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Manhattan Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

How does poor sleep affect someone's driving?

There are a lot of very tired drivers out there on the roads. By and large, Americans today are running on fumes. We're so sleep deprived that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared sleep loss an epidemic problem. That's not any kind of exaggeration when you consider the fact that 70% of adults admit that they have trouble sleeping at least once a month and 11% suffer from problems sleeping every single night.

So how does a lack of sleep (or quality sleep) affect someone's driving? Because of the way that sleep deprivation affects the human brain, tired drivers may:

  • Get moody or irritable: This can show up as poor impulse control and lead to situations where a tired driver starts to respond irrationally to minor traffic problems and puts other people in danger through their aggressive driving.
  • Show poor executive functioning: A driver whose reasoning skills are suffering is more likely to make poor decisions on the road, like switching lanes without an assured clear distance or running a red light because they don't register the need to stop.
  • Evidence poor reaction times: A lack of sleep simply makes it harder for someone to react to hazards in the road or changing traffic conditions in a timely manner, which can easily lead to wrecks.

A helmet may save your life

Motorcyclists are at a primary risk for many types of injuries when they're struck by a vehicle. These range from things like road rash that are troublesome but not life threatening up to injuries like those to the brain that can be fatal.

One of the most effective ways that you can protect your brain is to wear a helmet. Unfortunately, not everyone does this when they ride. In California, it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet for passengers and drivers. It is also illegal for a passenger to ride with an un-helmeted driver.

Are self-driving trucks in our future?

You've heard of so-called "autonomous vehicles." Maybe you've even seen one or two on the road. But are you ready for self-driving trucks?

Since 2017, Waymo Via has been testing autonomous trucking in California, as well as Georgia and parts of the Southwest. A combination of sensors, radar and cameras is supposed to allow the trucks and minivans outfitted with the technology to "see" distances up to three football fields in length. Algorithms aim to calculate where everything on the road is going and tell the truck how to avoid collisions.

Hurt in a wreck? Beware these insurance company tricks

If you've been injured in a wreck, remember this: Insurance adjusters are not your friends. Figuring out a way to devalue your claim is what they do for a living.

With that in mind, here are some of the favorite tactics in use by insurance companies:

What types of rehabilitation therapy help after an accident?

Rehabilitation therapy is the number one way that people regain some of their lost abilities following a traumatic injury. If you or your loved one are starting down the long road of recovery following a car wreck or some other serious accident, it's smart to learn as much as you can about your options.

What types of rehabilitation therapy are there?

Laws surrounding bicycles are meant to increase safety

Bicycling through the streets of California is a healthy way to get around and enjoy some of the beautiful sights. For those who are going to take a ride, it's essential to follow the rules of the road. Not only can this help you to keep you safe but it can avoid legal troubles, too.

Some motorists aren't familiar with the rules of the road for bicyclists. This can pose a problem because they don't know what bicyclists are allowed to do so there's a chance that they'll impede upon your right of way. You should make sure that you're clearly visible to motorists, which means having the required lights and reflectors on your bicycle.

What are 'ghost bikes' and why do they matter?

"Part memorial, part protest." That's the best way to sum up the meaning of a ghost bike. Painted white and chained to a stationary object at the site where yet another cyclist lost their life in a traffic accident, these bikes are, at once, a form of street art, a call for change and a place for people to grieve their lost loved ones or fellow cyclists.

The practice started in St. Louis in 2003 and has become a global phenomenon in the years since. Once quickly removed by the local authorities (as soon as they were noticed, anyhow), these silent testaments to shattered lives are now likely to be treated with the reverence associated with other roadside memorials.

How to fight sun glare when you're on the road

Got an early commute? Heading off for a drive in the evening? Either way, these lovely summer days present a familiar hazard to drivers in California. The sun glare can be fierce -- and that can make it particularly difficult for drivers who are stuck driving into the sun during the early morning or at sunset.

Since the last thing you want to do is to spoil your day with a car accident, it's smart to think ahead. Here are some tips that can help you avoid a problem:

  1. Clean out your visor and use it. If you're one of those people who constantly stuff receipts above your visor, clear them out so you can drop the visor whenever necessary. That can help block out the brightest part of the sun as you travel.
  2. Make sure your windshield is in good shape. Dirt, chips and cracks can cause refraction that makes the glare from the sun even worse, so you want to eliminate those as much as possible.
  3. Invest in some polarized sunglasses. If you normally wear glasses, get clip-ons that you can wear in your car, if nowhere else. They won't eliminate glare entirely, but it will help your eyes handle the strain.
  4. Flip on your headlights. This isn't for you so much as for other drivers. Your lights make you more visible in the daylight, which is important if the glare causes you to weave over the center line.
  5. Slow down. You need to give other drivers more space. They may also be struggling with the glare -- which could lead to sudden stops. Increase your following distance so that you don't accidentally rear-end someone.

Which drivers ignore pedestrians more often than others?

When you're walking around town, does it seem like some drivers treat you like you're virtually invisible? Do you find yourself quick-stepping your way through crossings or jumping up on curbs to avoid being hit?

You aren't alone. Most pedestrians know that you can't always count on drivers to give you the right-of-way, even if they're supposed to. A recent study shows that the odds a driver will yield to a pedestrian depend on three different factors: The gender of the walker, the race of the walker and the value of the driver's car. In fact, of the three factors, it's the car's value that is most predictive.

Cyclists: Remember these safety tips

People are starting to pull their bikes out of storage for the summer, and it's no coincidence that May is National Bicycle Safety Month. As such, both the Office of Traffic Safety and the California Highway Patrol have been reminding people in this state to be a little extra cautious out there on the roads.

Everyone should remember the following safety tips:

  • If you're on a bike, wear a helmet. Technically, you're only required to have one if you're under 18 years of age, but it's really a good idea to use one no matter how old you may be. If you have an accident, that helmet is the only thing between your head and some very hard concrete.
  • Stay on the right side of the road. Cyclists are expected to obey traffic rules, just like those in vehicles. Keep to the right, obey stop signs and traffic lights and use appropriate signals when you're making turns.
  • Stay alert. If you're on a bike, keep at least one ear free from your headphones so that you can stay alert to traffic conditions. If you're in a passenger vehicle, make sure that you're scanning the road for bikes and looking over your shoulder before you turn.
  • Don't open a car door into the road without looking -- especially if there's a bike lane. Abruptly opening a car door into a cyclist's path can cause a serious, debilitating accident.
  • Avoid distractions. Distracted driving is a national problem, and you can be distracted by everything from your morning coffee to your own wandering thoughts. Stay focused on the road.
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