The Parents' Guide To Safe Teen Driving

For a parent, a teenager finally getting their driver's license can be a double-edged sword. It’s a celebration since parents no longer have to pick up and drop off their teens from their high school sports and club events and they can now make their teens run endless errands on Sunday mornings! On the downside, parents may fall into the eternal pit of worrying about their teens’ safety on the road. After all, according to the Center For Disease and Control (CDC), more than 2,400 teens died due to car crashes, the main cause of these car accidents being driver inexperience, in 2016!

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Most teens beg for a car for their Sweet Sixteen, but Michigan parents worry more than other parents around the country because in Michigan, “if an individual is 14 years and 9 months and has successfully completed Segment 1 of an approved driver education program they may be eligible for a Level 1 Learner’s License.” Before parents start panicking that their teen is driving just after graduating from Middle School, parents should make sure that their teen is qualified and ready to drive on their own.

The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) offers parents a few tips on how to coach a teen in driving.

How To Coach Teen Drivers

  • Model Safe Driving- Teens learn what they observe. Be a good role model and follow the rules of the road.

  • Practice a lot- Practice as much as possible. You and your teen should be the only people in the vehicle.

  • Plan your routes ahead of time - While your teen is driving, be able to communicate your intentions clearly before your teen executes any of your requests. For example, "turn right" is a bad request. "Turn right at the next corner" is a better request.

  • Start simple- Learning to drive can be overwhelming - for your teen and for you. Begin with the basics, such as turning, parking and backing up. When you both feel comfortable, consider progressing to more advanced skills such as merging, changing lanes and parallel parking.

  • Start sunny- Begin practicing during the day, in good weather. As your teen improves, gradually start driving during different driving conditions, including a variety of times of day, weather and types of roads.

  • Don't rush into rush hour- Start with safe, low-risk driving conditions, such as empty parking lots and quiet rural roads. Gradually make progress to neighborhood streets with little traffic, then busier roads and highways.

  • Talk with your teen- Keep the lines of communication open so your teen feels comfortable talking with you. This builds trust and respect.

  • Take deep breaths- Remember, new drivers need a lot of practice. Making mistakes is part of learning. Remain calm and focused. Teens will show the greatest improvement in the first 1,000 miles to 5,000 miles of driving.

Of course, a few coaching tips won’t cover the wide range of environments and challenges a driver may face while on the road. So, it is very important for parents to monitor their teens’ driving and educate them on how distractions can be dangerous when driving.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) mention 3 main types of distracted driving which may affect a teen driver:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road.

  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.

  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off what you are doing.

Taking a Snapchat video, passing the aux cord, typing in a location on Google maps, texting a friend, or even drinking water or eating while driving, are all actions categorized as distracted driving. According to The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), 391,000 drivers were injured by distracted driving in 2016. What is even more terrifying is that, according to the National Safety Council, “cell phone use is now estimated to be involved in 26% of all motor vehicle crashes.”

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Nobody, especially not a teen driver, wants to deal with traffic fines for distracted driving because they had to check the notification that popped on their phone. Fines may raise car insurance rates and can even eventually lead to license suspension. And cell phone usage while driving isn’t even legal for some teens, because according to Michigan Secretary of State (SOS), Michigan law prohibits drivers who are Level 1 and Level 2 license holders under the Graduated Driver Licensing program from using a cell phone while driving. “Violations are a civil infraction and fees may be up to $240.” And no teen wants to suffer through the consequence of getting their keys taken away by their parents just before prom!

So, to avoid fines, car accidents, and to give parents peace of mind, parents should ensure that their teens are properly taught how to drive before they let them on the road by themselves. Parents can teach their teens themselves or enroll their teens into driving courses. Parents and their teens should also discuss the dangers of distracted driving as well as the seriousness of car crashes to ensure that teens understand what can go wrong if they neglect to drive with caution and full attention on the road.


While parents may face the same car accident risks and obstacles each time they get behind the wheel, they have the experience to handle road dangers that many teen drivers do not. A teen driving car crash can cause serious damage to vehicles, to the teen drivers, and to others on the road. However, The Michigan Law Firm, PC understands that teen drivers aren’t always at fault in their first car accident. Our accident attorneys handle all types of motor vehicle accident cases. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Get A Date, Not A DUI, This Valentine's Day

Being handcuffed and placed into the backseat of a police car for drunk driving can kill the romance of a Valentine’s Day date in a second.

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Picking out the most attractive outfit, spraying the most fragrant perfume, and finding the perfect dozen red roses are, of course, important parts of preparing for the perfect Valentine’s Day date. But the plan that matters most is how to get home safely after drinking a bottle of bubbly or a few Valentine-themed cocktails.

In 2014, a BACtrack report found that, “14 of the 15 biggest drinking days of the year, all of which have an average BAC of 0.08% or higher, fall between December and March.” Of these holidays, Valentine’s Day is the 3rd drunkest holiday! What is even more astonishing is that, “the day after Valentine’s Day had a high of 0.092% BAC.” So, while some people are venturing out to Meijer for 50% off Valentine’s Day candies like heart-shaped Reese’s cups and chocolate covered strawberries, others may be hitting the road after a few glasses of red wine left over from the night before.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 there were 10,847 deaths caused by drunk driving, and, “in every State, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, yet one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 48 minutes in the United States in 2017.” With Valentine’s Day falling on a Thursday this year, many individuals may want to drive home after their night of celebrating so they can wake up early and drive to work the next morning. These potential drunk drivers should know that not only are they putting themselves and others at risk of drunk driving car crashes, but they may also be endangering their driving record. The Michigan State Police (MSP) found that “annually, tens of thousands of drivers are arrested in Michigan for alcohol-related offenses.”

