Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Injured on Vacation? Here’s What to Do Next

It’s every Clearwater-area vacationer’s nightmare. Far from home, you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. A slip-and-fall, a car accident, a casino boat fire. Now your vacation is in ruins and, what’s worse, you have to figure out if and how you can recover compensation for all of the ways you’ve been harmed. Insurance may cover some of your medical expenses, but what about the rest of what you’ve lost?

Here’s some good news. You don’t have to fight for justice alone. At Dolman Law Group, we’re here to help you and your loved ones understand your legal rights and to fight on your behalf to recover compensation for your expenses, suffering, and inconvenience.

In this post, we walk you through some steps you may want to take to recover from a vacation injury and protect your rights.

First Things First: Seek Medical Treatment

Obvious as it might sound, the most important thing to do when injured on vacation is to seek immediate medical attention. Don’t wait until your vacation is over. Don’t try to downplay your injury because your family members want to keep having fun in the sun. If you’re hurt, call a doctor or 911, stop in at an urgent care clinic, or if necessary, head straight to a hospital emergency department. Your health and well-being take priority, and waiting to seek care could make your injuries worse or even threaten your life.

There’s another reason that it’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you’ve been injured on vacation: the longer you wait to see a doctor, the more difficult it may be to receive insurance benefits or to recover damages from a responsible party under Florida law. The records your healthcare provider creates when you seek care serve as evidence of the nature, severity, and timing of your injury, potentially critical pieces of information down the road. So, don’t wait! Get to a doctor if you’re hurt.

Inform Your Doctor at Home

It may also be important for you to let your doctor at home know about your injury and current condition. Your doctors here in Florida may need to connect with your doctor about your medical history in order to give you the best care. If possible, you or a family member should call your primary care doctor at home and get the necessary contact information to pass on to your Florida medical team.

Preserve the Evidence (If Possible)

The accident was a shock. It interrupted your vacation and threw your family into “chaos mode.” At a time like that, it’s not easy to keep a clear head. But, if you can, it may help to preserve and collect evidence of how your injury occurred. What you gather will depend on the circumstances, of course. If you were injured in a car accident, pictures of the accident scene, of the damage to the car, of any cuts and bruises you suffered, could be helpful. If you tripped and fell at a restaurant, you could take photos of what you tripped over, and any warning signs (or their absence). You may also want to set aside and stop wearing the shoes you had on when you fell. In other words, the idea is to preserve a record of the factors that might have led to your accident, to reduce the possibility later on that someone will dispute what the conditions were in which you were injured.

In contrast, don’t worry too much about obtaining accident reports or medical records. Those are important, of course, and if you can collect them, that’s good, but they’re also the sort of evidence an attorney can track down later if necessary. It is more important to gather the sort of evidence that could change or disappear over time if it’s not preserved right away.

Keep Track of Extra Expenses

One of the many difficulties of suffering an injury on vacation is that you’re far from the comforts and support system of your home. As a result, you’re often forced to spend money you never would have needed to spend at home. For example, you or your family may have to extend the stay at your hotel (or find a new hotel) while you recover. You may need new clothes. Your family may be eating out at restaurants instead of at home. And so on.

It’s important to keep track of all of these added expenses. They may not be covered by your own insurance (possibly unless you carry travel insurance), but they could be recoverable as damages from the party at fault for your injury. So, always get receipts and/or pay with a credit or debit card instead of using cash, so that you have a record of what you spent.

Before You Leave for Home, Meet With Us

It would be understandable if you wanted to head home as soon as possible after getting injured on vacation. But, if you have the time, you and your family could help yourself significantly by meeting with the experienced personal injury lawyers in Dolman Law Group’s Clearwater office before you go.

By sitting down for a free consultation with our attorneys, you can gain the peace of mind of knowing your legal options, and (if you choose) ensuring you have a legal team in place, “on the ground,” before you leave for home. While you return to your life and recuperate, we can pursue an investigation, interview witnesses, and advise you on your rights to compensation from insurance companies and responsible parties.

At Dolman Law Group, we understand that, as a visitor to Florida, the last thing you ever imagined for your vacation would be spending part of it in a lawyer’s office. But the sooner we can meet and start working for you, the better your chance of recovering the payments and obtaining the justice you deserve. Call us today at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online to schedule a time to meet. We’ll do our best this part of your time in the Clearwater area as stress-free as possible.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Friday, July 20, 2018

5 Common Boating Injuries, Their Causes, and How to Prevent Them This Summer

While Florida’s sunny weather makes boating a year-round activity, the arrival of summer means a drastic increase in the number of people on the water in the coming weeks. While a day on the water can be a great way to relax and enjoy the summer sun, increased congestion on Florida’s lakes, bays, and waterways means also means a greater risk of boating injuries in the coming months.

