Category: Car Accidents

Safe Summer Teen Driving

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Safe Summer Teen Driving

This is the most important time of year for parents to understand and educate their teenagers on specific driving concerns. School will be getting out for the summer, traffic patterns are changing, holiday weekends are here, and more travelers are planning vacations. 

The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are referred to as the ‘100 Deadliest Days of Summer” because the average number of fatal car accidents involving teen drivers increases by 15 percent between these dates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teens drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than those aged 20 and above.

There are many reasons for these sobering statistics: lack of experience on the road, distracted driving, speeding, not wearing seatbelts, and alcohol and drug use can all play a part in teen driver car crash statistics. Combined with more drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians sharing the road in the summer, the risk of car accidents increases. 

The following are some things you can do to help your teens stay safe driving this summer:

  • Be an effective driving coach. Teen drivers need to gain experience with supervised practice, with the guidance of a parent or another driver who has been driving for many years. A teen’s first year of solo driving is the highest for risk of a fatal crash. Even after a teen obtains a driver’s license, parents and teens should continue to practice driving and discuss safety together. 
  • Restrict aimless driving trips. Based on the number of miles driven, teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. It is a good idea to limit unnecessary trips on the road for your teen driver to prevent the chances of a car accident.
  • Always wear a seatbelt. According to the CDC, teens have the lowest rate of wearing seatbelts. Statistics show that a substantial number of people killed in car accidents were not wearing seatbelts. 
  • Use ‘Do Not Disturb’. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes, especially for teen drivers. Teen attachments to smartphones lead to distractions, which increase the chance of a car accident. Put ‘Do Not Disturb’ on your smartphone and encourage your teen to do the same. Another option it to put smartphones out of reach.
  • Limit the number of teen passengers. The likelihood of a car accident increases with each teen passenger in the vehicle. The number of fatalities for teens between the ages of 16 and 19 increases by a factor of five when there are two or more teen passengers, compared to when teens are driving alone. 
  • Restrict nighttime driving. A teen driver is at twice the risk of being involved in a fatal car accident at night. The most dangerous driving time is between 9 p.m. and midnight, as that is when over half of nighttime car crashes occur.
  • Discuss the effects of alcohol and drug use. The CDC has reported that one in ten high school teens drink and drive. High school students ages 16 and over said that they had driven a vehicle one or more times over the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol. Research shows the influence of parental involvement with teens significantly effects the lowered rates of risky driving, traffic violations, and car accidents. Open the lines of communication with teens about importance of not drinking and driving.

There are other ways you can prepare your teen for a safe summer season. The following are some additional tips related to safety on the road:

  • Stay on top of weather: Weather conditions can change in a matter of moments during the summer months. Sudden thunderstorms, downpours of rain, flash floods, and heat waves can all affect roads and traffic. Be sure to check the local weather regularly in the area your teen will be driving.
  • Maintain vehicles: Any vehicle that is going to be on the road should be checked regularly, including its headlights, brakes, tires, engines, fluids, and rearview mirrors. Mechanical issues or overheating can lead to drivers being stranded or being involved in an accident.
  • Be aware of road conditions: Road conditions are constantly changing, especially during the summer. Construction is more common and can cause an increase in car accidents. Road debris and fallen tree branches or electrical wires after a storm can all result in hazardous road conditions. Plan ahead if you are alerted to dangerous road conditions.
  • Know current laws: Certain traffic laws change fairly often. Before your teen driver gets on the road this summer, be sure to check local laws in your state related to sharing the road with other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

It is also advisable to have an emergency road kit stored in your vehicle at all times. Some items that should be included in a summer emergency road kit include:

  • Blankets and towels
  • Cell phone charger
  • Drinking water 
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • Nonperishable snacks
  • Paper towels and/or toilet paper

Keep in mind that even in during the fun summer months, it is essential to take certain precautions. The combination of changing weather conditions, a higher number of travelers and pedestrians sharing the road, more distractions, and holiday weekends all create safety concerns. The good news is you can be proactive in preparing for a safe summer season for you and your family to enjoy.

Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Those Injured in Summer Car Accidents

You can plan ahead and do your part in preventing a car accident, but other factors on the road can interrupt even the most cautious drivers. If you or your child were involved in a car accident, reach out to an experienced Highland Park car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. From our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey we represent injured car accident victims in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

What Causes Head-On Collisions?

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Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Can Help You Explore Your Options After a Head-On Collision.

Many car accidents are minor and do not cause significant injuries. Head-on collisions, however, are different. These car accidents can be deadly because of the speed and direction of impact. Even in slower speed head-on collisions, drivers often face life-altering injuries.

Most car accidents often result from human error, from minor fender-benders to head-on collisions. The following are common causes of head-on collisions:

  • Distracted driving: When a driver is distracted by their phone, the radio, other passengers, or even by eating, they are not paying attention to the road. Distracted driving can have devastating consequences, including a head-on collision.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above the legal limit often has catastrophic consequences. Even driving after having a couple of drinks reduces a driver’s ability to react to an emergency to avoid an accident.
  • Drowsy driving: Drowsiness has similar effects on the body as drunkenness. That means a driver who has not slept well could fall asleep behind the wheel and cause a head-on collision.
  • Speeding: Drivers must account for the weather and road conditions. If someone drives too fast during a rainstorm, they could quickly lose control of their vehicle and slip and slide across the center line, causing a head-on collision.
  • Breaking other traffic laws: When a driver runs a red light or fails to yield the right-of-way, that violates a traffic law and can cause a head-on collision.

What Injuries Are Caused by Head-On Collisions?

As with any car accident, a head-on collision can injure people involved in the crash. Head-on collisions often cause catastrophic injuries. The most common head-on collision injuries include:

  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.
  • Neck and back injuries.
  • Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis.
  • Broken bones.
  • Organ damage.
  • Amputation.

In severe cases, head-on collisions result in death. Because of the direction of impact and the force involved, these crashes can affect the rest of your life. This affects not only your physical health but also your mental well-being.