The MSP has a few suggestions on how to avoid drunk driving car crashes. People enjoying Valentine's Day festivities can adapt these tips to their plans to stay safe this tomorrow. After all, the police station drunk tank isn’t the ideal venue for a intimate date and you don’t want to blow your date budget on bail money!

How To Avoid A Valentine’s Day Drunk Driving

  • Designate a sober driver before drinking alcohol. An Uber driver, particularly an Uber Black driver, is technically a chauffeur right? And chauffeurs instantly make a date feel classier and allow couples to converse in the back seat instead of having to focus on the road.

  • Call a friend, cab, ride service, walk, or take the bus. Aren’t midnight strolls in the moonlight the height of romanticism? So, picking a restaurant near the house will give couples the chance to pick out constellations on the walk home after dining and drinking.

  • Stay overnight. Similar to bringing over a sleeping bag to a friend’s house to crash after a rager, one way to safely drink without limitations on Valentine’s Day, is by staying the night at a hotel. Some upscale hotels even have 5-star restaurants located inside, so the only drunk traveling to worry about is walking to the nearest elevator. Take the Shinola Hotel in Downtown Detroit for example. Inside the hotel is the San Morello restaurant, but if you don’t want Italian, there are dozens of other dining options in walking distance!

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Of course, the easiest way to avoid drunk driving on Valentine’s Day, is to just not drink! Isn’t the sugar high from the candy hearts, smarties necklaces, and the decadent dessert from dinner enough to keep people hyper?! Drunk driving car crashes can occur just as quickly as it takes Cupid to shoot an arrow. So, stop and smell the roses (bouquet) on Valentine’s Day by having a drink or two, but don’t let drunk driving become a thorn in your side!


Choosing a piece of chocolate from a newly opened, heart-shaped box of Russell Stover’s chocolate may be a difficult task, but choosing a law firm to represent a drunk driving accident victim can be very easy. The Michigan Law Firm, PC helps those who have been injured in car crashes identify and receive any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Contact us a 844.4MI.Firm for a free legal consultation.

Winter Driving Vehicle Safety Check List

The 2004 movie, Dodgeball taught the lesson, “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” A similar philosophy can be applied to winter weather driving: If you can service your vehicle, you can handle the snow. Knowing how to drive in the snowy conditions is very important, especially to avoid getting into car accidents. But before even backing out of the driveway and into the blizzard, drivers should diligently check their vehicle to make sure it can weather the storm. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) provides drivers with a vehicle safety to-do list before they hit the road.

Source: Giphy, Dodgeball

Before You Go:

Get Your Car Serviced

  • No one wants their car to break down in any season, but especially not in cold or snowy winter weather. Start the season off right by ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition.

  • Visit your mechanic for a tune-up and other routine maintenance.

  • Have your vehicle checked thoroughly for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements.

Check for Recalls

  • Owners may not always know that their vehicle is under an open recall and needs to be repaired. NHTSA's Recalls Look-up Tool lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if your vehicle or one you are looking to purchase has a critical safety issue that has not been repaired. Check for recalls on your vehicle by searching now: nhtsa.gov/recalls. If your vehicle is under a recall, get it fixed at your nearest dealer FOR FREE.

Know Your Car

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  • Every vehicle handles differently; this is particularly true when driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads. Take time now to learn how your vehicle handles under winter weather driving conditions.

  • Before driving your vehicle, clean snow, ice or dirt from the windows, the forward sensors, headlights, tail lights, backup camera and other sensors around the vehicle.

  • When your area gets snow, practice driving on snow-covered or icy roads—but not on a main road. Sharpen your winter weather driving skills and know how your vehicle handles in snowy conditions by practicing in an empty parking lot. See your vehicle’s manual to familiarize yourself with the features on your vehicle—such as antilock brakes and electronic stability control—and how the features perform in slippery conditions. For example, your vehicle or pedals may pulsate when controlling traction.

  • For electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, minimize the drain on the battery. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the battery, plug your vehicle in whenever it’s not in use. Preheat the passenger compartment before you unplug your vehicle in the morning.

  • When renting a car, become familiar with the vehicle before driving it off the lot. Know the location of the hazard lights switch in case of emergency, and review the owner’s manual so that you’re prepared for any driving situation that may arise.

Stock Your Vehicle

  • Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks, such as cleaning off your windshield, as well as any supplies you might need in an emergency. Keep the following in your vehicle:

  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.

  • Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.

  • Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers.

  • Blankets for protection from the cold.

  • A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas).

Plan Your Travel and Route

  • Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather.

  • Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic.

  • Don’t rush; allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Plan to leave early if necessary.

  • Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.

Go Over Your Vehicle Safety Checklist

Battery

  • When the temperature drops, so does battery power. For gasoline and diesel engines, it takes more battery power to start your vehicle in cold weather. For electric and hybrid electric vehicles, the driving range is reduced when the battery is cold, and battery systems work better after they warm up. Make sure your battery is up to the challenges of winter.

  • Have your mechanic check your battery for sufficient voltage, amperage and reserve capacity.

  • Have the charging system and belts inspected.

  • Replace the battery or make necessary system repairs, including simple things like tightening the battery cable connections.

  • Keep gasoline in a hybrid-electric vehicle, to support the gasoline engine.

Lights

  • See and be seen! Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are in working order. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Towing a trailer? Be sure to also check your trailer brake lights and turn signals. Trailer light connection failure is a common problem and a serious safety hazard.

Cooling System

  • Make sure the cooling system is in proper working order.

  • Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle and the coolant meets the manufacturer’s specifications. See your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations on coolant.

  • Thoroughly check the cooling system for leaks or have your mechanic do it for you.

  • Have the coolant tested for proper mix, proper pH (acidity) and strength of the built-in corrosion inhibitors. Over time, the rust inhibitors in antifreeze break down and become ineffective.

  • Drain and replace the coolant in your vehicle as recommended by the manufacturer, to remove dirt and rust particles that can clog the cooling system and cause it to fail.

Windshield

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  • You can go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid fairly quickly in a single snowstorm, so be prepared for whatever might come your way.

  • Completely fill your vehicle’s reservoir before the first snow hits.

  • Use high-quality “winter” fluid with de-icer and keep extra in your vehicle.

Wipers and Defrosters

  • Safe winter driving depends on achieving and maintaining the best visibility possible.

  • Make sure your windshield wipers work; replace worn blades.

  • Consider installing heavy-duty winter wipers if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice.

  • Check to see that your front and rear window defrosters work properly.

Floor Mats

  • Improperly installed floor mats in your vehicle may interfere with the operation of the accelerator or brake pedal, increasing the risk of a crash.

  • Remove old floor mats before installing new mats; never stack mats.

  • Use mats that are the correct size and fit for your vehicle.

  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mat installation. Use available retention clips to secure the mat and prevent it from sliding forward.

  • Every time the mats are removed for any reason, verify that the driver’s mat is reinstalled correctly.

Tires

  • If you plan to use snow tires, have them installed in the fall so you are prepared before it snows. Check out nhtsa.gov/tires for tire ratings before buying new ones and look for winter tires with the snowflake symbol.

  • Regardless of season, inspect your tires at least once a month and before long road trips. It only takes about five minutes. If you find yourself driving under less-than-optimal road conditions this winter, you’ll be glad you took the time. Don’t forget to check your spare tire.

  • As the outside temperature drops, so does tire inflation pressure. Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure, which is listed in your owner’s manual and on a placard located on the driver's side door frame. The correct pressure is NOT the number listed on the tire. Be sure to check tires when they are cold, which means the car hasn’t been driven for at least 3 hours.

  • Look closely at your tread and replace tires that have uneven wear or insufficient tread. Tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch or greater on all tires.

  • Check the age of each tire. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years regardless of use, but check your owner’s manual to find out.

  • For more information on tire safety, visit NHTSA’s Tires page.

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Driving in the winter, especially on Michigan roads can be a lot like playing Mario Kart. It can be a thrill to race down Rainbow Road as Mario, but seconds later the kart might hit with a banana peel and spin out landing the player in last place. A driver who neglects safety measures before heading out into winter driving conditions may end up in a real life game of Mario Kart. Therefore, to avoid car crashes, it’s important to go over every winter driving safety rule before getting behind the wheel.


Taking a vehicle to get serviced can be a pain of a process, but failing to do so may lead to larger consequences which no driver wants to endure. Servicing a vehicle before heading out is very important during winter in Michigan and keeps drivers safe on the roads. The personal injury attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC represent individuals who have been injured in serious winter accidents. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

June Is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

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As June comes to a close, so does Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association defines Alzheimer’s as the most common form of dementia that can cause problems with memory, behavior and thinking. While the illness can start off mild, it’s severity can increase overtime, and interfere with daily tasks and life and is typically found in people over the age of 65. And according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2013, as many as 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's. 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s can affect day to day functions such as writing checks, dressing appropriately for the weather, identifying the day's date, and driving. While it is not necessary for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to stop driving when the disease in its earliest stages, it is important to pay close attention to driving behaviors, as the number of driving errors may increase as the illness becomes more severe. The following are some of the warning signs that the Alzheimer’s Association suggests watching for, that indicate that an Alzheimer’s patient should stop driving.


How Alzheimer’s Affects Driving

  • Forgetting how to locate familiar places, such as the grocery store or a family member’s home

  • Failing to observe traffic signs

  • Making slow or poor decisions while driving such as driving at an inappropriate speed
  • Making errors in basic driving, such as driving at inappropriate speeds, hitting curbs and drifting between lanes, confusing the brake and gas pedals, and forgetting the destination during the drive

  • Difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast,

  • Impairs decision making abilities

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A study done by the University of Ottowa in 2016 showed that drivers with Alzheimer’s were less likely to use their brakes appropriately - whether using them too much or not enough, more likely to be in the wrong lane, speed, disobey traffic lights, and more likely to lose control of their vehicle. These errors could lead to potentially fatal car accidents for both passengers and drivers on the road, as well as the Alzheimer’s patients themselves.

Failure to navigate a busy intersection properly or ignoring traffic signs can also lead to car accident injuries and fatalities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s symptoms increase over time, and as the severity of the illness increases, the patient’s ability to drive safely without getting into car accidents decreases. In addition, as the patient’s ability to think and make decisions deteriorates, they are less likely to be able to react quickly to the scenarios around them, such as not recognizing that the driver in front of them has slammed on their brakes until it is too late.

Having a conversation with a loved one about not driving anymore can be difficult and it is important to approach the matter gently. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests sitting down with those who are close to and taking care of the loved one, and creating a plan for when they should stop driving, discuss alternate methods of transportation and setting up a GPS system in their car. The Alzheimer’s Association also recommends periodic assessments of their driving, as this allows close monitoring of their driving and whether they will be able to continue to drive safely.