Many people do not realize that most boating injuries and incidents do not result from inclement weather. More often than not, these incidents are the result of human error and negligence. If you plan on spending time on the water this summer, it is important to take a few precautions in order to ensure the safety of you and your party. To help ensure your time on the water is both safe and fun, below we’ll provide an overview of the most common boating injuries and incidents, their causes, and what you can do to prevent them from happening.

Common Boating Injuries:


Unfortunately, drowning is a common occurrence among boating enthusiasts. In fact, the Coast Guard tracked 4,064 boating incidents in 2014, and of these incidents, 610 resulted in fatalities, 78 percent of which were the result of drowning.

While a large number of boating accidents result in drowning, there are simple steps that you can take to prevent this from occurring. One of the most common causes of boating fatalities is people not wearing life vests. According to the Coast Guard’s findings, 84 percent of drowning victims were not wearing life vests. This makes it imperative that everyone in your party wears a life vest, even if they are an experienced swimmer.

Many incidents of drowning are also often caused by passengers falling overboard, particularly when the boat is in motion. In addition to making sure that everyone in your party wears life jackets, you can also prevent drowning by taking precautions to prevent passengers from falling overboard. Make sure that no one rides on the bow of the boat, that all passengers remain in designated seats when the boat is in motion, and be sure not to overload your vehicle’s weight capacity. Additionally, taking care not to take turns too sharply and maintaining reasonable speeds can also prevent people from falling overboard.

Preventing passengers from falling overboard is critical. Even if they do not drown, passengers who fall overboard can suffer from whiplash, concussion, broken bones, or spinal trauma. Overboard passengers can also suffer from lacerations or amputations if they come into contact the propeller.

Collision Injuries

As waterways become more congested, boating collisions become more common. There is often a misconception that boating collisions do not cause as severe of injuries as automobile accidents; however, the speed at which many boats travel, combined with the fact that most boats do not have seatbelts, means that accidents on the water are often just as critical as accidents on the road. Here is an overview of two of the most common injuries that boating collisions can cause.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Traumatic brain injury is the result of the brain hitting the inside of the skull, usually as a result of a hard impact. When boats collide at high speed, passengers are often thrown out of their seats, and they may even be ejected from the boat, which can result in traumatic injury to the brain.

Spinal cord injuries: Being ejected from the boat during a collision can also result in spinal cord injuries, as hitting the water at high speeds can be as hard of an impact as hitting concrete. This can result in spinal compression, herniated disks, or even paralysis that can be temporary or permanent.

Unfortunately, boating collisions are most often caused by human negligence and usually easily prevented. The most common causes of boating accidents include:

Reckless driving: One of the most common causes of boating accidents is reckless driving. Being on a boat often causes people to get carried away and drive more recklessly than they would when driving a car. Unlike an automobile, watercraft can be much more difficult to operate, making corrective maneuvers far more challenging than by motor vehicle.

Intoxication: Perhaps the most common cause of boating collisions is intoxication. One of the most vital things to remember when driving a boat is to treat the boat like a car: under no circumstances should the operator drive while under the influence. Feel free to have a good time when you are on the water, but make sure that you retain a designated driver in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

Severe Lacerations

Severe lacerations are also a common injury that occurs on the water. While collisions and falling overboard can result in lacerations, many severe boating lacerations are caused when swimmers or overboard passengers come in contact with a boat’s propeller. For this reason, it is imperative that swimmers do not enter the water when the boat is running, and watercraft operators steer clear of smaller craft or swimmers. Wait until the boat has been turned off completely before allowing anyone to enter the water; do not restart the boat until all passengers have come back on board, and you’ve verified the water around the craft is free of other persons.

Eye Injuries

Believe it or not, eye injuries are common when boating due to the speed at which boats often travel and the wind this creates. The open construction of many boats in comparison to automobiles also means that passengers are at a higher risk of injury from foreign material traveling at high speeds. This can cause a variety of dirt and debris to enter the eye, which can potentially result in corneal scratches or abrasions. Wear sunglasses when on the water in order to protect your eyes from debris. This will also protect your eyes from sunlight that can reflect off the water and strain and injure your eyes.

