Summer Roads Words of Warning as the Season Winds On
As a lawyer, it’s easy to come off as an overly cautious person. Just hearing an attorney talk about road safety can give people the impression that we should all spend our lives in bubble wrap. But, for context, lawyers spend most of their days working with people who have had their lives irrevocably changed by a single accident. Maybe they said the wrong thing to a police officer, or perhaps they didn’t wear a helmet while biking. Working to represent these folks teaches us a lot about how a little carelessness can cause big problems. So, knowing the caricature of “overcautious” lawyer, I’ll try to avoid getting too hyperbolic about these late-summer safety tips. Still, as laid back as August can feel in our neck of the woods, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of hazards, especially on the road. With kids going back to school, we’ll all be sharing the streets with school buses, student drivers, and kids riding their bikes. The added pedestrian traffic must also be considered, especially in school zones. I drive through one every day on my way to work, and this time of year, I usually see someone pulled over for not slowing down while the lights were flashing. Some may balk at getting an expensive ticket for going what was the speed limit less than a month ago. But, when you consider why those school zones are there in the first place, a ticket is the least harsh consequence you could have faced. School kids aren’t the only ones drivers should be aware of — plenty of cyclists and motorcyclists are still out enjoying the last of
the warm weather. Be sure to keep an eye out for these riders. So often on the road, we tend to scan for other cars and fail to take cyclists into account. If you are a rider yourself, wearing reflective gear even while it’s sunny out can go a long way to remind drivers to watch out for you. Also, remember that all the rules of the road still apply for you, even if you don’t have a motor. If an accident happens while you’re going against the flow of traffic or because you pedaled through a stop sign, you may face legal consequences on top of your injuries. Most of this advice boils down to paying attention on the road. Even if the law might define “distracted driving” as cellphone-
related, the truth is that a huge variety of factors can lead us to not pay attention while behind the wheel. Even daydreaming and a dirty windshield can put you and others at risk. So, at a time when so many of us are sharing the road, it pays to be a little more cautious than your average Joe.
-Tom Wil son
www.wilson-law-office-elkhart.com | 1
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