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Londonderry Law Blog

Preventing the most common types of crashes

While not all accidents can be prevented, there are things that drivers in New Hampshire can do to attempt to avoid them. Keeping their attention on the road can help drivers prevent many of the four main types of crashes.

Rear-end crashes are some of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents, often happening during busy traffic hours and usually the result of driving too fast or aggressively or following too closely. Drivers can prevent this type of accident by leaving enough space to avoid crashing into the car ahead of them during sudden stops or by letting a driver who is following too closely or driving too aggressively pass them.

You could have a solid slip-and-fall case

Winter is here, and that means ice and snow abound. New Hampshire is not the warmest state, and most people are familiar with the steps they need to take to stay safe when it's icy and snowy outside.

Unfortunately, there are still times when people don't take their responsibilities seriously and leave ice on sidewalks or in entryways. As a result, others may get hurt and be able to file a slip-and-fall case.

Study finds drivers using hands-free phones still distracted

New Hampshire drivers who use hands-free devices may not be as safe on the road as they think they are. The company Lytx, which works in the area of video telemetrics and analysis, released data on the commercial and public sector fleets that it works with. The data covered more than 100 billion miles of driving and 100,000 of what the company identified as "risky driving events." Lytx found that talking on the phone hands-free was somewhat distracting, but many drivers significantly compounded that distraction by engaging in other activities, including using other devices, smoking or eating.

Distraction is the second leading cause of fatal accidents in which commercial drivers are at fault, and distracted driving kills nine or more people daily on the nation's roads. Lytx reported that hands-free cellphone use is on the increase, which is positive, but many drivers do other activities at the same time that make the risk of an accident higher. The company found that cellphone usage was the most common at 65 mph, possibly because this is the upper speed limit in many trucks, and drivers would set their cruise control at this speed.

Study finds safety options risky for New Hampshire drivers

In the near future, automated vehicles offer the promise of near-perfect safety and freedom from concerns about drunk, negligent, distracted or drowsy drivers. Small steps are being taken to arrive at that destination, including early implementation of safety systems, which use the sensors and computerized controls being developed for driverless cars. Research published by AAA has found that these safety systems operate correctly, but they actually make New Hampshire roads less safe.

The study authors scrutinized two systems to determine their effectiveness at preventing motor vehicle accidents. Both lane-assist and adaptive cruise control rely on sensors and computer control of the steering column, brakes, and accelerator. Both systems were correlated with an increased number of car accidents and incidences of distracted driving. Authors even noticed that drivers with experience using the systems were more likely to be distracted and have accidents.

Avoiding a jackknifing incident

Many of the big rig accidents that occur in New Hampshire involve jackknifing. There are two types of jackknifing. In a trailer jackknife, the trailer wheels lose traction, usually during hard braking. In a tractor jackknife, the tractor wheels lose traction during sudden acceleration. To avoid causing a catastrophic accident, truckers should know how to avoid such incidents.

Truckers should first of all check their rearview mirrors for any trailer swing. This will happen more often when truckers are hauling a light load, the reason being that light loads give you less friction on the road. Light loads are also dangerous in that they make it easier to "overbrake." This is because the brakes are made for fully loaded trucks.

The 5 most common causes of truck crashes

As New Hampshire motorists can imagine, truck accidents often result in catastrophic and fatal injuries when passenger vehicles are also involved. There are five common ways that these accidents arise. This is important to know for those who want to determine the responsible parties in a particular accident.

First is driver error; this includes speeding, drowsy driving and drunk or drugged driving. Truckers can engage in these behaviors just as well as passenger vehicle drivers, but the latter are to blame for the majority of truck crashes caused by driver error (81%, according to some studies). The No. 2 common cause is bad weather. Truckers, through their own fault, may brake improperly on a wet, icy or snowy road and cause their rigs to skid, hydroplane or jackknife.

Repetitive motion injuries and the potential for career changes

When you know how to do something and get good at it, you can experience the psychological phenomenon known as flow. Flow occurs when you feel so immersed in the task at hand that you don't notice the passage of time or much of what happens around you. During flow, people often experience intense productivity and creativity. They may not even notice the aches and pains that come from performing the same work every day.

Unfortunately, the longer you have been at your job, the more likely you are to wind up hurt from the work that you do. Even if the job itself is not inherently dangerous, using your body to repeatedly perform the same task day after day causes damage to muscles and connective tissue. These kinds of injuries that accrue over time are repetitive motion injuries, and they can happen to all kinds of workers.

Winter driving in New Hampshire: how to stay safe

The winters in New Hampshire can put drivers and other road users at risk with the roads becoming wet, icy and snowy, but one of the reasons why there are so many accidents in winter is that drivers don't put safety first. Instead, they will speed, tailgate or make sharp maneuvers. The following are just a few tips for staying safe on winter roads.

Drivers must learn to lower their speed when the roads are icy or snowy. They must then keep their distance from cars; if they can count up to five or six between the time the car in front passes an object and the time they themselves pass it, they should be fine. All braking and accelerating should be gentle and gradual.

Two years of improvement in traffic fatality figures

Drivers in New Hampshire may be pleased to learn that 2018 marks the second year where traffic fatalities have dropped. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the 2.4% drop in fatalities is due in part to advancements in modern automobile safety features.

The behavior of drivers may also play a role. Alcohol impaired fatalities dropped by 3.6% in 2018. Additionally, there was a 5.7% drop in fatalities connected to speeding. Motorcycle fatalities fell by 4.7%.

Distracted driving is tough to stop

Distracted driving is common in New Hampshire and across the nation. One report showed that almost 8 in 10 consumers talk on the phone while behind the wheel. Around 30% have almost been in serious accidents because they were driving while distracted.

These figures come from a survey that included more than 2,000 consumers and executives. The survey's purpose was to gather information about distracted driving and the reasons why people get distracted. The most common distractions included emailing or texting. Social media, taking pictures, recording videos and shopping online were also common distractions.

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