Were You Injured in a Boating Accident?

If you or a loved one are injured in a boating accident, it is vital that you get immediate medical attention. Even if you feel fine, your injuries may be more serious than you realize. In particular, head injuries may not immediately show symptoms; however, serious complications can arise as time progresses.

What to do if someone is seriously injured: If someone in your party is seriously injured as the result of a boating accident, one of the first things you will need to do is to stop the bleeding if they have been cut. If you suspect a head, neck, or spinal injury, it is important that you keep the injured person immobilized and comfortable until help arrives. Help to manage their pain until you can get them medical attention, and make sure that they stay hydrated; dehydration can occur quickly when out in the sun, and can make their condition worse.

If the injuries you or a loved one acquired in a boating accident are a result of another boater’s negligence, you should seek legal counsel immediately. Contact us at (727) 451-6900 to learn how our experienced attorneys have been able to help victims of boating accidents, and what compensation you may be entitled to under the law.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Does Using Your Phone’s GPS Count as Distracted Driving?

In March of this year, the Florida legislature failed, again, to pass a law cracking down on the scourge of texting while driving on Florida roads. This is a shame, since “distracted driving” has caused a surge in accidents in Florida, and Florida has some of the weakest laws in the nation to address it.

The legislature’s inability to address the extreme danger of texting-while-driving highlights the dim prospects of there being any movement on another, less-prominent, distracted driving danger: use of GPS devices. In this article, we discuss what constitutes “distracted driving” generally, and how using GPS devices can fall into that category just as much as texting does. We also discuss what you should do if you are injured in an accident involving driver distraction with a GPS device.

What Is “Distracted Driving”?

Although “distracted driving” is not defined in current Florida statutes, the Florida Department of Transportation describes it as “anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the vital task of driving.” Described that way, a wide range of activities could potentially qualify as “distracted driving,” including texting, tuning the radio, talking on the phone, and, as discussed here, using a GPS system. However defined, distracted driving is a major problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) reports that in 2016, distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives on U.S. roads. In 2015, it caused 391,000 injuries.

Considering the widespread use of smartphones and GPS devices, perhaps these numbers aren’t surprising. What is surprising is how many Floridians do not realize the dangers of using those devices while behind the wheel. As the NHTSA points out, at 55 miles per hour, taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds to fiddle with a GPS is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

How a GPS Device Causes Dangerous Distraction

Knowing how a GPS can be dangerous is the first step in using it responsibly. According to the Florida DOT, distracted driving comes in three forms: manual (taking your hands off the wheel), visual (taking your eyes off the road), and cognitive (taking your mind off of the task of driving). Unfortunately, using a GPS device can impact all three of these.

  • Manual. Unless a GPS device has a voice command function accessible from a button on the steering wheel or an “always listening” mode (like “Hey Siri”), it usually requires you to use at least one hand to execute commands, like typing in an address or pressing “Start Route.” Even devices with voice command may require you to press a button to activate them.
  • Visual. Whether you’re typing an address into a GPS, or looking at it to see your position on a map, using a GPS requires you to divert your eyes from the road. Ideally, you should not have to do so for more than a second or two, but sometimes it’s easy to want to look longer, which can increase danger quickly.
  • Cognitive. As Time reported in 2016, cognitive function may well be the biggest area in which using a GPS can distract a driver. GPS’s demand our attention, and sometimes in surprising ways. They speak to us. They reroute us. They invite our mental engagement at times when all of our attention should be focused on the road ahead. (Just think of how quickly tension, and distraction, escalates when a GPS tells you to take a turn and you don’t see what it means.)

GPSs also erode our cognitive map-making abilities. Mental maps—that is, knowing where you’re going because you’re familiar with a route and have it pre-planned in your head—are a particularly useful human skill. They allow us to develop situational awareness of potential dangers on the road ahead by comparing our expectation of what the road should look like with how it actually looks. They also help us navigate under sub-optimal road conditions, like in rain or at night.

But GPS devices effectively replace that mental map, which over time can cause us to lose that instinct for where we are going. We become dependent on a GPS to tell us our route. And, when the GPS makes a mistake or disconnects in areas with bad reception, unprepared drivers can become stressed, distracted, or unwilling to follow their own instinct. Consider the stories of drivers following a GPS’s instructions and driving into a lake.