Proving the Other Driver Caused the Head-On Collision

After a head-on collision, the last thing on your mind is proving that someone else caused your accident and injuries. That is why you need to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to help guide you through the legal process ahead.

You need to prove that the other driver caused your accident. To do that, you and your lawyer need to show the other driver:

  • Owed you a duty of care to drive safely.
  • Breached that duty of care by driving in an unsafe manner.
  • Caused a head-on collision where you suffered injuries and losses.

This might seem obvious to you because you were there. You know exactly what happened, but you will need to prove this through evidence from witnesses, police, your account, video footage, and more.

Your lawyer will work diligently to collect this evidence and prove that the other driver was negligent. Your lawyer may try to get you compensation for the following:

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Lost income.
  • Lost earning potential.
  • Loss of companionship.
  • Loss of life enjoyment.
  • Present and future medical expenses.
  • Rehabilitation costs.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be unable to return to work permanently or in the same capacity as before the head-on collision. Because your inability to work is related to your accident, your lawyer may be able to get you compensation to cover your lost income. Head-on collisions often cause injuries that prevent people from going back to work, severely impacting their ability to support themselves. You may be able to avoid financial hardship by collecting compensation.

It is essential that you act fast. There is a limited amount of time to file a personal injury suit for damages. While it is understandable that you only want to get better immediately after an accident, it is important to consider your legal options.

Your personal injury case must be filed before the statute of limitations runs out, which is two years in New Jersey. If you miss this important deadline, you lose your chance to recover compensation after a head-on collision.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Can Help You Explore Your Options After a Head-On Collision

Head-on collisions often result in severe and life-altering injuries. To help guide you through the complex legal process, speak with one of our Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Is Memorial Day Weekend the Deadliest Holiday for Car Accidents?

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Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Compensation for Injured Accident Victims.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Memorial Day weekend has the highest rate of fatal car accidents compared to any other holiday weekend in the United States. Regarded as the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in May, though the three day weekend begins the Friday evening before Memorial Day itself. Many people take advantage of the long weekend to hop in the car to go to the beach, visit friends and family, and attend local events. Along with the Fourth of July, it is one of the most popular weekends for road trips.

Why Are There So Many Fatal Accidents Over Memorial Day Weekend?

There are many different reasons why fatal accidents spike over the Memorial Day weekend and understanding why can help you stay safe if you will be out on the roads at the end of May. The following factors contribute to the high rates of Memorial Day fatal car crashes:

  • Traffic congestion: the increase in holiday traffic results in an increase in accidents, including fatal ones. When the roads are overcrowded there is less room to maneuver around unexpected obstacles.
  • Drunk/drugged driving: unfortunately after celebrating at Memorial Day parties or picnics where alcohol has been served, too many people make the mistake of getting behind the wheel to go home resulting in an increase in fatal accidents. Drunk/drugged drivers have impaired judgement and slower reaction times.
  • Drowsy driving: fatigued drivers may not realize their skills are just as impaired as those who have had too much to drink. Drowsy driving can be caused by lack of sleep, dehydration, or driving too long without a break.
  • Distracted driving: cars today have a lot of technology that can be distracting to the driver including navigation systems, entertainment systems, and social media. On a road trip drivers may be eating, drinking, and tending to children all of which takes their attention away from the road and can cause a serious accident.
  • Aggressive driving: drivers who are impatient may be pushed over the edge by holiday traffic jams and congested roads to behavior that is considered aggressive. Speeding, weaving in and out of traffic without signaling to change lanes, tailgating, driving on the shoulder or sidewalk, running red lights, and cutting other drivers off are some examples of aggressive driving that can cause a fatal accident.

Tips for Staying Safe on the Roads During Memorial Day Weekend

If you are one of the many Americans planning to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, you can help make sure your trip is a safe one by following these tips:

  • Leave plenty of time to get to your destination: there is no greater irritation than sitting in a traffic jam watching the minutes tick by, knowing you are running late. Avoid the stress of the worst holiday traffic by leaving early in the morning to beat the crowds. When you plan your trip allow enough time for account for congested roads.
  • Prepare your vehicle: the last thing you want is for your car to break down on a busy highway. If you know you will be traveling for Memorial Day have your car checked out well beforehand. Oil, transmission and brake fluid levels should be inspected as well as the tire treads and pressure. Always have safety equipment in your trunk like a first aid kit, a flashlight, flares, a blanket, and safety triangles. Carry extra batteries, cell phone chargers, and jumper cables just in case.
  • Avoid distracted driving: put your cell phone away while driving. Texts and calls can wait until you have arrived or are taking a break. If possible, designate someone else to attend to children during the trip. And be sure to program the navigation system, music, etc. before you start the engine.
  • Start your trip well rested: get lots of sleep before your trip to reduce the risk of drowsy driving. Stay hydrated and keep healthy snacks on hand to keep your energy up during the drive. If you cannot concentrate on the road ahead and feel yourself getting sleepy, pull over and take a power nap.
  • Designate a driver: never ever get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Have a friend drive, take a cab, or wait until you are sober.

Liability in a Car Accident in New Jersey

New Jersey is a “no-fault state,” which means that regardless of who caused the accident, a claim must first be filed with your own personal injury protection to recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses. Under certain circumstances, the driver whose negligent behavior caused the accident may be liable for damages. In cases where fault lies clearly with one driver a claim for compensation may be made and their insurance carrier will have to cover your medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages, etc. If you were partially responsible for the accident the rule of “modified comparative fault” determines how much compensation you can receive.

Modified comparative fault means that the jury will be asked to calculate the amount of damages you should be paid and also what percentage of fault you share for the accident. Perhaps the other driver failed to yield the right of way, but you were also speeding at the time of the crash. If the jury determines you were 20 percent responsible and awards you $10,000 in damages, the amount you will receive is the total award minus your share of fault or $8,000 ($10,000 minus 20 percent or $2,000).

