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Storeowners in malls and shopping establishments throughout the country eagerly await the onslaught of shoppers that converge each holiday season. Shoppers buy thoughtful gifts and hunt for seasonal deals, but they do not always fully consider the safety of this activity. While stores are generally considered safe, shoppers can sometimes forget that danger may be lurking just outside the doors.
Shoppers are often warned to stay alert for danger in parking lots as they return to their cars with their newly purchased merchandise. The lure of expensive gifts can make you a target for thieves. With hands full of bags, fingers fumbling for keys, and eyes distracted from your surroundings, you could become the victim of a sinister attack. The advice to be alert and cautious is certainly warranted, however, thieves and attackers are not the only dangers to avoid in parking lots and garages.
Busy holiday-season parking lots, with their tight parking spaces, congested aisles, and abundance of pedestrians, can present a host of possible headaches. The following are some tips to avoid potential parking lot pitfalls:
Obey traffic rules: Just because you are not driving on the street does not mean you should flout traffic rules. Use your turn signal when turning and use your headlights to remain visible after dark. Also, do not drive across the lot, cutting through open parking spaces; use the aisles as intended so other drivers and pedestrians can predict traffic patterns.
Pick a good spot: Instead of aiming for the parking spot closest to the building, consider factors besides the shortest walk. A spot farther back might help you prevent shopping cart dings or give you more space to get in and out of the car, but no matter the proximity to the door, your chosen parking spot should be safe. The main objective of a parking spot search should be to ensure that when you return, you can easily find your car in a well-lit spot.
Back into your spot: If you back into your parking spot, you will have an easier time leaving when it is dark and the lot is more densely packed with people and cars.
Pedestrian dangers: While walking to and from your car, watch for other cars backing out of spots. Just as you should stick to the appropriate car path while driving, you should make sure to use crosswalks as a pedestrian, making your intentions predictable for those around you.
Slip and falls: Be conscious of your footing while walking on un-leveled ground or slick walkways. Walk in lighted areas and stay alert for objects in your path.
If you were injured in a car accident or other incident in a parking lot, you should contact a Delaware personal injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.
For most families, trick or treating means costume hunting, high anticipation of the neighborhood walkaround, and a load of candy to devour at the end of the night. Yet, like all holidays, Halloween offers unique concerns that cause parents to worry. On the bright side, Halloween safety issues can be mitigated often by a little forethought. A bit of preparation can pay off by ensuring that the only thing spooky about the night is the faux stuffed ghoul sitting on the porch swing, instead of potential accidents.
When children imagine their perfect Halloween outfits, they might not consider how risky some accessories can be. Plastic swords and daggers, as well as masks that obstruct vision, can lead to bumps, falls, and other physical injuries. Every costume should be evaluated for its safety value. It should also be warm enough if trick or treating will be in cold temperatures, as well as protective against rain and wind.
Halloween is not the night to get too adventurous and head into an unknown neighborhood. Children and parents should stick to areas they know well. Ideally, the streets will be well-lit and lots of homes will participate in handing out candy and goodies. The more involved homeowners are, the more likely they can make sure children who visit them are safe and have fun.
Trick or treating takes place during the evening hours. Everyone should try to wear reflective gear in the form of footwear, a hat, or a vest. This allows passing motorists to see trick-or-treaters in time to put on the brakes. Children may dart across streets out of excitement. Being outfitted in reflective items gives them an added measure of security and protection.
At least one responsible adult should supervise a group of children. That way, if something does go wrong, the adult can take the lead immediately. Even young teens should have a parent tag along, just in case.
It can be tough for a child to make good decisions about candy, so parents need to take the lead and examine all treats before allowing their children to eat them. Any goodies with opened wrappers must be discarded. This lowers the risk of youngsters taking in tampered food items or food that has gone bad.
Flames can destroy more than the inside of a pumpkin; they can also cause fires to costumes, trick-or-treat bags, and personal property. If children are visiting a house with a carved pumpkin that has a real candle, parents need to make sure they stay away from the decoration. Otherwise, they could get in harm’s way.
Every parent wants Halloween to be filled with fun. However, if your trick or treating goes awry and someone gets hurt, you may want to talk with a Delaware personal injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow right away. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state, including the areas of Seaford and Elsmere.