Finally, GPS devices can cause distracted driving even when you’re not paying visual attention to them and you can operate them hands-free. For instance, when drivers make mistakes or skip exits, the GPS alerts them with a noise or an instruction to make a radical course change. These sudden interruptions can be jarring, which makes them dangerous. Any focus on following directions instead of observing the environment for dangers can certainly count as distracted driving.

How to Reduce the Danger of Using a GPS Device

Now that you know the dangers, here are four ways use your GPS responsibly:

1. Familiarize yourself with the visual route. Before you head out to a new destination, look at the map. Familiarize yourself with the major turns and identify any spots with tricky navigation. With that bit of mental forewarning, you can reduce potential panics and mistakes. It also helps reduce your reliance on minute-by-minute instructions from a GPS.

2. It’s better to turn around than follow directions that don’t make sense. If your GPS is telling you that you have to make a split-second decision, ignore it for a moment. Focus on safely driving past the intersection or point of contention. Then you can turn into a parking lot and check the map visually. Even if you are on a deadline or are running behind, focus on safety instead of following your app’s directions.

Set your destination and preferences before you start. Get your GPS organized early. Type in the address and decide which available route you want to take before you put the car in drive. Inputting information and making choices is even more distracting than following a GPS’s instructions might be.

If you need to change your route halfway through the drive, pull over before you start. This might be frustrating, especially if you’re stuck in traffic and pulling over would add several minutes to your drive. But if you’re frustrated and tempted to modify your GPS to find a better route, other drivers are probably doing the exact same thing. That means it’s even more important to stay vigilant and keep your car safe.

4. Have your passenger handle navigation. Nobody likes a side seat driver, but your trip may be safer if you have one. A person can give you early warning about complex directions and visually inspect the map. Studies show that talking to a passenger is safer than talking over the phone, and part of that is because passengers are cognizant of the road conditions. They know when to stop talking and when to point something out. Passengers who are operating your GPS can apply the same filter and reduce potential distractions at key moments.

Injured by a Driver Distracted by GPS? Call the Dolman Law Group

Ultimately, your state and city will decide what is legally considered distracted driving with a GPS app or device. But if you drive in a gray area, use your best judgment. Only use your GPS if you can focus on the primary task of driving and can safely ignore any distractions it offers.

If you were in a collision with a driver using GPS and suspect distracted driving was to blame, contact us at Dolman Law Group. or call us at (727) 451-6900. We represent people injured in auto accidents and their families, and can help you ensure that distracted drivers are held accountable.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Monday, July 16, 2018

2018, Year of the Backup Camera: Safety Tool or Added Distraction?

Backover crashes injure more than 12,000 persons, and kill more than 200, annually. Sadly, the majority of these incidents involve children between the ages of three and twelve. Consumer safety group cites “Bye-Bye Syndrome” as a factor in backover crashes injuring young children: Upon hearing the words “bye-bye,” children follow adults in an effort not to be left behind, with sometimes disastrous results. The statistics for backing up accidents are eye-opening:

  • Fifty children are backed over in the United States every week because a driver could not see them.
  • More than 60 percent of backing-up accidents involved a large size vehicle (SUV, van, truck).
  • Most of these accidents occur in driveways and parking lots.

In an effort to lower these statistics, Congress passed legislation, effective May 2018, requiring all new vehicles sold in the United States to have backup cameras. While backup cameras are already on the market in high-end cars and models with extra safety packages, the technology is now standard, even in cheaper vehicles.

Early estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) predict that backup cameras will save between 58 and 69 lives every year once universally deployed. Only time will tell, however, whether the mandatory federal regulation is truly effective in preventing—and reducing—backover crashes involving injury or death.

Backup Camera Mandate

Consumer safety groups have long advocated for regulation regarding better rear view visibility from vehicle manufacturers. The groups achieved limited success with the 2007 passage of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act. Congress signed the Act into law, requiring the NHTSA to set rear-visibility standards by 2011. Reasons such as conflict over how to write the standards and governmental resistance delayed the process. The perseverance and hard work of the consumer safety groups paid off, however, with the May 2018 mandate:
  • All vehicles under 10,000 pounds include a backup camera
  • Cameras must show a 10-foot-by-20-foot zone behind the vehicle
The NHTSA acknowledges that the mandate adds to the cost of vehicle construction, and that this cost is most likely to pass on to consumers. Estimated costs of backup cameras range from $40 for new vehicles already equipped with a center display, to $140 for vehicles without displays. Many experts and consumers agree that this is a small price to pay for added safety.