If you think you may be eligible for compensation for injuries suffered in a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence the statute of limitations in New Jersey is two years from the date of the accident. The limit is applied very strictly with very few exceptions. Consulting with an experienced car accident attorney can help ensure that you meet legal deadlines when filing your claim.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Compensation for Injured Accident Victims

Our experienced Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Harold J. Gerr will investigate your case and fight to get you the maximum compensation allowed under the law. Call us today at 877-249-4600 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. From our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey we represent injured car accident victims in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

How to Stay Safe on a Motorcycle This Summer?

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New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr are on Your Side if You are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident.

With the warmer weather arriving, one activity that many New Jersey residents enjoy is riding their motorcycle. There is no freer feeling than the wind in your face and the sunshine on your back as you drive the open roads of the Garden State.

While riding your motorcycle can be a lot of fun, it can also be dangerous. Motorcycles do not afford the motorist the same protections as cars do, and bikes are more prone to spin out of control in bad weather. There are ways to reduce your chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident for not only your protection both for those that you share the road with as well.

When you are involved in a motorcycle, the results can be devastating. You could sustain significant injuries and find yourself dealing with long-term disabilities. The medical costs these could have could make a signifcant impact on you and your family. Speaking with New Jersey car accident lawyers can help provide you with some legal options.

What Do the Laws Mandate About Motorcycle Riding in New Jersey?

New Jersey is cognizant of the dangers that riding a motorcycle can pose and has implemented several laws that mandate safety measures for riders. Most are common sense, but serve as important reminders of ways to stay safe when on the road.

If you ride a motorcycle in New Jersey, the law requires that you:

  • Obtain a license: Before you are allowed to get on a motorcycle, you must know how to ride it. To verify that, you must first obtain either a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement or a separate motorcycle license.
  • Be insured: As with all drivers, you must be insured if you plan to ride a motorcycle in this state. If you fail to prove that you are insured you could face fines, insurance surcharges, community service requirements, or even the suspension of your driver’s license.
  • Wear a helmet: Not all states require that riders wear a helmet, but in New Jersey it is mandatory that you have a helmet on as you drive. Not only is it the law, but it is for your own good.

Before you get on your bike, be sure that you know what the requirements are for the state and remember that laws change as you move from state to state.

What Are Safety Tips for Riding My Motorcycle?

While the law itself provides good tips on steps you should take to ensure your safety as you ride this summer, there are plenty of other steps you can take that will help reduce the likelihood that you will be involved in a motorcycle accident. Those tips include:

  • Wear the right gear: You must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. In this state, there is other gear you should wear, including a face shield or protective goggles, as well as full-fingered leather gloves, over-the-ankle boots, and long-sleeved jackets resistant to abrasions.
  • Be visible: Many drivers are not trained to look for motorcyclists, so the best thing you can do is make yourself as visible as possible. That means turning your headlights on, using reflective surfaces, and using your horn to alert other drivers of your presence.
  • Drive defensively: Be aware of your surroundings and watch for other drivers who may not be driving properly. Remain calm while driving and use proper techniques including turn signals and do not weave through traffic.
  • Know your skill level: You should have a legitimate understanding of your level as a rider and accommodate for that. If the weather is going to be bad and you do not have the confidence to manage it, then you should not be out in those conditions. Also, you should not be riding aggressively, particularly if you lack the confidence to ride.
  • Be alert: Paying attention to the road is even more important while you are riding a motorcycle. Be aware of what others on the road are doing including other motorcyclists, cars, and even pedestrians. Give yourself time to react to what they are doing in case they make any sudden movements.

If you find yourself involved in a motorcycle accident with another driver, you should speak with a New Jersey car accident lawyer before speaking with anyone else including your insurance company.

How Can I Stay Safe Before Getting on My Motorcycle?

Not only can you follow certain safety precautions while you are out on the road, but there are also a few things you can do before your trip. Initially, you should become familiar with the motorcycle you will be riding. You should know if it has any problems or issues that you will need to compensate for. Look at what the weather will be like when you plan to ride. If road conditions are such that the roads will be slippery with rain or ice, you might wish to consider traveling at a different time.

Finally, have a first aid kit with you when you travel. It should include bandages, flares, and a flashlight in case you encounter problems at night.

What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

When you are out on your motorcycle, you should be aware of what the common causes of motorcycle accidents are so that you can avoid them yourself. These common causes include:

  • Driver inattention: This has become the leading cause of traffic accidents in the state and occur when individuals fail to see what they are doing or what other drivers around them are doing.
  • Left turns: A significant portion of accidents with other vehicles occurs because the other vehicle is turning left and failing to yield to oncoming traffic. In many instances they do not even see motorcycles coming and proceed with their turn anyway giving you little time to react.
  • Speeding: Many motorcyclists are guilty of exceeding the speed limit and limits the time a rider must react to things occurring in front of them. Speed is a factor in about 33 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes.
  • Riding under the influence: Driving or riding a motorcycle under the influence of either drugs or alcohol is illegal and dangerous. You are unable to comprehend your surrounds as well nor do you react in time to anything that is occurring around you. You become a danger to yourself and other sin that condition.
  • Improper passing: When you pass illegally leaving the driver little time to react, they tend to overreact by swerving to avoid contacting you. Unfortunately, in their panic they may wind up hitting someone else which could cause another accident.

Always be sure to follow the rules of the road and practice proper riding techniques when you are on the road. And contact a New Jersey car accident lawyer if you become injured in an accident.

New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr are on Your Side if You are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident

If you have been injured while you were riding your motorcycle, the driver, or drivers responsible for causing the accident can be held liable for their role in causing your injuries. The New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will help you hold those responsible accountable. Call us at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark, New Jersey.

Sources

Lynch Law Firm

https://www.lynchlawyers.com/blog/motorcycle-safety-tips/

National Law Review

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/causes-new-jersey-motorcycle-accidents-and-how-to-avoid-them

James M. Curran

https://www.currantriallaw.com/articles/tips-for-staying-safe-on-motorcycles/

Markel

https://www.markelinsurance.com/resources/motorcycle/safety-tips

How To Avoid Being a Negligent Driver?