When the time comes, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends beginning the conversation by expressing concern, and showing love and support, as this may be a hard transition for them, and explaining to them why they should no longer be driving, and why it is a safety hazard for them, as well as those around them. If they express anger or resistance, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends being firm but understanding and empathetic, explaining that while this is a difficult transition, but is something that must happen. They also suggest, that if necessary, consult their doctor and have them reinforce that it is time for them to turn in their keys. If there is still resistance, it may be necessary to take away their keys or their car entirely. Even though this may be difficult, it is a matter of safety and an effective form of accident prevention.

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Arranging alternate forms of transportation does not have to be challenging, however, it will take communication between family members to ensure the loved one can get to where they need to be without too much difficulty. The most basic alternate form of transportation is to have family and friends drive the loved one when possible. They can take turns or shifts, and work around each others’ schedules. Unfortunately, this is not always the most convenient option, and it may be simpler to arrange for a taxi service instead. If there is not a taxi service available, there are transportation options created specially for elderly people; local senior citizens services and homes often provide transportation at low cost or free of charge. If possible, reduce the need for someone with Alzheimer’s to drive, by having groceries, prescriptions and other day to day necessities delivered.

It is important for the family and friends of those living with Alzheimer’s to understand the disease and create a supportive and loving environment to help them with this challenging time. Alzheimer’s Awareness Month aims to create an empathy and awareness around the illness. While many people have heard of the illness, many don’t know the extent of the effects that Alzheimer's can have on day to day life. Since Alzheimer’s is a fairly common disease, it is important for everyone to understand in order to support loved ones fighting the illness.


The Michigan Law Firm, PC handles all types of motor vehicle accident cases. Our accident attorneys make the legal experience as easy for clients as possible, so that victims of auto accidents can focus on recovering from their car accident injuries. Contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

Driving Safety Tips

The National Safety Council's (NSC) National Safety Month is coming to an end, but the safety topic for Week 4, is still important. In fact, driving may be the danger that should be most discussed, since there were 40,100 motor vehicle deaths in America, in 2017 alone! The NSC warns, "We all believe ourselves to be safe drivers, yet up to 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes involve human error. Follow these tips to help stay safe on the roads."

Driving Safety Tips


Avoid Dangerous Driving Behaviors
Prevent injuries on the road by keeping your focus on the driving task:

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• Avoid impaired driving, whether by alcohol, lack of sleep or drugs, including over the counter and prescription medication
• Avoid cell phone distracted driving, including hands-free
• Practice with your teen drivers and teach them to avoid distraction
• Make sure all occupants are properly secured in age-appropriate restraints
• Never leave a child alone in a car and always keep your car locked when not in use
• If you drive for work, talk with your employer about safe habits – do not take calls while behind the wheel
• Regularly check your vehicle for recalls at CheckToProtect.org and stay up to date on the safety features in your car by visiting MyCarDoesWhat.org

Use Safety Features Correctly
Modern cars are filled with safety features that can help protect the driver, passengers and even pedestrians, but they must be used correctly. Look through your vehicle manual to learn which features are available and make use of them to stay safe while behind the wheel.

• Do not rely on safety features to replace you as the driver – you are still your car’s best safety feature
• Make sure you understand your vehicle safety features before using them – not all vehicle safety features operate the same way
• Maintain your vehicle to keep safety features working correctly, including clearing the vehicle of mud, ice and snow
• Pay attention to vehicle alerts and warnings
• Educate teens and all inexperienced drivers about the safety features present in the vehicle and how they work

1 step for safety:

Always wear a seat belt. In 2016, 48 percent of vehicle occupants killed on the road were unbelted, according to injuryfacts.nsc.org.

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While these tips can't guarantee that car accidents won't happen, they may help prevent some accidents. Many causes of car accidents are due to human error. Actions such as texting while driving, eating while driving, and other forms of distracted driving, cause dangerous car accidents that can lead to serious injury and even death. However, by just not engaging in distracted driving, several motor vehicle accidents may be prevented. Similarly, reading up on car safety features and alerts and warnings helps drivers avoid car accidents, since their car can tell them when something is wrong. Car accidents can happen at any time and for several reasons, but if people take as many safety precautions as possible, car accidents due to human error can be eliminated.


Many car accidents are avoidable, especially if they are distracted driving car crashes.  If you've been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PCThe Michigan Law Firm, PC helps victims of motor vehicle accidents identify and recover any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Our team of accident attorneys understands how traumatic being hit by a negligent lawyer can be. We help people injured in car accidents deal with the legal complexities so that they can focus on their recovery. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation, today.

How To Drive Safely In Fog

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Hollywood relies on fog heavily in many movies and TV shows to set the mood of a scene. The horror thriller The Mist's entire plot is based around fog! The Mist is about a small town that is invaded by a mysterious fog which releases vicious creatures, that a group of townsfolk have to fight, to save their lives and their town. While ordinary, fog that doesn’t come out of a machine like a film set doesn’t give people nightmares for weeks like Stephen King’s story, it does come with its own horrors. Driving in fog, for example, can be a very scary experience because a lot of people don't know how to drive in fog. 
 
The Glossary of Meteorology from the American Meteorological Society informs that fog is a collection of water droplets suspended in the atmosphere in the vicinity of the earth's surface that affects visibility. Visibility distance is reduced by fog and heavy precipitation. Low visibility conditions cause increased speed variance, which increases car crash risk. Each year, over 38,700 car crashes occur in fog. Over 600 people are killed and more than 16,300 people are injured in these fog car accidents annually, according to the Federal Highway Weather Administration

According to the Detroit Free Press, early morning on January 10, 2018 there was a car crash on northbound I-275 at 8 Mile Rd. and another car accident on eastbound I-94 at Conner Ave, due to fog. These accidents are more recent, but like any good horror movie villain, fog has created other, more serious, accidents in the past and can still cause more car accidents in the future if drivers aren't careful. In April of 2015, a 60 car pile up was reported on a highway which left 2 people dead and over 2 dozen injured. The series of car accidents were caused by a dense fog that made it really hard for drivers to see where they were driving. The Detroit Free Press notes that drivers should be especially cautious of travelling through fog  when driving on bridges, overpasses, and ramps. 