Blind Zone vs. Blind Spot

The push for backup camera legislation also brought about a change in terminology. For many years, drivers referred to limited or no-visibility areas around their vehicles as “blind spots.” Consumer safety groups pushed for use of the term “blind zone” instead, as “a zone represents a larger area than a spot.” The groups stated that referring to these areas as “spots” grossly underrepresented the wide range of danger possible behind a vehicle. Consumer Reports and NHTSA are just two examples of organizations using the term “blind zone.”

The average blind zone is 15-feet-by-25-feet behind the vehicle. The shorter the driver’s height, the larger the blind zone. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, backup cameras reduce blind zones by 90 percent.

Safety Concerns Regarding Backup Cameras

Nevertheless, backup cameras have critics who harbor concerns. Three top reasons critics cite as causes of concern are:

The displays distract drivers. Small screens result in squinting to see, with the driver’s focus centering on the display, and away from the road. Alternatively, the display screen may be too large, visually distracting the driver.

The new technology includes features distracting to drivers. Not all camera systems include automatic system-switching for when the car is in reverse. Some systems require manual changes to settings that can potentially distract drivers. Newer systems, however, typically include the automatic feature that turns on cameras when vehicles are placed in reverse.

Backup cameras provide a false sense of security. Backup cameras provide a larger view of what’s behind a vehicle than the standard rearview mirror. Experts warn, however, against placing all trust in the camera’s view. Looking behind the vehicle before climbing in and using side mirrors are extra safety measures, in addition to the backup cameras.

During a three year period, 2008-2011, backup cameras more than doubled in all new cars sold; concurrently, injuries fell less than 8 percent nationwide. Fatalities declined, although the comparison is small due to deaths from backover crashes being relatively rare. Improvements in reduced injuries and death statistics continue to appear, albeit slowly.

There’s little doubt that backup cameras will save lives and prevent injuries. The key to their success, however, lies in the driver’s ability to use the cameras in a responsible manner. Here are three important habits responsible drivers should always follow:

  • Stopping the vehicle before adjusting features
  • Double-checking using a pre-trip check by walking-around the vehicle
  • Using side mirrors as an added precaution

Clearwater, Florida, Personal Injury Firm

Backup crashes also involve pedestrians and bicyclists. Young children rate among the highest category of victims, due to their small stature and reduced visibility from a driver’s seat. Federal regulation requiring backup cameras in all new vehicles could take a step in the right direction for reducing backup crashes.

Like any technology, backup cameras still have the potential to fail, or to result in distracted driving. Other factors leading to backover crashes include rain, shadows, or debris reflecting on the camera’s display. Ensuring there is nothing behind a vehicle about to move is the driver’s responsibility. Failure to take every precaution to avoid striking a person and causing bodily injury is negligence. While accidents do happen, many of them are preventable with extra time and caution.

Our experienced attorneys fight for justice for residents in the Clearwater and surrounding areas. The Dolman Law Group offers a free consultation for victims of backover crashes. If you experience injury or the loss of a loved one due to a faulty backup camera or a distracted driver, call (727) 451-6900 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

New Motorcycle Technology Can Prevent Accidents

New Motorcycle Technology Accidents Dolman Law Group

Motorcycle Accidents can be Stopped With New Technology

The primary concern of most forms of transportation innovations, is increasing the safety offered to passengers by whatever medium of transport. Whether it is the invention of the flight recorder to determine aircraft issues that lead to crashes or the invention of the airbag for the automobile, safety features are a driving force of transportation progress in our civilization.
With motorcycles, the development of safety features has proven to be difficult given the nature of the vehicle. The idea of a two wheeled vehicle requiring an exposed driver to constantly maintain stability while traveling at high speed is not exactly an exemplar of safe travel. Nonetheless, motorcycles are an enduringly popular mode of transport with the young and old for this element of danger.
Today, there have been a number of innovations in motorcycle technology that have found ways to make certain aspects of riding a bit safer. When motorcyclists are about 30 times more likely to be killed in an accident, every little bit helps. Things like new helmet technology, adaptive lights, and stability control.