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Car Accident Lawyers in Highland Park at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advise Drivers Who Have Been Charged with Negligent Driving.

Countless accidents are caused every year by the negligence of one or both drivers. Yet, driver negligence does not always correlate to bad intentions.

The key lies in understanding how the legal world looks at negligence. To car accidents lawyers, insurance providers, and courts, negligence involves failing to perform the reasonable, expected actions that a careful driver would. For instance, a driver who forgets to turn on the car’s headlights during a rainstorm could be labeled as negligent if the oversight leads to a collision with another vehicle.

The bottom line is that anyone can become a negligent driver and cause a crash. You can take precautionary steps to avoid the stress, expense, and potential injury of acting negligently, though.

Reduce Your Personal Distractions When Driving

The moment you slide behind the wheel, you owe other drivers and pedestrians the courtesy of your full attention. This means turning off your cell phone, putting down your cup of coffee, and maybe lowering the volume of the radio or turning the radio off.

According to nationwide 2019 motor vehicle statistics analyzed by the Insurance Information Institute (III), more than 3,000 people were killed that year entirely or partially because of driver distractions. Certainly, you cannot predict all distractions, such as a deer that leaps in front of your car without warning. Nevertheless, you are expected to limit the distractions you can control.

Maintain the Health and Safety of Your Car

Plenty of accidents could be avoided if car owners kept up with repairs and maintenance. For instance, bald tires are more apt to blow out. Ignoring a flashing engine light can set the stage for a breakdown in the middle of the highway. Even leaving snow or ice on your windows and rooftop can obstruct your vision and contribute to a crash.

The way around this is to stay on top of the general health of your car. Test all the lights at least monthly. Rotate your tires. Pay attention to any indications that something may be wrong. Your diligence may cost a little money upfront but could save you far more by helping you bypass an accident.

Follow the Basic Rules of the Road

Every time you speed, you put everyone on the road with you at risk. This includes you and any passengers you may have. It can be tempting to speed up, particularly if you are running late or want to get home after a long day at work. Resist the urge.

Maybe you have driven for a long time. In that case, you may want to refresh yourself on road rules. It might be worth refreshing your memory on everything from the New Jersey “Move Over” law to how to approach railroad crossings. Saying that you forgot or did not know a state rule will not excuse you from being called negligent if you wreck your vehicle or hurt someone else.

Expect Holiday Traffic Delays

Memorial Day. The Fourth of July. Labor Day. The day before Thanksgiving. There are so many times that more people are on the roads than usual. Typically, you can predict when traffic will be stop-and-go. You also can use apps to show you where congestion is happening in real time.

Instead of allowing holiday-related traffic delays to make you angry or encourage you to act aggressively, plan for them. You may want to leave later or earlier to avoid them. Anticipating them will keep you from making irresponsible decisions like tailgating, which can lead to serious rear-end accidents.

Drive Only While Sober

You may assume you are sober after having a few drinks. Is it worth the risk? No. The III estimates that around 10% of all fatal accidents in 2019 had a driving while under the influence connection. Being charged with drinking while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can seriously impact your whole life. If you get into an accident and your blood alcohol content level is above the legal limit, you could face significant repercussions.

Sober driving is smart driving. It is also a good way to ensure that you take care of yourself and others.

Be a Good Role Model for Newer Drivers

Are you trying to teach someone in your family to drive, such as a teenager? Remember that you are the person’s role model for driving. This means that the actions you take, whether they are responsible or irresponsible, are going to make an impression on the new driver. Your job is to be sure that everything you do helps your up-and-coming driver stay safer on the road.

Some strategies to impart wisdom on a younger or first-time driver include mapping out routes together, noting other drivers’ poor decisions, and teaching about basic car maintenance. Helping someone else avoid being a negligent driver speaks volumes about you as a sensible driving mentor.

What If Your Negligence Ends up Contributing to a Car Crash?

Despite your best efforts, you took your eyes off the road for a few seconds to check an incoming text. At that moment, you collided with a car that ran a stoplight. In that situation, you both might be deemed partially responsible under New Jersey’s rule of comparative negligence.

Like many states, New Jersey allows negligence to be shared by the parties involved in an accident. Your damages would be reduced by your percentage of negligence. Consequently, if you suffered $5,000 in total damages but were 50% responsible for the collision, you would receive $2,500.

Of course, you may feel that you have been called a negligent driver by mistake. Talking with a car accident lawyer can help you understand how to proceed. It never hurts to discuss your case with an attorney who offers free initial consultations.

Above all else, do your part as a thoughtful, courteous driver. Negligence is fairly easy to avoid in most situations. Although you may still get into a fender-bender or more significant collision, you will feel better knowing you did everything in your power to be attentive and diligent.

Car Accident Lawyers in Highland Park at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advise Drivers Who Have Been Charged with Negligent Driving

Were you called a negligent driver after being in a crash in New Jersey? To discuss your case, please call the car accident lawyers in Highland Park from the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. You can reach our Highland Park, NJ, office by calling 732-249-4600 or 877-249-4600. Alternatively, you can complete our online appointment request form. Our firm covers cases in areas including Metuchen, Middlesex, Sayreville, New Brunswick, South River, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Bound Brook, Iselin, Piscataway, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Fords, Somerset, Old Bridge, and Edison.

Are Parents Liable for their Teen’s Car Accident?

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The Car Accident Lawyers in Highland Park at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Families and Teenage Drivers.

Parenting a teenager is challenging but all the more fulfilling. As you watch them grow and experience everything life has to offer, one of the most rewarding times of their life is when they get their driver’s license. However, their lack of experience makes them more likely to getting into a car accident than older drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers between 16 and 19 are at the highest risk of getting into an accident, at more risk than any other age group.