The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) reported that distracted driving during foggy weather is a main factor with car accidents. Fog makes it hard for people to see. Being distracted with something only adds to the chance of getting into an accident. The NHTSA reported that speeding while driving in foggy weather also contribute to the number of deaths each year from car accidents. 4% of car crashes in 2017 were caused by fog. 

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Driving in fog can be difficult and requires more attention from the driver to safely drive. Any type of distractions that draw eyes away from the road in already decreased visibility, increase the risk of getting into a car crash. Here are some tips from the National Weather Service on how to drive safely in fog, if driving is unavoidable.

How To Drive In Fog

  1. Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination.
  2. Make your vehicle visible to others both ahead of you and behind you by using your low-beam headlights since this means your taillights will also be on. Use fog lights if you have them.
  3. Never use your high-beam lights. Using high beam lights causes glare, making it more difficult for you to see what’s ahead of you on the road.
  4. Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to account for sudden stops or changes in the traffic pattern.
  5. To ensure you are staying in the proper lane, follow the lines on the road with your eyes.
  6. In extremely dense fog where visibility is near zero, the best course of action is to first turn on your hazard lights, then simply pull into a safe location such as a parking lot of a local business and stop.
  7. If there is no parking lot or driveway to pull into, pull your vehicle off to the side of the road as far as possible. Once you come to a stop, turn off all lights except your hazard flashing lights, set the emergency brake, and take your foot off of the brake pedal to be sure the tail lights are not illuminated so that other drivers don't mistakenly run into you.

Of course, it's always best to avoid driving in foggy weather, but the above tips may be able to help drivers safely navigate foggy conditions and avoid car crashes.


There is always a greater risk of car accidents occurring when mother nature throws a wrench at a driver’s plan to take the car out. Fog is one factor that increases the chances of car accidents. If you have been in a car accident and want a free consultation with a car accident attorney, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. 

Tips For Driving Over Potholes

It seems as though the freezing temperatures are finally a thing of the past! We've actually had snow in April for the last few weeks, but Michiganders are all preparing themselves for some warm weather that’s headed this way. The warm weather comes with a cost though: Potholes. Potholes are nothing new to Michigan residents, but drivers everywhere are dreading popping a tire or wrecking their car's suspension on the pockmarked roads this Spring.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says, "Potholes are created when snow and ice melt as part of Michigan's seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. Moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and thaws, creating a gap in the pavement. As vehicles drive over the gap, the pavement weakens leading to a pothole." While trying to avoid potholes is a good idea to prevent vehicle damage, dodging all the potholes like your racing your friend in Mario Kart isn’t a good idea. Yes, you missed the pothole but you put yourself and other people at risk of getting into a car accident, since swerving erratically may cause you to sideswipe a car! Instead, by following these pothole driving tips by MDOT, you may be able to avoid pothole vehicle damage and car accidents!

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Tips For Driving Over Potholes

  1. Be Vigilant - it's best to avoid hitting potholes whenever possible. That's easier to do if you're driving cautiously, and not tailgating, so you have more time to see and react to any potholes you're approaching.
  2. Be Cautious Around Puddles - they could be potholes filled with water. Since water is a critical component to forming potholes,
  3. Slow Down - If you see a pothole ahead and can't safely steer to avoid it, it's best to slow down, then release the brakes before you hit the pothole. 
  4. Vehicle Maintenance Helps - Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Over- or under-inflated tires are worse when they tangle with a pothole.

There are some potholes that are small and can easily be driven over without any damage to your car and there are some that can be very deep and many feet wide. The above pothole tips may help drivers navigate potholes with minimal vehicle damage, but sometimes it's not possible to avoid pothole vehicle damage. The best way to avoid pothole damage to your vehicle may be to avoid experiencing road damage all together! By reporting potholes to MDOT, and because of the recently approved road repair budget, it’s possible that all potholes could be filled this Spring before they cause too much damage to cars and to car owners’ wallets. But, if you do find yourself having to shell out cash to your mechanic because you couldn’t avoid a crater in the road, there may be a possibility that you can be reimbursed by the State of Michigan for pothole vehicle damage. However drivers should keep in mind that, according to The Detroit Free Press, there is a 30-day window, from the time a pothole is reported to when it is fixed, when road commissions and municipal street departments can avoid responsibility for damaged vehicles. The State of Michigan reimbursed only 9 of the 267 pothole claims for $1,000 or less made during fiscal year 2017, according to MDOT, but it still may be worth a shot. 

Potholes can be reported on the MDOT website or by calling 888-296-4546.


Every year tons of potholes are filled in hopes of creating safer roads for people to drive on. But potholes are an unavoidable, never ending cycle that reemerge each year, which is why car accidents due to potholes and other types of road damage occur each year too. Road damage accidents not only cause serious damage to vehicles but can also cause serious injury to people. For a free legal consultation with an auto accident attorney regarding road damage car crashes or any type of auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Springtime Is Here And So Is Allergy Season

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Springtime has been long awaited, but after it's arrival last Tuesday, many people have mixed feelings. On one hand, the sun stays out later and it gets warmer, much to our pleasure. But on the other hand, allergy season descends upon us. Runny noses and frequent coughing become the norm for the season, and tissue sales increase like Michigan gas prices. These reactions to allergies are quite annoying - but they may also be dangerous.