Vehicle to Vehicle Technology Increases Motorcycle Visibility

One of the biggest reasons cars get in accidents with motorcycles is lack of motorcycle visibility. Motorcycles have a way of slipping into blind spots and sneaking up on unsuspecting drivers that can collide with them in a number of ways.
To combat this, companies like Autotalks have joined industry supplier Bosch to develop a communication system that allows motorcycles to be alerted to other vehicles on the road in order to prevent collision.
The system would utilize wi-fi in order to exchange driving information between vehicles such as speed, position, and brake activation that a computer would use to calculate possible collision and alert a driver to take evasive action. Unfortunately, this system is not yet available and is only in development yet as a concept it shows great promise thanks to its relative low cost and power demands.
The only downside to such a technology would be the requirement of everyone utilizing it in order for it to be effective. However, if it turns out to be as low cost and simple as developers have claimed, then the widespread adoption of such a technology to help save lives on the road and minimize accidents would be a pretty easy sell as long as the devices can not be used to track individual cars.

New Light Technology Can Reduce Motorcycle Accidents at Night

A staggering amount of motorcycle accidents occur at night. In fact, 60 percent of motorcycle fatalities occur in the evening when lights are needed. Unlike cars, motorcycles usually do not have the same extent of lighting. That means motorcyclists see less than cars and get seen less than cars as well.

LED Lights Improve Motorcycle Visibility

Thanks to advances in LED lighting, motorcyclists now have much more sleek and efficient lighting for nighttime riding and the incorporation of LED lights into the chassis of motorcycles also increase the visibility of the rider.

Adaptive Lighting and Prevents Motorcycle Accidents around Turns

When motorcyclists drive around a corner or curve their lights are usually restricted from illuminating the entirety of the curve which increases the risk of an accident. The failure to illuminate an animal, pothole, or even a pulled over motorist can lead to a motorcycle accident.
Luckily, the development of adaptive lighting in motorcycles can help to end this. Adaptive lighting utilizes sensors that detect the curvature and lean of a motorcycle when it turns so that the lighting array can compensate and aim the lights to best illuminate around the turn or curve.
According to the American Automobile Association, adaptive headlights have the potential to provide up to a 90 percent safety benefit to 90 percent of crashes that occur on curves at night. Considering how sharp turns and curves are among the top areas where motorcycle accidents occur, that is a very welcome figure to project.

Better Helmet Technology Means Reduced Accident Risk

The most integral piece of safety gear for a motorcyclist is a helmet. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.
Those are great statistics in favor of helmets but they only take a singular function into account which is preventing your skull from being seriously injured. Thanks to advances in augmented reality and camera systems, motorcycle helmets can now serve multiple functions that can increase a motorcyclist’s safety.

Augmented Reality Aids Motorcyclists

Augmented reality has offered the unique ability to create useful displays appear in a helmets visor that can relay all kinds of useful information to the rider. A rider could get basic info like speed, fuel level, and time right without having to take their eyes off the road. More advanced models could possibly go even further and display even more complex information like gps location and navigation, hands free through the use of voice commands.

Blind Spot Accidents Stopped by Camera Technology

One of the most exciting innovations is camera technology implemented in new helmets. Some helmets on the market now have cameras placed at the rear of the helmet to provide a view of blind spots via a display in the helmet’s visor. Essentially, there are helmets that give you an eye in the back of your head to see if you are going to get rear ended by a truck or car.
While this technology is expensive now, it will only get cheaper as time goes on. Eventually all motorcyclists will reap the benefits of new safety technologies that have the potential to save countless lives.

Seek a Skilled Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group about receiving a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled motorcycle accident lawyers have the expertise you will need to secure the claim you deserve.
Call 727-451-6900 or fill out our contact form.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Monday, July 2, 2018

7 Tips for Driving in Unfamiliar Places

Summer is the ideal time for leisurely drives and exciting road trips. The combination of great weather and vacation days is often the perfect excuse to explore new places. However, driving through new locations and navigating unfamiliar roads is a source of fear and anxiety for many drivers. If it has been a while since they ventured onto new roads, even the most seasoned motorists can find themselves feeling stressed.

Don’t let your summer adventure become a nightmare! There are lots of ways to prepare for driving in unfamiliar territory. Here are a few tips to help you feel more relaxed behind the wheel this summer, no matter where you are.

Build a “Mental Map” to Familiarize Yourself with Your Route

Before you hit the road, take the time to look at an actual map—physical or virtual—to build a separate, “mental map” of where you’re going. As this 2014 essay that appeared in The Atlantic describes, building a mental map can be a useful, if imperfect, way to ease the difficulty of navigating somewhere new. Having even a simplistic image of what your route looks like, such as knowing that when traveling in the correct direction a mountain ridge or a tall building will always be to your right, can keep you from getting too turned around.