With this in mind, you may wonder if you as a parent would be held liable should your teen get into a car accident while they were driving. In most cases, the answer is yes, and your car insurance plays a major role in that situation. But parents and guardians may also face additional penalties if their child causes an accident, depending on the state the accident occurred in.

Despite their lack of experience and young age, teenage drivers are held to the same standard of safety as other drivers. Teen drivers share the same “duty of care” as other drivers and motorists, and should that duty be breached, they may face the same penalties should they cause property damage, injury, or even death.

State Laws for Teenage Drivers

Through “vicarious liability,” many states like New Jersey have a version of a law that hold a parent or guardian responsible for the negligent actions of the children, including shoplifting, assault, or others, and this may apply to car accidents as well. This liability normally begins when the child is licensed, as the parent “co-signs” for them and agrees to be held financially responsible. In some cases, where the parent does not have contact or custody with the teen, then “vicarious liability” may not hold a parent liable for damage the teen inflicts.

Other states like California have “statutory liability” laws, which does not see the parent as negligent in anyway, but are still liable for their child’s accident by law. For example, a parent can be held liable for their teenager’s accident if they gave them permission to drive their vehicle and they caused an accident.

Other states require that the parents sign off on their teen driver’s license application, in which case the parent automatically assumes liability should their child cause a car accident.

Negligent Entrustment and Oversight

Some states, including New Jersey, can find a parent liable for their teenager’s car accident if they knew their child was a danger to others while driving. For example, if the parents allowed their child to drive their car even after numerous accidents and little experience, then the parents could be held liable for damages.

Negligent oversight is a bit different, in that it occurs when the parent knows that their child takes their car without permission but allows it to happen anyway. In other words, the parent does not do enough to keep the vehicle away from the child, and should an accident occur, can be held liable.

Car Insurance and Teen Drivers

Car insurance more so covers the policy holder’s vehicle rather than the policy holder themselves, so should your teenager use your car with your permission and gets into an accident, more than likely your insurance will cover them.

However, if you did not give your child permission to drive your car, things may be a bit difficult to have them covered. Normally, if it is a one-time incident, the accident will be covered under parental liability insurance. But if it is an ongoing issue, the parents could be on the hook for the accident too.

Parents may feel that, instead of placing their kid under their insurance policy, they would purchase one for their child alone and perhaps save some money. However, the child is still considered a minor when they are younger than 18, so a parent would still be on the hook for an accident. Some states disallow a teenager to own their own car or have their own insurance policy as well.

No-Fault Insurance in New Jersey

New Jersey, like other states, has a “no-fault” insurance law, meaning all cars registered in New Jersey must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP). It also means that in the event of an accident you would file a claim with your own insurance company, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This applies to teenage drivers as well. So, if a teenager driver is under a parent’s insurance policy, then the policy should cover the damages, even if the teenager was at fault. There would be no coverage, however, should the teen be performing a criminal act and got into an accident.

What Damages Can a Parent Be Held Liable For?

A driver or passenger that was injured because of a teenage driver can put the driver’s parents or guardian responsible for:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering, either mentally or physically, that resulted from the accident and impacts a person’s quality of life
  • Property damage, including vehicle damage and related costs.
  • Reimbursement for loss of income and any loss of earning capacity.

Some states place a cap on the amount of money a parent must pay should their teenager cause an accident, but even this rule has an exception, like in the event that the teenager acted criminally or the parent knowingly allowed the child to drive with a history of accidents.

If your teenager gets into a car accident, you may have many questions, including who is liable for the damages. More than likely, as a parent, you would have to pay for the damages, or your insurance company. However, car accidents are not always that easy, especially if someone is injured. They require careful attention to details and a reputable car accident lawyer to help navigate the claim and protect your rights.

The Car Accident Lawyers in Highland Park at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Families and Teenage Drivers

If your teenager got into a car accident, you may have questions concerning how to handle it and what to do next. Call our car accident lawyers in Highland Park at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr right away. Our skilled and knowledgeable team has years of experience with cases like these and will gladly help protect the rights of you and your family. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600, or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our office located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve all communities of New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Driving Safety Tips for the Easter Holiday

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Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advise Clients Injured in Holiday Collisions.

If you had to pick the least safe holidays to drive, you might say New Year’s Day or Christmas. In reality, the long Easter weekend isn’t far behind other major holidays in car accidents. In fact, Easter is the fourth deadliest holiday for driving, with a large percentage of fatalities taking place around New Jersey and nearby states.

What Makes Easter a Hazardous Time to Drive?

Most people would never assume that Easter driving could be so treacherous. Nevertheless, looking at a few specifics reveals why Easter ranks so highly among high-risk driving holidays.

  • Weather: The changeable weather patterns of springtime can catch drivers unaware. Snow, sleet, fog, rain, and sun glare can all contribute to making spring driving treacherous
  • Animals: After February, many animals, including deer, begin to forage. If a deer runs in front of your car, you can try to stop suddenly to avoid hitting the deer. However, the person behind you, unable to see the animal darting into the road, could wind up rear-ending your vehicle. Rear-end accidents are often linked to driver injuries like broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and whiplash.
  • Drinking: Many families serve alcoholic beverages as part of their Easter celebrations. The long Easter weekend can also be a time for friends to get together at bars on Friday and Saturday nights. As you can imagine, the more people who drink alcohol, the higher the chance of drunk drivers on the road.
  • Aggression: Unfortunately, aggressive driving still happens during holidays. Everything from congested traffic to speeding can set the stage for possible collisions.
  • Inexperienced Drivers: Plenty of teens and young people get their driver’s licenses as the weather begins to warm up. As a result, they may be driving for the first time during the spring months. Remember that many schools have a week-long spring break around Easter, which adds to the number of inexperienced drivers on the highway.

How Can I Stay Safe On the Road During Easter?

Easter does not have to end up being a time of frustration or difficulty for you or your family, of course. The way to reduce your chances of being in an Easter weekend collision is to take defensive action beforehand. The following recommendations should help you stay in better control of your driving.