Another school year is upon us as parents check off their child’s school supply list, rush out for back to school clothing sales, and say farewell to the long days of summer. We often forget that the most important part of preparing for back to school season is safety. School days, especially in the beginning of the year, bring a lot of congestion to the road with school buses, children on bicycles, and parents dropping off their children at school. The Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow wish everyone a smooth transition back to school. The following safety tips can help protect children from potential bus or pedestrian accidents.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 18 school-age children are fatally injured in school transportation-related crashes each year. On average, six of those are directly related to bus accidents. The other 12 are pedestrian accidents caused by school transportation vehicles or other vehicles involved in school bus-related crashes.
Whenever you are behind the wheel, be mindful that the road is being shared with young pedestrians. Consider the following safety tips:
If your child is traveling to school on their own, walk them through the process before the first day back and remind them of the following safety tips:
Please contact our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow in the event you or your child has been injured on the way to school. The safety and well-being of your child is our main priority and we will not stop working until the responsible parties are held accountable. For a free consultation, call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. From our offices in Wilmingon, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state of Delaware.
A Message From the President of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association, Stephen T. Morrow, Esq
Recently, both locally and throughout the nation, there has been much discussion about self-driving cars (also known as autonomous vehicles). On March 11, 2018, The News Journal published an article titled “Delaware works to be on cutting edge of self-driving cars; shuttles at UD are next” and more recently, on April 11, 2018, it published an article titled “AAA survey: Delaware drivers still concerned about the safety of self-driving vehicles.” Proponents of this technology emphasize that self-driving cars are safer than human-driven cars because, by taking human error out of the driving equation, fewer accidents and deaths will occur on our roads.
Unfortunately, on March 18, 2018, Elaine Herzberg, was walking her bicycle across a street outside of a crosswalk on a four-lane road in Tempe, Arizona when she was struck by an Uber-operated Volvo XC90 SUV engaged in automated driving. Video of the crash, released by the Tempe Police Department, shows Ms. Herzberg in the middle of the street when she was struck, not jumping from the bushes as some initially claimed. At the time Ms. Herzberg was struck, there was a safety driver in the vehicle, but initial reports suggest that neither the vehicle nor the safety driver braked before striking and killing her.
This unfortunate and unnecessary death only highlights what we all must remember: automated driving is a for-profit service, not a safety technology. Companies are racing to put a product onto our roads to provide mobility services for the lowest possible cost. Citizens should not be deceived into believing that this self-driving vehicle technology will operate flawlessly, as this crash proves otherwise.
Lawmakers should remain skeptical that this self-driving technology will deliver the safety and efficiency benefits that are being promised by Uber, Waymo (Google’s self-driving car project) and other companies developing self-driving vehicles. While it is still true that this technology could provide significant safety benefits in the long term, such gains may never be achieved if a lax regulatory environment and tools like forced arbitration permit the most dangerous technologies to succeed.
In the race to make autonomous vehicles a reality, victims, like Ms. Herzberg, should not be forgotten. The Delaware Trial Lawyers Association will continue to work with interested parties to ensure that the citizens of Delaware have a voice when discussing the impact of this self-driving technology.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by negligence, the Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will help you find the answers you need to hold the responsible party accountable. To schedule a free consultation, call our Wilmington office at 302-427-0099, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705, or you can contact us online.
A fatal Uber crash has raised questions regarding liability in the unsettled area of law regarding self-driving vehicles. Although there have been several other accidents involving Tesla cars in autopilot mode, this may be the first fatal pedestrian accident involving self-driving vehicle. Some experts are pointing to an inadequate light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system that failed to detect the woman.
A 49-year old woman was struck and killed by an Uber self-driving SUV in Tempe, Arizona as she tried to cross the street with her bicycle at night. The Tempe Police Department released the dashboard video from the crash which shows footage of both the outside and inside of the vehicle. The street was dark, and it appears that the woman became visible only after it was too late for the emergency driver to stop the vehicle. Footage from inside the SUV shows the driver looking down before the crash and then becoming startled when she notices the pedestrian.
Reports indicate that the self-driving system did not “see” the pedestrian either, as it too failed to brake and avoid the collision. An engineering professor at the University of Michigan who works on Ford Motor Co. autonomous vehicles believes the algorithm may have failed to distinguish the woman from vehicles or objects on the road. Because autonomous vehicles rely on radar (which functions optimally in dark conditions), the darkness was unlikely to have played a role in the crash. Rather, the accident is more likely attributable to classification software that did not recognize it was a pedestrian in the road or an inadequate number of LIDAR sensors that caused there to be a blind spot.
Self-driving technology is a fairly new development in the automotive industry. As such, the law pertaining to it is sparse and unclear, making it difficult to predict who will be held responsible. Municipal, state and national governments may now be faced with establishing clearer laws and policies regarding self-driving cars and liability.