According to Canadian Pharmacy Meds, allergies, also known as Allergic rhinitis (AR), affect up to 30% of the adult population. However, many people don’t realize the possible dangers that may result from allergies. AR can decrease cognitive functions and can make even daily activities a difficult task. Untreated AR can even reduce driving ability and put the driver and others on the road at risk. Many people don’t usually consider something as commonplace as allergies to be the cause of a car crash, but a study reported in the July blog issue of United Allergy Services stated that many common seasonal allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, sneezing and fatigue, can significantly impair one's driving ability. A coughing fit or watery eyes while driving could cause the driver’s attention to wander causing a distracted driving car accident. 

In the Allergy study, 19 people in the Netherlands were given a nasal spray or a placebo, and then exposed to grass/tree allergens or a placebo. Then they went on a 60-minute driving test with a camera attached to see how often the car veered towards the center lane. In the last 15 minutes of the drive, they were also given a verbal test while driving. As a result, those who weren’t treated for allergies and then exposed to them performed the worst at both the driving test and the verbal test. The participants’ driving was so impaired by allergies that they drove similarly to how someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.03% would drive! To help prevent allergy impaired driving, Canadian Pharmacy Meds recommends obtaining prescribed allergy medication for allergy season, and to start taking the medication before allergy season begins, to avoid suffering from allergy symptoms and potentially causing a car crash. Other ways to avoid the worst of allergy season are as listed:

Tips For Surviving Seasonal Allergies

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  • Keep all windows closed in your home and car to avoid letting in pollen.
  • Set your air conditioners to re-circulate in your home and vehicle to avoid drawing in outside pollen-rich air.
  • Limit your outside exposure when pollen counts are the highest. Stay inside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on warm and dry mornings, and throughout dry and windy days. The safest time for outdoor activities is immediately after a heavy rainfall.
  • Minimize contact with people, pets, and things that may bring pollen inside after spending excess time outdoors. Wipe down pets when they enter your home after being outside if you can’t avoid them.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen. In severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high.
  • Wash your face and hands after you’ve been outside to remove pollen.
  • Remove your work clothes and shoes as soon as you get home. Don’t drag allergens throughout your home, where they’ll continue to trigger your symptoms. Take off your shoes outside the door before entering. Throw your clothes in the hamper and change into something else.
  • Wash bed linens in hot, soapy water once a week.
  • Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.
  • Shower and shampoo your hair before going to bed to remove pollen and keep it off your bedding.
  • Gargling with salt water once or twice a day throughout allergy season can ease congestion and soothe a sore or scratchy throat.
  • Take symptoms seriously. If you feel lousy, rest, go to bed early, or take a sick day. Overexertion will only make you feel worse.

These tips may help those with severe allergies avoid the worst of the symptoms. Many people don’t see how common allergies could be dangerous rather than merely an annoyance. Being cautious and prepared for the upcoming allergy season may aid in avoiding allergy impaired driving and help people avoid an auto accident.


Spring is a time of happiness to many. The sun stays out later, flowers bloom, and warmth returns. Also returning, unfortunately, is allergy season. While suffering from allergies can be irritating, they may also be dangerous in the event that allergies impair driving abilities. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Spring Pothole Dangers

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With yesterday's rain, the snow in Michigan has finally melted! While most Michiganders are rejoicing and excitedly anticipating Spring, they shouldn’t stop worrying just yet. As the temperatures rise, so do the chances of hitting potholes. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) warns that, “Potholes are created when snow and ice melt as part of Michigan's seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. Moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and thaws, creating a gap in the pavement. As vehicles drive over the gap, the pavement weakens leading to a pothole."

Potholes are as Pure Michigan® as Vernor's® ginger ale! While many understand the usual dangers of potholes, most people just grin and bear it, and drive over potholes. However, potholes are unpredictable and there are still more unexpected dangers lurking in those holes on the road than people realize. Running over a pothole could have many different outcomes. Everyone knows that driving over a pothole can cause a flat tire. Even kicking up debris from the broken asphalt can damage the body of the car or break automotive glass. It’s also well known that swerving to avoid a pothole can potentially lead to being involved in a car accident, if the driver over-corrects into the next lane or into oncoming traffic. 

However, one other danger of potholes that even many veterans of Michigan’s roads may not know is that debris can be swept up by vehicles and released with enough force to land on the cars behind them. Concrete or asphalt can plummet onto innocent drivers who haven’t even touched the pothole! This happened to a woman who was driving westbound on I-696, on January 31, 2018, when a piece of concrete crashed through her windshield as she was heading to work, Fox News reported. Luckily, the woman was uninjured, as the piece of concrete sat in her passenger seat, and she was able to pull over at the next exit. This was the second time in January that concrete had hit a windshield on the expressway.

Not as lucky was another woman who also driving westbound on I-696 last May, according to Fox News, when a piece of concrete smashed through her windshield, hitting her directly in the head. The head injury caused a car crash because the woman lost consciousness and thereby control of her car and hit the vehicle next to her.

Both of these car accidents did not occur underneath an underpass-a more likely location for such accidents, as concrete tends to fall down and hit cars driving underneath. Both motor vehicle accidents occurred because cars in front of these ladies’ cars swept up debris and tossed it back on to them with tremendous enough force to go straight through their windshields. 

According to The Detroit News, MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross confirmed that these debris car accidents were due to potholes when she said, “The roads are crumbling and chances are any concrete came from there.” 