Slow Down

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to rush around during the Easter weekend. After all, you want to do so many things. However, your best bet is to take it slowly. And not just on the roads, either. Remain vigilant even in parking lots. Parking lot crashes may not be deadly as frequently as road-going accidents, but they can still ruin your Easter break.

Avoid Peak Driving Periods

You can probably guess when peak Easter driving periods may be, especially if you have lived in your New Jersey community for a while. Accordingly, switch up your schedule to leave earlier or later than you might otherwise. Moving your departure time by just 30 minutes can have a positive impact on how many other drivers will be sharing the road.

Stay Overnight

Do you plan to drink alcohol during Easter? If you do not, have a designated driver to ensure you get home safely, consider staying overnight at a family member’s or friend’s house. That way, you can be certain that you will never drive buzzed or drunk.

Use a Rideshare to Travel

Maybe you feel less confident about driving during Easter this year but you still want to get to a celebration. Instead of worrying, use a rideshare app or a taxi service. Letting a rideshare driver take you around means one less thing to think about.

Ditch the Distractions

Do not allow distractions like your phone to keep you from focusing on your driving. This Easter, put your phone away in a bag or your vehicle’s console or glove compartment. That way, it will be out of sight and less likely to distract you.

Get Your Car a Checkup

Has it been awhile since you checked your car’s oil levels, topped off the fluids, or examined the tires? Spring presents the ideal chance to make sure your car is in the best shape possible. As a bonus, take your car to the car wash for a post-winter scrub-down. Pay special attention to your exterior mirrors and lights.

Rely on Weather Forecasts

Even if the sun is shining and the day seems mild, keep an eye on the weather throughout your Easter travels. Storms can pop up without warning and the temperature can dip, too. Even a little bit of rain can leave a road surface slicker than you might have assumed.

Know Where Road Construction Is Happening

If you drive long enough, you will find yourself in construction-related traffic jams. Fortunately, many apps now track where and when construction is occurring. Staying up to date on construction zones will give you the opportunity to switch your route.

Stay Calm in the Event of a Car Accident

No matter how good or pragmatic of a driver you are, you might still find yourself in an Easter weekend accident. In that case, follow the basic steps that you would if you crashed any other time of year.

  • Try to get your car off the road if you can move it safely.
  • Contact 911 right away to report the accident.
  • Exchange basic information with the other driver.
  • Take photos or videos to document the accident.
  • Give emergency responders the facts so the police can generate a report.
  • Avoid taking blame, even if you think that you are at fault.
  • Get checked out by medical personnel, either at the site or promptly at a hospital, to identify any injuries caused by the accident.
  • Call your insurance company and start the claims process.

If it seems like you are getting nowhere with insurance providers after the accident or your injuries are extensive, you may want to call a car accident lawyer. Car accident lawyers work with clients who have been seriously hurt in crashes. Often, lawyers can help accident survivors get larger settlement offers than they would have received otherwise.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advise Clients Injured in Holiday Collisions

After an Easter break crash, you do not have to wait to call the Highland Park car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our team is available to arrange an appointment right away. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online. We serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

 

 

Are Rollover Car Accidents with a Sunroof More Dangerous?

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Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Involved in Rollover Crashes.

Many drivers appreciate having a sunroof to add a sense of openness to the interior of a car or SUV. Whether or not the sunroof opens or remains closed all the time, it can add to the aesthetics and comfort of a short errand or a long trip.

However, a big question pops up from time to time: Do panoramic sunroofs put drivers and passengers at greater risk of injury during a rollover car accident? Many organizations, including large organizations such as Consumer Reports and independent researchers, have sought for answers.

Before looking at the findings, you should know more about the facts surrounding rollover accidents.

What Is a Rollover Crash?

A rollover crash is exactly what it sounds like. During the accident, the vehicle begins to roll over. Some rollovers involve just one 180-degree turn with the car landing on its roof. Others may go through several rolls before stopping, particularly if the vehicle is rolling down a slope such as a highway embankment.

Fortunately, rollover accidents happen relatively rarely. Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that less than three percent of all accidents are rollovers. This is good news. The bad news is that rollovers account for around one-third of accident fatalities.

What makes rollovers so deadly? Drivers and passengers are at higher chance of experiencing one or more of the following severe personal injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injuries: Any damage to the skull and brain can be life-altering.
  • Severe lacerations: Objects may fly around in a vehicle that is rolling, leading people trapped inside to suffer from cuts and contusions.
  • Neck and spinal cord damage: Anything from herniated disks and whiplash to temporary and permanent paralysis can happen to the survivor of a rollover accident.
  • Broken bones, torn soft tissues, and organ damage: The human body can only endure a certain amount of intense jostling before experiencing damage to internal tissues and organs.

Even in rollover scenarios that do not result in fatalities, survivors may face extensive and expensive medical treatment.

Does a Sunroof Affect Injury Risk during a Rollover?

If you picture a rollover, you will start to realize that the vehicle roof will be hit at least once if not many times. This is where concerns about the integrity of the sunroof come into play. Namely, does the presence of a sunroof increase the likelihood of drivers and passengers being severely injured or killed during a rollover collision?

Car manufacturers have thought about that very concern, which is one of the reasons they spend so much time focusing on roof strength. Their efforts to use superior steel to design and manufacture all types of roofs help to negate any influence a sunroof might have. Even tests from the IIHS indicate that having a sunroof does not make a rollover worse for the occupants.

What about the possibility of shattered glass cutting you or someone else during a rollover? Carmakers like to choose laminated glass for modern sunroofs for that reason. Laminated glass holds together and does not turn into sharp pieces as tempered glass does. Although the glass will break into tiny pieces, it has little chance of hurting anyone.

Another way that carmakers are trying to protect rollover accident survivors is through installation of roof airbags. Roof airbags are not in common use yet, but some brands are experimenting with them. They are also experimenting with high-tech accident detection warning systems that automatically close a roof in the event of a crash.

