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Manhattan Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

Autistic California teen dies in golf cart crash at school

Authorities in Orange, California, are investigating how a severely autistic boy was able to take a school golf cart for a ride after the teen crashed the cart on campus and died from his injuries.

A family representative said the Orange Unified School District is liable for his death because the keys were left in the golf cart.

How to safely drive a motorcycle on a highway

Operating a motorcycle at high speed, such as on a highway, can be a nerve-racking experience. However, the more time you spend on the road the more confidence you'll gain.

Here are five tips to help you safely drive your motorcycle on a highway:

  • Be careful at merge points: Many accidents occur at merge points, as you attempt to get your motorcycle up to the speed of the traffic that's already established. Signal early, match the speed of the other vehicles and check your blind spot one last time before merging.
  • Stay alert: Even when traffic is light, you must stay alert. Maybe a vehicle changes lanes in front of you without signaling. Maybe traffic suddenly comes to a stop ahead. Or maybe there's debris on the road. When you're alert, it's easier to make a split second decision to prevent an accident.
  • Follow the speed limit: It's safe to say that your motorcycle is one of the fastest vehicles on the road, but that doesn't mean you should violate the speed limit. Other drivers may do so, but you shouldn't follow suit. It's safest to follow the speed limit and drive in the right lane.
  • Make yourself visible: One of the top concerns of motorcyclists is another driver not seeing them. There are many ways to make yourself visible, such as avoiding blind spots and using your front light at all times.
  • Beware of changing weather conditions: It may be sunny when you first jump on your motorcycle, but soon enough rain and strong wind could move into the area. If this happens, alter your driving style to enhance your safety. For example, it's imperative to slow down if the road is slick or the fog is heavy.

Do seat belts really save lives?

If you're a safe driver who's never had a car accident, then you may be tempted not to wear a seat belt. You should realize that countless other motorists get behind the wheel while fatigued, distracted or intoxicated every day. Others recklessly operate their cars for no valid reason. A seat belt can save your life if you come in contact with any of these types of motorists.

Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in between 1975 and 2000 shows that seat belts saved as many as 135,000 motorists' lives. Many of those individuals who survived would likely have died had it not been for these restraints.

Looking both ways is not enough for pedestrians

Parents teach their children to look both ways before they cross the street. It's often advice that they repeat over and over again. They just want to keep them safe.

It is good advice, and parents should not stop telling their children to do it. However, it does not go far enough. Auto-pedestrian accidents just keep happening. Other important tips to make a crash less likely include the following:

  • Always use a crosswalk if you can.
  • If possible, use a light-controlled crosswalk with traffic signals.
  • Even without a crosswalk, use corners and intersections.
  • Look three times, not two: Left, right, left.
  • When crossing in front of a car, try to make eye contact with the person behind the wheel.
  • Never assume that a driver sees you.
  • Wear bright colors when walking or running near a road.
  • Do not walk with your headphones in or while looking down at your phone.
  • Wear lights or reflective clothes when walking after dark or at dusk.
  • Remember that many drivers only watch other cars and do not look for pedestrians; this is especially dangerous when they are turning left and may try to rush through a gap in the oncoming traffic.
  • Even when you have the right of way, assume drivers will make mistakes and walk defensively.
  • Never start walking when the "Don't Walk" sign has already begun flashing.

Go to the doctor after a crash, even if you don't have insurance

People with mediocre health insurance or who aren't insured often factor this into the decisions they make in daily life. Concern about injuries can inform everything from how often you drive to whether you play a pickup game of basketball with friends on the weekend. Although you may be a safe driver, you are vulnerable to the decisions that other people make on the road near you.

Whether someone chooses to send a text while merging lanes or gets behind the wheel after having a few drinks, the decisions made by other people can directly affect your life. If you don't currently have medical coverage or if your medical coverage has a high deductible, coinsurance or substantial co-pays, you may not want to go to the doctor unless it is an absolute emergency.

Confused tailgaters still cause accidents

Much of the time, tailgaters are aggressive and even angry. They ride right up on the back bumper of the car in front of them because they want to pass or they want that driver to speed up -- even if they're already going at the speed limit. Other times, they tailgate when they feel like they got cut off and it's a way to retaliate against the other driver. It may be the first step toward road rage.

These drivers are very dangerous, and they do cause accidents. That said, it's important to remember that not all tailgaters are angry or malicious. Sometimes, they're just confused about the laws or safe driving practices. They could also be completely ignorant of the danger, not understanding that it's going to be their fault if they hit the car ahead of them.

Is lane splitting legal?

Lane splitting is something that motorcyclists do to move faster than the flow of traffic around them. They drive between cars, often when those vehicles are waiting at a stoplight or in a traffic jam. The cars take up both lanes, but the small bike still has room to filter through between them and move to the front of the line.

But is this practice legal? Are motorcyclists allowed to drive like this even though they have to weave through traffic and leave the travel lanes to do it?

Back to school: Tips to avoid an accident with school-bound kids

It seems as if summer just started. It's hard to believe that the beginning of the new school year is just around the corner in Manhattan Beach and Los Angeles County school districts.

And just as kids spend the first few days of school refreshing their knowledge of already learned material, it's wise for drivers to do the same. Driving while school is in session requires extra caution.

Excuses cyclists give for not wearing helmets

Nothing does as much to protect a cyclist in an accident as a bike helmet. It can reduce the odds of head injuries, brain injuries and even death.

However, you often see cyclists braving the roads without this critical piece of equipment. Why do they do it? Here are a few of the main excuses they give:

  • They do not like the way that the helmet looks.
  • They don't like the way it feels while riding.
  • They have heard that drivers pass closer to cyclists with helmets on, potentially increasing the odds of a crash.
  • They still feel like they are in danger, with or without the helmet.
  • They feel like they ride in a safe, controlled manner and there is no reason to have a helmet on.
  • They feel like they cannot hear or see as well with one on.
  • They want to feel like they are "part of nature" and the helmet takes away from that experience.
  • They do not want to pay for an expensive helmet.
  • They have crashed repeatedly before without hitting their head, so they think it won't happen in a future crash.
  • They do not want to have "helmet hair," especially if they are commuting to work or to school.

How should you treat a concussion?

A concussion is a common brain injury that can result in a variety of physical and mental problems. If you have reason to believe you've injured your brain, such as in a motor vehicle accident, it's critical to receive immediate and ongoing treatment from a qualified medical team.

Upon presenting at the hospital with concussion-like symptoms, your doctor will run a variety of tests to better understand your injury. For example, a CT scan and MRI will give them a clear idea of what's going on.


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