With so many pothole-corrupted, crumbling roads in Michigan, flying asphalt breaking windshields isn’t the only vehicle damage to worry about. Firestone Tires reports that there are many other types of pothole vehicle damages, such as:

Vehicle Damage Caused By Potholes 

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  • Tire puncture, damage or wear.
  • Wheel rim damage.
  • Premature wear on shocks and struts.
  • Suspension damage, including broken components.
  • Steering system misalignment.
  • Exhaust system damage.
  • Engine damage.

All of these types of vehicle damage due to potholes, not only put drivers in danger of being involved in a car crash, but also in danger of emptying out wallets. Vehicle repair is expensive enough that Michiganders would have to be prepared to hand over money saved for Tigers Opening Day tickets, to an auto body shop! If catching the game on TV sounds disappointing however, drivers may able to save money on potential pothole related car repairs by following tips given by Michigan.gov, on how drivers can avoid potholes, or what to do if you have no choice but to drive over a pothole. 

How To Drive Over Potholes With Minimal Car Damage

  1. Potholes aren't always obvious enough to spot in the daylight and they're even harder to spot in the dark. Make sure your headlights are working and your windshield is clear.
  2. Be extra cautious around puddles - they could be potholes filled with water. Since water is a critical component to forming potholes, that puddle may be at work creating one as you drive through it.
  3. Keep a firm grip on your steering wheel as potholes can cause your vehicle to change direction suddenly. Don't swerve into an occupied lane. No one wants pothole damage to escalate to an auto collision causing further damage or injury. 
  4. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Over-inflated and under-inflated tires fare worse when they tangle with a pothole. Tires showing excessive wear or bulges in the sidewalls won't hold up as well to potholes either. 
  5. If you see a pothole ahead and can't safely steer to avoid it, it's best to slow down, then release the brakes before you hit the pothole. This helps to reduce the speed at impact as well as give your suspension the full range of travel to absorb the impact. If you can't avoid the pothole, straighten your wheel to hit it squarely and roll through. Hitting a pothole at an angle can transfer the energy of impact in ways more likely to damage your vehicle. 
  6. Have your vehicle's suspension and steering components checked out by a qualified mechanic. Steering that is in good condition and responsive can help you avoid hitting potholes. Remember that shocks, struts and springs in good shape help cushion the blow. 

Trying to avoiding a pothole can sometimes be impossible and extremely dangerous. While these tips may help prevent most pothole car accidents, no number of precautions can guarantee that road damage related car crashes won’t occur. As Lieutenant Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police stated in relation to one particular pothole debris car accident, “When something happens that fast, there’s nothing to do.” 


Potholes can lead to expensive vehicle damage, dangerous car accidents, and even serious car crash injuries. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor accident due to potholes or unsafe road conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM today, for a free consultation with an experienced accident attorney.

First Snowfalls Causing Car Collisions Across Michigan

The snow has started in Michigan, and unfortunately, the dangerous impact it can have on roads is already being seen. In only the first week of December, numerous car collisions caused by hazardous weather conditions were already reported.

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In western Michigan, accidents involving over three dozen cars were reported by the Detroit Free Press. On Thursday, December 7, 2017, westbound I-94 in southwestern Michigan was closed due to various pileups that began around 9 AM. An initial twenty car pileup was then quickly followed by a ten car pileup. Eight other smaller accidents were also reported that day, including one car accident involvign a pickup truck that slid into oncoming traffic, sideswiping an SUV. Luckily, only minor injuries were reported. The car accidents occurred near Mattawan, Michigan, in Van Buren County. Slippery road conditions were cited as the cause of all of these automobile accidents.

The Detroit Free Press also reported on a tragic scene that was caused by winter weather conditions in northern Michigan. On Wednesday, December 6, 2017, a 25-year old man was killed after he was hit by an oncoming vehicle as he was clearing snow from his driveway. The man was using a snowblower when a 25-year old female driver lost control of her vehicle, hitting the man. The accident occurred in Kingsley, Michigan, which is located in Grand Traverse County. The names of those involved in the accident have not been released as an investigation is ongoing.

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Accidents like these are unfortunately common throughout the United States as winter weather starts to set in. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 22% of car collisions that occurred between 2005 and 2014 were caused by hazardous weather. Those accidents killed an average of 5,900 people each year, which accounts for 16% of annual vehicular deaths. Of accidents caused by hazardous weather, wet pavement was the most common culprit, being responsible for 73% of all weather related accidents. Snow and sleet precipitation accounted for 17% of all weather related accidents, snowy and slushy pavement accounted for 14% of these car crashes, and and icy pavement accounted for 13%.

These numbers are scary, and Michigan winters are cold and long. This doesn’t mean that you should never get in your car again until April, but it is important that drivers are aware of the hazards that snow, sleet, slush, and ice can present. Practicing safe driving behaviors is always important, but especially so when driving in hazardous weather. Drivers should first make sure their vehicles are ready for winter driving. Steps to make a car winter ready can be found on The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog. Once a car is winter ready, drivers should take their time on the road and be sure to leave enough stopping distance between themselves and other vehicles. Finally, If the weather really seems just too dangerous to be driving in, it’s likely that most businesses will be closed, and you don’t need to brave the elements and risk injuring or hurting yourself or others.


Accidents happen year round, but the truth is that winter weather conditions make car accidents even more likely. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident caused by hazardous weather such as snow or ice, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Drowsy Driving Is Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving

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Reports have shown that driving on 5 hours of sleep or less is equivalent to driving while intoxicated. The report, according to USA Today, states that drivers who skip a few hours of sleep at night nearly double their chances of crashing. This is an alarming fact when you take into consideration that about 1/3 of American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep every night, the recommended amount for adults aged 18-60, based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Probability of Drowsy Driving Car Crashes

Below is the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident occurring depending on how much sleep a driver gets. 