Use Your GPS, Except When It Stresses You Out

A GPS’s audio turn-by-turn directions can help navigate you exactly where you need to go without requiring you to look at a map, which can help you to stay focused on the road. Not only can this help you to feel more relaxed, but it can also help you to navigate unfamiliar road conditions such as one-way streets and traffic circles, as certain GPS apps will warn you when these obstacles are up ahead.

But, there’s a limit to the usefulness of GPS devices. Some drivers find the audio alerts jarring and understandably feel their anxiety rise when that ever-so-polite voice tells them to make a U-turn from the wrong lane of an unfamiliar road. GPS units also make mistakes, as stories of cars ending up in lakes thanks to faulty directions attest. So, while GPS can be useful, do not make the mistake of thinking it’s all you need to have a calm drive in a new location.

Invest in Physical Maps, Too. They Always Work!

Although we have become accustomed to relying on GPS can help to guide us on a new route, we should never forget that drivers survived with physical maps for a hundred years, and for good reason. Some people still prefer them, the way many folks prefer flipping the pages of a book instead of swiping pages on their tablet. But, even if GPS remains your preference, physical maps don’t require a data plan, a full battery, or reception from a cell phone tower. They’re an important backup plan you shouldn’t go without when navigating in unfamiliar territory.

Note Distinctive Landmarks, But Keep Your Eyes on the Road

This goes hand-in-hand with building a “mental map.” Another way to prevent getting lost is to pay attention to major landmarks and geographical features while driving, and to use them as rough navigational reference points. If you get lost and are unable to determine which direction you should be driving in to reach your destination, large buildings, mountains, and monuments can help you to reorient yourself and figure out in which direction you should be driving.

Of course, maybe it goes without saying, but it’s important not to get too distracted by a landmark and take your eyes off the road. If you have to reorient, better to pull over than to risk drifting into oncoming traffic.

Assign a Co-Pilot

One of the main reasons drivers feel stressed when driving in new locations is that it can feel overwhelming trying to pay attention to the road and other drivers while looking for signs and trying to find the right turns to take you towards your destination. If you are traveling with others, appoint a co-pilot (generally the person in the front passenger seat) to help navigate you to your destination. Having someone else watch the GPS and look out for signs and interchanges may help you to relax and allow you to focus on driving as well as keeping your passengers safe. This article from Prime Adventure offers some good tips on how to be a good co-pilot.

Ask for Directions. People Love to Give Them.

If all else fails and you find yourself lost and uncertain how to get to your destination, do not hesitate to ask for directions at a reputable business (hotels, restaurants, etc). Travelers are sometimes afraid to ask for directions out of fear that it will make them look bad, or that people will look down on them for being clueless. But, think of the times you’ve been asked for directions: have you ever thought that of someone? Most people you ask for directions will be happy to help, and may give you insight about your destination (and the route you take to get there) that proves invaluable.

Prepare for Tolls

If your travels are going take you to/through major cities, you will want to be prepared for any tolls that you may encounter along the way. Pack your toll pass if you have one, but also make sure that you carry cash at all times so that you can pay for toll roads and bridges without being caught off guard.

Plan Your Departure to Avoid Peak Driving Times

While your trip may require you to arrive at certain destinations at specific times, if your schedule is flexible, avoid driving in major cities during peak commuting hours. Driving in a new city is stressful enough, so plan ahead and save yourself from dealing with traffic jams and aggressive drivers.

Taking these steps before your next road trip can help reduce any anxiety you may feel when driving in a new place. Remember to drive safely and contact the team at Dolman Law Group online or at (727) 451-6900 if you suffer a driving-related injury during your travels and think someone else may be at fault.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Road Glare: What You Need to Know About Overcoming This Florida Hazard

While road glare can be hazardous for drivers across the country, the bright Florida sun can make road glare particularly dangerous for drivers in the sunshine state. In fact, if your daily commute has you heading east from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and west from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., then you likely already know how difficult road glare can make it to stay safe on the roads. Whether or not your commute has you regularly fighting road glare, it is important that you are sufficiently prepared for road glare so that you can minimize the likelihood of an accident when you encounter this surprisingly hazardous condition in the future. To help keep both you and other motorists safe on the road, here is a quick overview of everything you need to know about road glare, as well as a few helpful tips for ensuring a hazard-free commute.

