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Londonderry Law Blog

Distracted driving continues to pose a danger

Most New Hampshire drivers know that using the phone or texting while behind the wheel is dangerous. Many severe car accidents and even fatalities have been linked to distracted driving, and widespread public awareness campaigns have drawn attention to the issue. In many states and municipalities, law enforcement agencies have stepped up ticketing and penalties for drivers found texting. However, large numbers of Americans continue to use their smartphones while driving, even when they know it is dangerous behavior. According to Liberty Mutual Insurance's Multi-National Distracted Driving Study, people across all age groups commonly use their smartphones behind the wheel even while regarding themselves as safe drivers.

Almost all respondents, 98%, said that they considered themselves to be safe drivers. At the same time, 67% of American drivers said that they had used their smartphones to text, check email, surf the internet or use apps while driving. A full 47% said that they regularly engaged in these types of distracted driving behaviors, and 38% said that they regularly engaged in speeding. Researchers said that drivers in a hurry or running late were some of the biggest concerns they found in the results. These drivers were more likely to speed and engage in distracted behaviors, both posing a risk.

Subaru Crosstrek tops Insurify list of most crash-prone cars

Of all the newer vehicles driving around New Hampshire and across the U.S., the Subaru Crosstrek is the most accident-prone. Insurify, the auto insurance comparison site, has come out with a list of 10 vehicles that are involved in the most accidents, and a report states that accidents have affected 25.81% of all Crosstrek models on the road. At 25.7%, the Honda HR-V was a close second.

Interestingly, the 2019 Crosstrek achieved the highest safety rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. This is reflected in the fact that the majority of accidents end in minor injuries for drivers and passengers of the Crosstrek. The vehicle's affordable price and great fuel economy are other positives.

Knowing what distractions to avoid on the road

Drivers, especially teen drivers, in New Hampshire may benefit from the following tips on avoiding distractions behind the wheel. Taking one's eyes from the road for even two seconds can double the risk of a car crash. To know how to prevent distractions, it's important to understand the common causes.

These include phone use, including hands-free devices; eating and drinking; and even holding conversations with multiple people in the car. Drivers should not hesitate to pull over if they absolutely must make a call or send a text. Otherwise, the phone should be on "do not disturb."

Teens: A danger on the roads

Car crashes are common at any time of the year, but with kids out of school for the summer, their inexperience can lead to a greater number of collisions on the roads.

Teens simply do not have the same experience as older drivers. They have less experience behind the wheel and may have fewer opportunities to witness dangerous or hazardous situations. That means that they won't always recognize when they need to slow down or pay close attention to the roads.

Women more likely to suffer serious injuries in car crashes

Drivers in New Hampshire may be surprised to hear that women are more likely than men are to incur serious injuries in an auto accident: 73% more likely, in fact, according to a report from City Lab. The trend was detected as far back as 2011 and continues unabated.

At first, experts claimed that seat belt designs were to blame, saying women's short statures, their seating postures and other factors have kept the standard restraining device from providing full protection to women. But this is not the only factor. A more recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia, has found that crash tests are coming up with incomplete data. Female crash dummies, if used at all, do not accurately reflect differences in women's physiology and anatomy.

Nation's most dangerous cities for drivers found on both coasts

Motorists in New Hampshire and across the U.S. can't always steer clear of drivers who make the roads less safe. However, it's important for drivers to understand that some cities and roadways are more dangerous than others. According to a report issued by a leading auto insurance company, some of the nation's worst drivers are found on the east and west coasts. The report ranks 200 metropolitan areas based on the frequency of collisions.

While bad drivers can be found anywhere, the report shows that East Coast cities are more auto accident-prone than other destinations, possibly because of outdated infrastructures. However, six of the worst offenders are metro areas in California. New York City, a place notoriously famous for drivers with attitude, has actually become safer for motorists in recent years.

Summer heat can lead to surprising injuries

One condition that is sometimes misdiagnosed is heat stroke. While it should be fairly obvious, the early signs are similar to anxiety attacks, heart attacks and other illnesses that may or may not need immediate care.

When someone is in a hot environment for a period of time, they begin to sweat. When the body can't cool itself fast enough or becomes dehydrated, it heats up. This can lead to heat stroke. It's particularly common for workers in hot environments in the summer months, and it's something to watch out for.

IIHS: cars with ADAS not self-driving, but many think otherwise

Advanced driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking can help prevent accidents in New Hampshire and across the U.S. The only problem is that many do not understand their limitations. ADAS are meant to assist drivers, not replace them; they do not make a car self-driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted a survey to find out just how widespread the confusion is.

More than 2,000 drivers participated in the survey. To begin with, most did not know that there are five levels of automation. At level five, a car drives itself under any circumstances. Most ADAS put a car at level two, the level at which drivers are still expected to be alert and actively engaged in driving.

Should you consider divorce mediation?

When facing a messy divorce, you may assume that litigation is the only way to work through the finer details of your case. While this may be necessary at some point, you shouldn't overlook the benefits of mediation.

With divorce mediation, you and your soon to be ex-spouse are able to take control of the process from start to finish. Since there is no family law judge, it's your responsibility to negotiate and compromise on your way to settling every disagreement.

The concept of negligence in auto accident cases

Vehicle accidents are usually caused by the negligence of one or multiple parties involved. New Hampshire residents who have been in an accident may be wondering if they are eligible for compensation. However, this depends on who was negligent and to what degree. All drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care. When they fail in this, they are negligent. When negligence directly leads to injuries or other losses, victims may file a claim.

Negligence is easy to determine in some cases. Breaking traffic laws as well as following too closely behind other vehicles can be classified as negligence. Speeding is always negligent too. There are times, though, when a driver needs to lower their speed below the posted limit. This may be necessary in times of inclement weather or when visibility and traction are being undermined.

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