Can You Take Steps to Prevent Injury during a Rollover?

You are probably relieved to know that your sunroof is unlikely to be a factor if you get into a rollover accident. However, you can still be hurt if your vehicle rolls over. To minimize your chances of ending up with a serious injury post-collision, take some steps.

  • Use your seat belt every ride. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), people who do not wear seat belts are 10 times more likely to get hurt in a collision. Even if you are only driving a mile down the road, always buckle up. The most severe rollover injuries tend to be related to driver or passenger ejections.
  • Consider the type of vehicle you drive. Some vehicles are more likely to roll over after an accident than others. When you purchase your next vehicle, you may want to investigate its rollover risk.
  • Choose a vehicle with a sunroof made from laminated glass. You might be tempted to buy an older car with a sunroof. Is the sunroof made from tempered glass or safer laminated glass? Remember that laminated glass will shatter but stay somewhat together.
  • Ask about upgrades such as roof airbags and accident detection systems. When speaking with a dealer about buying a newer model vehicle, ask about available upgrades and add-ons that could protect you and your passengers if a rollover occurs.

What About Exploding and Defective Sunroofs?

When talking about accidents and sunroofs, it makes sense to bring up the topic of exploding sunroof glass. Again, these types of incidents are somewhat rare. They happen when the sunroof glass shatters without warning and not during an accident.

Although it is unlikely that your sunroof will explode when you are parked or driving, you should know that you might have trouble getting it fixed. Your insurance may or may not cover the cost of replacing a sunroof that shatters on its own.

Defective sunroofs are another story and may come into play during a rollover or other accident. A sunroof can be defective for any number of reasons, such as an improper installment, lamination issue, or lack of quality of materials used in the product’s construction. Therefore, if you get into any kind of accident and your sunroof does not behave as expected, you may have grounds for investigating whether it was defective.

However, proving that a sunroof is deficient may take a little work. It may also complicate your insurance claims process. If you were hurt in a rollover or other accident and believe that your sunroof contributed to your injuries or even property loss, you may want to talk to a car accident lawyer. Having a conversation about your experience can help you figure out how to move forward based on the law and your rights as someone in an accident.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Involved in Rollover Crashes

If you were injured after being in an accident in which the vehicle rolled over, reach out to the Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to recover full and fair compensation for your damages. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Who Is Liable in a Semi-Autonomous Car Accident?

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Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Recover from a Semi-Autonomous Crash.

Driverless cars once sounded like science fiction. Today, so-called self-driving vehicles are becoming more of a reality. Manufacturers and businesses are experimenting with this technology for many purposes, including the transportation of goods, services, and even people. As of 2021, more than 80 brands have begun to test self-driving vehicles.

 

Yet what happens if you get hurt after being involved in a car accident that involves a semi-autonomous vehicle? Who is liable? The answer may not always seem obvious. However, courts, legislators, and car accident lawyers are paving the way to help people who have been injured in accidents understand and exercise their rights.

 

How Do Semi-Autonomous Vehicles Work?

 

When you picture a semi-autonomous vehicle, you might imagine a vehicle that drives on its own without any guidance. That is not quite true, which is the reason for the term semi-autonomous instead of autonomous. Sometimes, an offsite safety driver is working behind the scenes to monitor the decisions of the vehicle’s self-driving software. The safety driver evaluates everything from a screen. Other times, a driver might be in the vehicle but allowing the electronic system to do all the work. The idea is that the human can serve as a backup.

 

This sounds fair and reasonable in theory. In real life, human backups and safety drivers have not always been reliable.

 

For example, one car manufacturer offers what it calls Autopilot in some of its vehicles. The Autopilot feature is supposed to act somewhat like an all-inclusive cruise control. In other words, the driver is still supposed to be watching the road. Regrettably, some drivers have chosen to allow Autopilot to do all the work while they do something else even though they are behind the wheel or in the vehicle.

 

Offsite safety drivers who are supposed to monitor vehicles from remote locations can act irresponsibly as well. One case currently working its way through the court system involves an accident that happened when a semi-autonomous rideshare vehicle crashed. Allegedly, the safety driver who was supposed to focus attention on the vehicle’s reactions was distracted and watching an entertainment program. This left the people in the rideshare at greater risk than they assumed, according to allegations against the safety driver.

 

What Ways Can Fault Be Determined in Semi-Autonomous Car Accidents?

 

You can see how complicated the process of determining fault can be when dealing with a semi-autonomous car accident. Over the past few years, car accident lawyers have named many different parties in cases, including the car manufacturer, the inventor of the technology, and the behind-the-scenes safety driver. Even a parts manufacturer, such as the company that created the self-guiding system, could be named in a lawsuit.

 

Therefore, what is the best way to determine the negligent party or parties? A good rule is to dissect the accident from beginning to end. Understanding what happened can help pinpoint liability.

 

Can I Win a Semi-Autonomous Accident Case in New Jersey if I Share the Fault?

 

Not all accidents are 100 percent the fault of one driver or entity. What happens if you get into a serious accident with a semi-autonomous vehicle but were partly responsible for the crash? In this situation, you should know more about New Jersey’s contributory negligence laws.

 

Contributory negligence allows fault to be divided appropriately between the plaintiff and defendant. As long as you are not more than half responsible for causing the accident, you could be awarded damages. Your damages would simply be modified to reflect your percentage of fault.

 

Here is how New Jersey’s contributory negligence laws could work in a semi-autonomous accident: You are going faster than the speed limit on a highway. A semi-autonomous vehicle sideswipes your car while changing lanes. This forces your car off the road, and you suffer significant injuries. You claim that the semi-autonomous driver was at fault. The court agrees but says you were at fault for going too fast. Your fault is set at 40 percent, and you are awarded damages of $100,000. Since you shared 40 percent fault, your damages would be reduced by 40 percent and you would receive $60,000 instead.

 

Not all states have contributory negligence laws in place. New Jersey’s laws assist you in being able to receive damages even if you contributed to the accident.

