of room, move out of the left lane to let other drivers pass, and they should not tailgate.
  • Do not make rude gestures. All drivers should refrain from gesturing and honking, as this could escalate a situation and lead to a road rage incident.

What Should I Do if an Angry Driver Confronts Me?

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that aggressive driving behaviors are involved in 56 percent of all fatal crashes. Over a seven-year period, road rage incidents caused 12,610 injuries and at least 218 deaths. Being the target of an angry aggressive driver can be traumatic and even life threatening, so it is important to know what to do if it happens to you:

  • Do not engage with the other driver. Do not engage with them, stay cool, and resist the urge to retaliate with gestures, yelling, flashing headlights, or honking. Do not stare them down as well, in fact, it may be best to avoid eye contact altogether.
  • Stay away from the angry driver. Stay clear of an angry driver by giving them plenty of room. If you can, let them pass so that they are in front of you where they can do less damage. Then, put as much distance as possible between your car and theirs. Under no circumstances should you pull over and get out of the car to confront them.
  • Call for help. If the other driver escalates the situation by trying to follow or confront you, call for help. If you have a cellphone, call the police, and if you do not, then drive to a busy place where you can get help, such as a shopping center, police station, or hospital. Honk your horn to get someone’s attention for help, but do not leave your car. Never drive to your house.
  • Remember their information. Try to remember as much information about their vehicle as possible, such as the make and model and license plate number. Identifying marks such as dents or scratches from previous accidents can also be helpful.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Provide Legal Assistance to Those Injured in Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Accidents

If you have been injured in an aggressive driving or road rage incident, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you explore your options. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Those Injured in Nighttime Collisions.

Can Smart Headlights Prevent Car Accidents?

Smart headlights have been available for years in other countries and are finally on their way to the United States. The technology is much more sophisticated than the standard headlights currently in use, and they should improve safety and reduce car accidents.

Smart headlights are also known as adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlights. The technology is a huge improvement over the standard systems in most American cars. ADB systems essentially employ full illumination that is modified via cameras and sensors that adapt the shape, brightness, and direction of the light depending on the driving conditions. There are different types of ADB headlights. Some work by shuttering parts of the headlight similar to using an umbrella to block sunlight. Others employ a matrix of many LEDs that turn on and off when needed.

Currently drivers only have a choice between high-beams, which can blind other drivers if left on errantly, or low-beams, which may not be enough to handle inclement weather and fog. The most advanced system available in the U.S. is automatic high-beams, and they are not always reliable. In contrast, adaptive headlights are able to read the road and provide light where it is needed most. ADB headlights also keep extra glare from shining into the eyes of drivers in the opposite lane.

Another feature of ADB technology is the ability of the light to move in the same direction that the car is traveling. If the car turns or rounds a curve, the headlights direct the light around the curve, whereas with a traditional headlight, the light would stay pointed straight ahead, illuminating the side of the road.

The technology incorporated into German carmaker Audi’s headlights creates a carpet of light on the highway that shows the way ahead and widens as the car changes lanes and then narrows when the car has completed the lane change. This can help drivers stay in their lane and anticipate bends in the road.

Another smart headlight system developed by the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University can track the motion of raindrops and snowflakes and then direct the light beams between them using a computer algorithm to predict their position over just a few milliseconds. This both improves visibility for the driver and prevents the glare created by the reflection of headlight beams by precipitation.

How Can Smart Headlights Help Prevent Accidents?

According to a study done by the American Automobile Association (AAA), smart headlights are safer for nighttime driving because they illuminate more of the road without blinding other drivers as driving with high-beams on would. The study found that ADB headlights are as much as 86 percent better at providing consistent illumination in the presence of oncoming traffic.

Nighttime driving is riskier than driving during the day. Research by the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that the rate of nighttime crashes is three times that of crashes that occur during daylight hours. In dim light, it is also hardest to avoid collisions with animals, pedestrians, bicyclists, and roadside objects. The AAA study predicted that ADB headlights could reduce crashes with wildlife by 18,000, at a savings of $500 million annually. Pedestrian accidents could be reduced by six percent. Consumer Reports says that the additional illumination of 250 feet provided by ADB headlights could be the difference between being able to react in time and hitting an obstacle.

Who Is Already Using Smart Headlight Technology?

First introduced by three major automakers in Germany, smart headlight technology has been available in Europe and Asia for over a decade and is also already in use in Canada. General Motors produces cars for China that are equipped with ADB technology capable of producing 34 different beam patterns.

Implementation of smart headlight technology in the United States was delayed for many years simply because of an antiquated rule from 1967 that stated all cars must have two kinds of headlight beams: high and low. Since ADB technology does not meet this specification, it has been banned until now.

Many foreign cars have ADB headlights, but they are deactivated when imported into the United States. After the new law goes into effect, the smart headlights can be easily reactivated through a software update. The change has been supported by many safety advocates and automakers, like Audi, Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

When Americans finally do get the chance to buy a car with smart headlights, there will be a significant cost. Currently, ADB compatible headlights can cost between $3,400 and $6,600 more than regular headlights.

Improving Safety Is an Ongoing Effort

The provision in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act regarding smart headlights says that ADB headlights must be approved for use in the United States within two years. Experts say this is a chance for America to catch up with safety standards in the rest of the world. However, safety advocates such as Consumer Reports are hoping the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require manufacturers to follow up with data on the new technology’s performance here and consumer experiences. Such data is extremely valuable in strengthening and fine-tuning safety standards to increase protection for everyone using the road, including pedestrians and cyclists.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Those Injured in Nighttime Collisions

Smart headlights are expected to increase safety and reduce nighttime accidents. At night, you should always be extra cautious while driving. If you have been involved in a nighttime accident, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you explore your legal options. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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