Responsibilities of Driving a Car
What Is a Car?
Hello, I’m attorney John Bales and today I’d like to give you some legal insight into…the car you drive. If you’re lucky, you’re one of those drivers who love the car or truck you drive. Some drivers love to show off their car, the fancy bells and whistles they have, and some brag about how much they paid for the latest and greatest model. No question, owning a car can be a source of pride. But sometimes, we get so carried away by the cost and the looks of our vehicles, we forget about the tremendous responsibility driving a car really is, that it’s a privilege and not a right.
Some people take for granted being able to drive, until they get in an accident. When you’re driving, you should be aware of how many people you’re responsible for. Not only your passengers and loved ones, but also everyone on the road around you, other drivers, pedestrians, kids playing or road crews working. If you are in an accident, your vehicle will get fixed or replaced. The value of the damage is easy to calculate. That’s what insurance adjusters do. In fact, there is a manual and well-established pricing guideline for that. But when people are injured in an accident, there is no manual; nothing is cut and dried.
Figuring costs of treatment for injuries can be complicated and not something you want an adjuster to decide. You must identify the long-term impact any injuries will have on the victim. Will he or she have to miss work for any length of time? Will the injuries impact the victim’s lifestyle? These questions cannot be answered by an insurance adjuster. If your car is damaged, you see a mechanic. If you’re in an accident, you see an attorney.
First, though here are some things you should do: call the police and get an accident report. Take pictures of all the vehicles involved. Get contact and insurance information from the other driver and the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Call an attorney while the accident is still fresh in your mind. Remember, damages to vehicles are easy to calculate. The impact of injuries on a person’s life is not. If you have any legal topic you’d like me to address here, please call me at 1-800-Call John, or visit John Bales dot com and click on Legal Insight.
Hello, I’m attorney John Bales. Today, I’d like to give you some Legal Insight into…careless drivers. I have represented thousands of auto accident victims, and in most of those cases, the driver who hit my client’s car or truck was careless in one way or another.
Do you see a lot of drivers tailgating? According to the Florida Highway Patrol, tailgating is one of the most common problems among drivers in our state. It’s a bad habit. Some drivers are so impatient, they think that by tailgating, the driver in front of them is going to change lanes or speed up. Yes, sometimes drivers in the left-hand or high-speed lane are going slowly, but that doesn’t justify tailgating.
Following too closely is not only dangerous, it’s against the law in Florida. Statute 316 does not specify exactly how far behind a vehicle your car needs to be. Instead, the Highway Patrol recommends that drivers use a formula to help determine what a safe following distance is.
This formula is called “the two-second rule.” Here’s how it works: watch the vehicle ahead of you pass some fixed point, such as an overpass, a sign by the road, or other marker. Count off the seconds it takes you to reach the same spot on the road, by saying to yourself “one-thousand and one, one-thousand and two”. If you reach the marker before you finish counting, you are following too closely. Slow down and check your following distance again. Of course, having more than two-seconds between you and the car in front of you is even better.
The two-second rule applies when the weather and road conditions are good. If conditions are not good, double your following distance.
The Highway Patrol says another problem is that many drivers fail to use turn signals. Florida law requires turn signals be on not less than 100 feet before turning. The law also requires a turn signal when changing lanes “in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.”
And a third common problem is drivers who do not put their headlights on when it’s raining. Did you know that is also state law? Your headlights are required to be on during any rain, fog, or smoke conditions.
Remember you do have rights. If you or a loved one are a victim of a careless driver, or have a topic you’d like discussed here, call me at 1-800-CALL-JOHN, or go to our website, JohnBales-dot-com and click on Legal Insight.