Other countries are taking steps to establish such laws and policies. The government in Germany rolled out ethics guidelines for autonomous cars and the U.K. is conducting a three-year review of self-driving technology before allowing it on the roads. Part of the U.K. study involves an examination of cyber security and the potential for technological terrorism. According to a recent survey of 1,000 licensed drivers, 45 percent of U.S. drivers view protection against unauthorized access as a main concern regarding self-driving technology, second only to having a permanent option for drivers to assume control of the vehicle.
For now, Uber has halted testing of its self-driving vehicles and other car companies such as Toyota have followed suit. The city of Boston has also requested that self-driving technology companies, nuTonomy and Optimus Ride, temporarily stop testing in the city. It is likely that lawsuits will be filed in the Uber pedestrian accident case, but it remains to be seen who would ultimately be held liable.
If you were injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Wilmington car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We represent clients throughout Delaware from our offices in Wilmington, Bear and Milford. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.
A fatal pedestrian accident occurred in New Castle, Delaware on Thursday morning. While attempting to cross Pulaski Highway near Wilton Boulevard, the pedestrian was fatally struck by a vehicle around 5:35 am. The victim succumbed to fatal injuries at the scene of the fatal pedestrian accident.
In Delaware, fatal pedestrian accidents have been increasing with alarming frequency. Due to population growth in formerly rural areas, congestion on local roads and state highways appears more often and may lead to traffic accidents that result in a variety of personal injuries as well as potential fatalities for victims. Unfortunately, motorists may be unaware of the presence of pedestrians or may fail to use caution when driving in their vicinity.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our New Castle personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-407-0827 or contact us online to see how we can assist you. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Lewes, Georgetown, and Seaford as well as those in the communities of New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.
Intersections are points of conflict in any urban design plan. Because people in cars, on foot and on bikes are all coming together and going in different directions at intersections, wrecks are more likely to occur. Some intersections are more dangerous than others. There are specific engineering-based strategies for improving the safety of these conflict points. Some of these strategies include geometric design and the application of traffic control devices (cones, lights, etc.) According to many local businesses in the area, the intersection located at Savanna and Wescoats Roads is unreasonably dangerous. The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has proposed to make changes that it hopes will improve safety.
DelDOT plans to realign Old Orchard Road, so that it meets the existing intersection at Savannah and Wescoats. This, DelDOT hopes, will prevent the problem caused by having multiple intersections on the Savannah Road corridor. In addition, to improve safety, DelDOT plans to add sidewalks, turning lanes, and bike lanes.
The project is in a preliminary stage. DelDOT recently held a public workshop to discuss the proposed changes, and will go back and reevaluate the design after taking public comment into consideration. Formal public comment has also been taken, and it will make a decision after considering all input.
At the intersection of Savannah and Old Orchard Road alone, there were 24 accidents in the ten years between 2007 and 2017. There were an additional 37 accidents at Savannah and Wescoats during that time, according to DelDOT.
Local businesses have reported hearing excessive honking and people slamming on their brakes. Employees local to the area have reported having trouble getting in and out of work, often having to drive around the intersection because it is too busy and dangerous.
The project is slated to cost approximately $4 million, funded by the state treasury. Many are optimistic that it will save costs long term, by making the area safer and reducing the number of accidents.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, intersection safety is a national, state, and local priority. Every year, there are 2.5 million intersection accidents nationwide, most of which involve cars turning left.
To stay safe while driving through intersections, make sure to keep vigilant. Never look at your cell phone or attempt to text and drive. If you see a pedestrian, yield to them, even if they are not in a crosswalk. When you are making a left turn on a green light, look twice—a pedestrian might be there, and you are not expecting to see them because you are focused on looking for other cars. Never try to race through a yellow light unless you are fully confident that it is safer to go through it than it would be to stop. Look for people who might run a red light—just because you have a green light does not necessarily mean that you are safe going through the intersection.
If you have been injured by a distracted, intoxicated, or negligent driver, you deserve answers. The experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow fight tirelessly to hold negligent drivers responsible for their actions. To discuss your case, call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. With offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, we represent injured victims and their families throughout the region.
Statement Regarding Coronavirus Disease ("Covid-19"):
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The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus changes daily. During this uncertain time, we can assure you that the team at Rhoades & Morrow continues to focus on helping our current clients as well as assisting new clients.
We know that legal questions still arise, and we are here to answer your questions and provide the trusted guidance that you have come to expect from us over the years. To ensure the health and safety of our staff and our clients, we are conducting virtual consultations via Zoom and by telephone. We also have the ability to exchange documents via secure e-mail.
We look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe and healthy.