 

What Should I Do after Being Involved in a Semi-Autonomous Accident?

 

Getting into any accident can be unsettling. Getting into an accident with a self-autonomous vehicle can be extra strange, particularly if the vehicle does not have a driver inside. Nevertheless, follow a few typical rules just as you would after getting into any type of accident.

 

  • Make sure you call 911 immediately to report the incident to the local authorities and prompt emergency medical help if you or someone else is hurt.
  • Move your vehicle to the safest possible location unless it would be hazardous to do so.
  • Get medical attention onsite or as soon as you can, even if you think you are okay.
  • Exchange pertinent information with the safety driver of the semi-autonomous vehicle, if one is available.
  • Document the scene with photos, videos, and even notes so you can recall the incident later.
  • Describe what happened to the authorities when they arrive, but try not to assign blame.
  • Contact your insurance company to let them know what happened, but do not agree to give any formal statements about the accident until you speak with a lawyer.
  • Keep detailed records of all bills, receipts, and other items to put a figure behind the economic damages associated with your accident.
  • Get in touch with a local car accident lawyer who practices law in the state where you had your accident.

 

Because laws and cases involving semi-autonomous vehicle crashes are just beginning to evolve, maintain a high level of caution before accepting any settlement offers from insurance companies or third parties. Speaking with a car accident lawyer during a free consultation does not obligate you to hire the attorney. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about the choices available to you.

 

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Recover from a Semi-Autonomous Crash

 

If you were injured after being in an accident with a semi-autonomous vehicle, reach out to the Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to recover full and fair compensation for your damages. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

 

How Can I Drive Safely on St. Patrick’s Day?

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Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Recover from a Drunk Driving Car Accident .

St. Patrick’s Day is a very popular drinking holiday that occurs this year on Thursday, March 17. You might be among the many planning to do a fun pub crawl and enjoy some adult beverages. If so, it would be best not to drive.

Drunk driving accounts for about a third of all car accident fatalities in the United States. Approximately 80 percent of motorists who are arrested on St. Patrick’s Day have a blood-alcohol content that is about double the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

If your plans include driving your vehicle on St. Patrick’s Day, the following could help you to drive safely and avoid a DUI arrest, or worse.

Stay Sober or Find Another Driver

The most obvious way to drive safely on St. Patrick’s Day is to avoid drinking and stay alert. If you do not mind driving your inebriated friends from one bar to the next, you could have a very fun time doing a sober pub crawl.

If you intend to drink, you should have someone else do the driving. When a designated driver is unavailable, you could take a cab or use a ride-hailing service to get to your next destination.

The cost of using a taxi or other paid service is relatively low when you have two or more people splitting the cost. But it could be difficult to get a cab quickly on a busy bar night like St. Patrick’s Day.

Public transportation is another viable option that could be very convenient and very affordable. You just need to stay reasonably sober and watch out for people who might prey on those who have been drinking heavily.

Think Strategically and Plan Ahead

Whether you intend to participate in a pub crawl or have other plans for St. Patrick’s Day, it helps to make a strategic plan to drive to where you need to go. Determining the best way to and from your chosen destinations could help you and your passengers stay safe.

You should have a good idea of which streets are going to be busy. Instead of using busy streets, you might have alternate routes available that would enable you to bypass heavy traffic, drunk drivers, and the police.

You might plan to go to one or more places that are popular and hold special parties for the Irish holiday. If so, you should have a plan for where you are going to park and how to get in and out easily. Parking in well-lit areas improves safety.

Reduce Your Potential Distractions

If you are driving, you should do your best to keep potential distractions at a minimum. You should turn off the cellphone and keep the audio at a reasonable volume.

New Jersey bans any cellphone use by drivers. You cannot even talk on a cellphone while using a hands-free device, unless it is an emergency. Therefore, if someone is trying to reach your group while you are driving, one of your passengers should take the call.

Any passengers should try to act like adults and avoid loud or obnoxious behavior that could distract you. That might be difficult if one or more passengers becomes very drunk.

Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

An exciting St. Patrick’s Day celebration could be more exhausting than you might imagine. The excitement of being with friends and meeting other people in packed pubs could make you tired and affect your focus while driving.

Also, if you do have a drink or two during the evening, an empty stomach and dehydration could make it easier to become impaired. You need to eat well prior to going out and stay hydrated with non-alcoholic drinks. Juice and water are your best friends.

Some places might offer shepherd’s pie or other traditional Irish foods for visitors. You should take advantage of any free food service offered and order some as well. What you save by not drinking could go toward quality food that helps to keep you nourished throughout the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Guard Your Group’s Drinks

A sad fact is that there are bad people in this world. A busy and popular drinking holiday like St. Patrick’s Day might encourage someone to slip a drug into a drink. That makes it important to guard your drinks.

If you are with a group of people, at least one person should monitor the drinks at all times. If you are going to walk around, you should take your drink with you.

Whether you are carrying a drink or have one sitting on the bar or at a table, you should keep it where you can see it. That is the best way to stop someone from slipping a drug into your drink and possibly robbing you after you stagger out of the bar.

Dram Shop Law Might Apply in Drunk Driving Accidents

Even when you are perfectly sober and abiding by all traffic laws, someone else might not. If a drunk driver crashes into your car, the liability might extend beyond that motorist.

New Jersey’s dram shop law makes it illegal to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated. Also, it always is illegal to serve someone under the legal drinking age.

If another motorist got visibly drunk at a bar or another establishment that serves alcohol, the owners and operators of that establishment might be liable for damages. If the motorist attended a private party where alcohol was served, the owner of that property also might be liable for damages.

The dram shop act holds owners and servers accountable for enabling someone to become drunk. If that person drives and causes an accident, the liability could be very severe.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Recover from a Drunk Driving Car Accident

If you were seriously hurt or lost a loved one in a car accident because of an impaired driver, reach out to the Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our experienced legal team can help you prove your case and recover full and fair compensation. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.