Second Lawsuit Filed Over Fatal FedEx Collision

A second lawsuit has been filed over a fatal collision in Wyoming involving a FedEx tractor-trailer. The lawsuit was filed by the sister of the driver of the car which was hit when a tire on the FedEx trailer failed. The man driving the car, his significant other, and her son all died of injuries from the collision. The first lawsuit was filed by the daughter of the driver’s significant other. The newest lawsuit, filed by the driver’s sister, contends that FedEx was to blame, as it should have monitored the truck’s tires. The lawsuit names as defendants FedEx Ground Package Systems, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and its various subsidiaries, and a company called CLR Transportation.

Why can’t I make a U-turn on the Interstate turnarounds?

We all see it happen.  There’s a big traffic jam on the interstate and drivers are sick of waiting.  Or, someone from out-of-town is unfamiliar with the area and has just missed their exit.  So they find the nearest cut through on the interstate and try to pull a U-turn.  So what’s the big problem?

Well for one, those turnarounds are for emergency and authorized personnel only.  The average driver is not allowed to use these turnarounds for private use.  And there are good reasons for that.

 A car traveling at 70 MPH is moving at 102.67 feet per second.  That’s really fast!  Now imagine trying to accelerate up to that speed from a stop.  That’s going to take a few seconds to do even in the highest performing vehicles.  If you look at your average On and Off ramps from the interstate, you will notice one common theme.  All these ramps are long.  They are designed to allow you to accelerate and decelerate from 70 mph at a safe and reasonable speed.  The turnarounds on the interstate are short.  They are not designed to allow people to merge into traffic moving at 70 mph.  This makes it inherently dangerous for you to attempt to use a turnaround to make a u-turn.  You do not have the necessary amount of road to get up to speed with traffic.  In contrast, if a police car is attempting to use this turnaround, it can turn on its sirens to alert people that it is attempting to turn around for emergency purposes and force them to yield.  The average driver does not have that luxury.

 Also, these turnarounds are not as well maintained as the average road.  They are often bumpy and deteriorating because they are rarely used and not maintained at the same level as the main roads.  So even if traffic is light and you are confident you can merge with traffic, you are still risking damage to your car due to unpredictable terrain on these turnarounds.

 Using these turnarounds can cause severe damage to your vehicle and to you and the passengers inside.  These turnarounds are intended for emergency vehicles, not the common driver.  Most states will ticket individuals who use these turnarounds to make illegal u-turns.  The better choice is to turn around at the next available off ramp or just ride out that traffic jam you are stuck in.  It’s a better option than risking life and limb.  Stay safe on the roads.

Winter Weather Driving

This February weather has been one for the record books in Alabama.  We have seen our fair share of snow, ice, sleet, and frigid cold temperatures.  Here are some basic driving tips for driving on these winter conditions:

 1.      GO SLOW! – You cannot pretend that you are driving in normal conditions.  Take your time and be cautious. Don’t make unnecessary lane changes or quick acceleration or braking maneuvers.  It will take you much longer to get somewhere if you crash than if you try and shave a few seconds off your daily commute.

2.      EASY ON THE BRAKES – Brake application is a common trigger of vehicle sliding which results in you losing control of your car.  ABS do not work well on ice and snow, and often will lock up your wheels.  Sliding wheels make it nearly impossible to control your vehicle.

3.      TURN INTO A SLIDE – If you find your car sliding, you need to turn your wheels in the direction that the REAR of the car is sliding.  By turning into the slide, you stand the best chance of recovering control of your vehicle.  (If you saw the Pixar movie Cars, it’s the same concept Lightning McQueen had to learn when racing on the dirt roads).

4.      DON’T BE OVERCONFIDENT – A major factor in many serious and fatal crashes is one’s overconfidence in their abilities to drive in adverse conditions.  Just because the speed limit is 50 doesn’t mean you should go 50 in less than ideal conditions.  Similarly, just because you have driven in bad weather conditions before does not mean that the snow and ice is any less slippery for you than a new driver.  Recognize that you are driving in dangerous conditions and don’t get cocky.

Modifying Your Driving to Prevent Accidents – 3 Drive with both hands on the wheel!

3. Drive with both hands on the wheel. Two hands on the wheel allows you more control over the car if an emergency situation were to arise. Imagine having one hand leisurely resting on it when you have to swerve out of the way – you lose that precious split second in adjusting your position that could mean the difference between safety and an accident.

Keep your hands in the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. While this isn’t necessarily the most comfortable, this position does allow you the most flexibility should you suddenly need to adjust your course.

Modifying Your Driving to prevent accidents – 2 Stay in your lane!

Stay in your lane. Defensive driving means letting others go ahead of you and not defending your position in traffic. Avoid the urge to be a vigilante (“Oh yeah? Let me show you what it’s like to be cut off like that!”) and stay away from weaving and cutting others off by sticking to your lane. Accept the fact that someone is always going to think they’re in more of a hurry than you. These are the drivers you want to move far away from. Don’t be tempted to “teach them a lesson” – it won’t work.

In general, avoid the left lane. It’s where most accidents happen.  You also have more “escape routes” in the right lane should a problem suddenly arise that requires you to quickly change lanes or pull onto the shoulder.

Modifying Your Driving to prevent accidents – 1 Slow Down!

1. Slow down. Speeding reduces the time you have to react and increases the likelihood of you having an accident. The faster you’re going, the harder it is to slow down. When you can’t slow down, you risk causing an accident.
Remember that police officers often stay hidden from view while looking for speeders. If you’re caught driving too fast, they won’t hesitate to give you a ticket. While this isn’t an accident, it’s certainly another thing you want to avoid.