Jump to Navigation

Nitro Legal Blog

Staying Safe While Driving In Winter Weather

Drivers in West Virginia are accustomed to winter weather on the roads, but there are a few tips that they can keep in mind to stay safe. Sometimes, it seems as though winter weather can encroach upon an area with little warning. Fortunately, many vehicles have new technology to help in keeping the vehicle and driver safe while many drivers are able to carefully maintain control of the steering wheel while on the road.

Before getting on the road, drivers can check the local forecast to see if there is any winter weather predicted. Cars can be warmed before they are driven, but they shouldn't be left to run in an enclosed area to decrease the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If there is a storm in the forecast, then waiting for it to pass is often the best option. Some cities will alert drivers about roads that are impassable after a storm passes through.

Causes of coal mine explosions

A massive explosion tragically killed at least 25 miners in West Virginia in 2010, making it at that time the worst coal mine accident in over 20 years. Officials believe that methane gas may have caused the mine to explode. Coal mine explosions are generally caused by either methane or coal dust. Methane gas is a byproduct of coal. It can build up over time in coal mines when there are not enough other types of gases to dilute it to prevent an explosion.

Air can explode when it contains 5 to 15 percent methane. Explosions happen when the methane comes in contact with a heat source. The combustion process causes air inside the mine to expand which can create a shock wave. The most common method to control methane levels in coal mines is ventilation. Methane levels in coal mines are supposed to be kept below 1 percent. Unfortunately, there are areas that are difficult to reach.

Inspection blitz reveals negligent truck maintenance

Drivers in Nevada may be troubled by reports that a significant number of commercial trucks are operating with poorly maintained brakes in violation of safety regulations. Because semi-trucks are so large and heavy, other passengers and drivers in smaller vehicles face a significantly higher risk of serious injury or even death in the case of a truck accident. If a truck's brakes are negligently maintained, the driver may not be able to stop in time in case of an emergency, leading to a catastrophic situation.

Nevertheless, brake maintenance negligence continues to pose a safety threat on the road. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted an inspection spree called Brake Safety Week in September 2018; it followed a similar event one year earlier. In another June inspection blitz, brake issues comprised 28 percent of all serious violations. However, the one-day event in 2017 found so many violations that the organization extended its inspections over a full week in 2018. During the 2018 event, over 14 percent of all of the trucks inspected were ordered off the roads due to braking safety violations. Out of 35,080 trucks inspected across North America during the week, 4,955 had problems so serious that they were placed out of service.

Can an insurer deny my car accident claim?

Television ads portray insurance companies as advocates for your best interests, standing up for you at your most vulnerable moments. You certainly want to believe this, but the truth is that insurance companies are like any business whose goal is to bring in as much money as possible and pay out as little as possible. Unfortunately, those vulnerable moments are the worst time to discover this about your insurer.

If you have been injured in an accident in West Virginia, you will likely contact your own insurance company for coverage as well as pursuing coverage through the insurer of the other driver. You have a better chance of getting faster results from your own insurer while waiting for a settlement from the other company. However, what happens if your insurer denies your claim? You will need to find out if the denial is legitimate or just a way to avoid paying what they owe you.

Tips for safe driving in bright sunlight

The following are a few proven safety tips that drivers in West Virginia can consider the next time they are traveling in direct sunlight. The early mornings and late afternoons are especially dangerous as the brightness of the rising or setting sun can cause visual illusions. Individuals raise their risk of a life-threatening accident by 16 percent when driving in such conditions.

Drivers should therefore avoid heading out when the sun is at its brightest. If they cannot avoid it, they could try waiting a few minutes until the sun has completely risen or set below the horizon. If the rays hurt their eyes or impede their driving in any other way, drivers can exit the road and wait 10 or 15 minutes for the sun to reposition. Keeping a greater distance from the car in front is also essential as bright sunlight reduces reaction times.

Avoiding fatigued and distracted driving

It is an unfortunate fact that hundreds of thousands of truck accidents occur every single year, and many of those collisions are the result of tired and distracted drivers. That is why commercial drivers throughout West Virginia and the rest of the country should stay focused and alert while on the road. A minor distraction can lead to a life-altering collision that every CDL holder must try to avoid at all costs.

Even commercial drivers who adhere to all state and federal laws can put themselves in dangerous situations. After driving on monotonous roads for hours, some drivers experience "micro-sleeps" for up to 15 seconds. Others begin to fiddle with their radios or check their smartphones every few minutes, and those distractions sometimes result in major accidents. Those are just a few of the reasons why companies like Omnitrac, SmartDrive and Nauto are developing advanced driver monitoring systems.

Keeping surfaces free from ice

Ice on a sidewalk or other outdoor surface can increase the risk of a slip-and-fall accident. This could result in business or property owners in West Virginia and throughout the country being taken to court. One common method of getting rid of ice is to lay salt down on wet and frozen surfaces. This will either melt existing ice or prevent it from developing.

When laying rock salt or other materials, it is important to spread it evenly. Doing so can help to protect the concrete it is being spread on while helping to protect those walking on it. Those who have wood steps may also want to use salt sparingly as it can eat away at them. It may also be worthwhile to use a sprayer or other tool to put the salt on the ground as it could dry out skin.

Months of winter driving are upon you once again

Before you know it, the holidays will be here, and with them could come sleet, snow and ice. Living in West Virginia for any length of time could desensitize you to inclement weather, which could result in issues when it returns.

During the summer months, you probably forget about how to drive in winter weather. After all, who wants to think about how annoying it can be to travel under those circumstances when the sun is shining and you are wearing shorts? For this reason, it might be a good idea to enjoy a short review regarding driving safely in the winter.

As truck crashes rise, some push for rule on crash avoidance tech

More and more people in West Virginia and across the U.S. are dying in large truck crashes. Federal data shows a 28 percent rise in such fatalities from 2009 to 2016. This has led many groups to call for a federal ruling mandating the use of crash avoidance systems on all heavy trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board has been making similar recommendations since the late 1990s.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to propose any regulations along those lines. The NTSB criticizes NHTSA for ignoring its recommendations and thus doing nothing about truck crash trends. Only a small percentage of trucking companies implement crash avoidance tech, but those that do say that it can prevent more than 7 out of 10 rear-end collisions as well as reduce the severity of any that occur.

2017 saw rise in fatal large truck crashes, says NHTSA

Large trucks continue to be a danger to other drivers in West Virginia. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that in 2017, all types of traffic fatalities declined in number except large truck crash fatalities. Whether or not truckers or the other side are to blame for most of these accidents is another matter, though one worthy of consideration.

NHTSA's report on car crashes in 2017 simply lays out the statistics. Altogether, the number of people killed in traffic crashes went down by 1.8 percent from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017. Passenger vehicle, motorcycle and pedestrian fatalities saw a 1.4, 3.1 and 1.7 percent decrease, respectively. Bicyclist deaths saw the most difference with an 8.1 percent drop. Fatal crashes due to speeding or distracted driving also declined.

Office Location

2801 First Avenue . PO Box 216 . Nitro, WV 25143-1602 . Map & Directions