What is Road Glare? Why is it So Dangerous?

Glare is defined as any bright light that interferes with your vision, making it difficult or impossible to see properly. Anyone that’s walked outside on a sunny day without eye protection can attest to the sun’s ability to cause discomfort and poor visibility; now imagine that same experience, except behind the wheel of a rapidly moving automobile.

If you’ve experienced how light bounces off the road and impairs your vision, you’ve experienced road glare. While road glare can also be caused by the headlights of oncoming traffic when driving at night, the most dangerous form of road glare is caused during sunrise and sunset, when the sun is low on the horizon and the sun's angle causes a strong glare across a car's windshield. This type of road glare is particularly hazardous, as it can make it impossible to see the road in front of you, and can also make it difficult to see traffic lights, obstructions, and other cars on the road.

Glare from the sun can even cause temporary blindness. In fact, road glare caused by the sun is so hazardous that a former Osceola politician was recently killed as a result of an accident caused by road glare. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to avoid being involved in a road glare related traffic accident. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe the next time you have to drive into the sun.

Invest in Polarized Sunglasses

If you haven't done so already, one of the easiest things you can do to make driving easier during bright conditions is to invest in a pair of polarized sunglasses; even better, try to make it a habit to keep a spare pair or two in your car. While sunglasses won't completely solve your glare problem, polarized lenses have a special filter in the lens that can help block out a great deal of the glare on the road. While ordinary sunglasses may make driving more comfortable, they are unfortunately not near as effective for combatting glare than polarized lenses. Polarized lenses also provide protection against UVA and UVB rays, which can help further reduce strain on your eyes, making it easier to see the road and maintain full awareness of road conditions.

Keep Your Windshield Clean

If you know that your commute is going to involve driving into bright sunlight, it is also important to keep your windshield clean and free of any dirt, debris, or streaking. Road glare is already a substantial hazard with even crystal-clear windshields; the glare of the sun, however, greatly exacerbates the blinding effect of a dirty windshield, turning even minor blemishes into dangerous visual hotspots. Consider taking a moment each morning to clean your windshield and make sure that it is easy to see out of; this will increase your visibility on the road and help prevent the blinding effects of road glare (and as an added bonus, make your vehicle look a bit nicer).

Give Yourself Plenty of Room

While it is always a good idea to leave a safe following distance between yourself and the car in front of you, it is particularly important that you give yourself plenty of room in front of your car when glare is making it difficult to see the road ahead. Giving yourself extra room will make sure that you have time to react should the car in front of you suddenly stop, or should the glare cause an accident for another driver up ahead. Driving slower and more cautiously than you normally would is advisable when road conditions are hazardous, and road glare should certainly be considered a hazard.

Consider Using Your Headlights

At first it may seem odd to turn your headlights on when the sun is out; however, turning your headlights on when there is road glare is more about protecting yourself than increasing your visibility. The washout effect of bright sunlight can make it difficult to identify oncoming vehicles, making it a good idea to use headlights as a courtesy to other drivers. By turning on your headlights, you will be doing everything possible to make yourself visible to other drivers on the road, helping to ensure that they can see you even if their visibility is reduced.

Find a New Route (or Alter Your Schedule)

Not only can road glare make it difficult and dangerous to drive, but having the sun in your eyes for extended periods can also be extremely irritating. Consider altering your commute to see if you can find a route with reduced road glare. For instance, routes that are surrounded by tall trees or large buildings may be shaded and have reduced glare compared to your current route. If you find that road glare is becoming particularly bothersome for you, you may also want to consider adjusting your schedule if possible so that you can avoid the worst of the sun's glare. While a slightly longer route may at first seem like a time-waster, the added ease of driving without the need to remediate harsh glare may very well shorten your overall commute.

Don't Drive if You Feel Uncomfortable

Finally, it is also important not to be afraid to pull over if the road glare gets particularly bad. If the glare from the sun is impairing your visibility so severely that you cannot see the road at all, carefully pull over when it is safe to do so and wait for visibility to improve. There is never a reason to put yourself or others at risk by driving with reduced or impaired visibility, even if it means being a few minutes late to your destination.

Following these precautions can help you to be prepared the next time you encounter road glare. If you've been injured in an accident because of another's driver's inability to cope with road glare, contact the Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900 or write us online.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765