  • 6 hours of sleep = 1.3 times higher chance of a car crash.
  • 5 - 6 hours of sleep = 1.9 times higher chance of a car crash.
  • 4 - 5 hours of sleep = 4.3 times higher chance of a car crash.
  • 4 hours of sleep or less = 11.5 times higher chance of a car crash.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving accounts for 83,000 crashes per year. In 2014, 846 fatalities resulted from a car crash related to sleepy driving. It should be noted that research on the number of drowsy drivers on the road has proved challenging, possibly even causing an underestimate of the prevalence of the issue. Regardless, lack of sleep causes impaired judgment, a slower reaction time, and/or paying less attention to the road. Combining these factors with operating a motor vehicle, just screams a disaster waiting to happen. 

Symptoms of Drowsy Driving:

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  • Frequent yawning or blinking.
  • Drifting in and out of the lane.
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the freeway.
  • Missing an exit.
  • Not remembering the last few miles traveled.

The National Sleep Foundation noted that police officers are not trained to identify “drowsiness” and despite just about every state addressing sleepiness or fatigue in crash reports, fatigue testing has been limited and without major developments. The foundation also believes that drowsy driving could play a role in other car crashes and are simply misreported as drunk driving or distracted driving accidents. The following safety tips provided by the National Sleep Foundation maybe able to help prevent a drowsy driving motor vehicle accident from occurring.

Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving Car Accidents

  • Make it a priority to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Get a good night's sleep before long road trips, as being sleep deprived could endanger everyone in the car.
  • Avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. Consumption of alcohol increases sleepiness and impairment for drivers.
  • If you take medications that list drowsiness as a side effect, use public transportation or get a ride from someone else, if possible. If you drive, avoid peak sleepiness time periods (12 AM - 6 AM and late afternoon).
  • Stay vigilant for signs of drowsiness, such as crossing over roadway lines or hitting a rumble strip, and pull over for a short nap in a safe place if needed. 
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At the end of the day, having the alert senses needed to drive safely is yet another reason to get enough sleep each night. It is important to remember these safety tips and to monitor one's own behavior for drowsiness, before getting behind a steering wheel. At the very least, who doesn't want an excuse to put on some footie pajamas and snuggle under the covers for a well-rested night?


Motorists should take note of when they are feeling fatigued, and make the right decisions in order to prevent severe injuries or even fatalitities from a car crash. Finding a safe spot to pull out of the way of traffic and removing one's keys from the ignition to take a quick nap is one of way options to make a road trip safer. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a drowsy driving accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights Safety Tips

Classic cars all over Michigan are being dusted off and tuned up in preparation for the return of the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, which officially kicks off this Saturday, August 19, 2017! This weekend long event is the largest single day celebration of automobiles in the world, attracting over one million spectators and over 40,000 classic vehicles, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Dream Cruise sparks many mixed emotions every year. For fans of the annual event, it is an extended weekend of awesome, classic cars showing off their muscle and style for the city that created the automotive industry. As for the individuals who dread the Dream Cruise, the event only means nearly a full weekend of traffic and detours on roads connected to Woodward Avenue.

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While all of the discussions surrounding the Dream Cruise revolve around excitement or dreading traffic, the one issue that is not generally discussed is safety. It's peculiar that car accident and pedestrian accident safety are the elephant in the room when discussing an event involving thousands of vehicles. In other words, the Woodward Dream Cruise is an event that presents a lot of safety risks and accident dangers if one is not paying attention to their surroundings.

Last year, per CBS Detroit, a day before the official Dream Cruise date, a southbound vehicle lost control and ended up crossing the median, taking out a portable bathroom in its path, and then crashing head on with a northbound vehicle. Thankfully, only two cars were involved in the crash and no one was injured. Yet, it is only more reason for both spectators and cruisers to be cautious this year.

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As reported by Detroit Free Press, Roadkill Nights is also returning this year, one week before the Woodward Dream Cruise, this Saturday, August 12, 2017. Roadkill Nights is a legal street racing event sponsored by Dodge that will take place on a closed off section of Woodward Avenue. This year will mark the event's 3rd year and will take place on August 12th. Attendees should take even more precaution during this event as on top of having tons of cars present, this event also involves cars speeding down Woodward avenue. 

Watching these cars show off their style while cruising, or speed while racing, can be quite a spectacle. Differences between the two events aside however, since both the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights are car related events, safety is the number one priority in order to minimize the many safety risks. Below are some tips for both spectators and drivers to follow to ensure safe and enjoyable weekends. These tips have been consolidated from Woodward Dream Cruise enthusiasts including The Detroit News, The Oakland Free Press, and Hagerty.

Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Night Safety Tips For Spectators

  • Always be aware of your surroundings. There will be cars everywhere so make sure you know whether they are parked or getting ready to be driven.
  • Do not watch cars while standing or sitting on the medians as they are meant to remain clear for police, and as the porta potty incident mentioned above points out, medians are not exactly safe. 
  • If you plan to sit and watch the cars, make sure to bring sunscreen and stay hydrated! It is the middle of August after all!
  • Always keep a safe distance away from the road. Make sure to keep an eye out for any unsupervised children that may be hanging around too close as well.

Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Night Safety Tips For Drivers

Woodward Dream Cruise Accident Safety Tips
  • Keep your head on a swivel and always be aware of pedestrians. 
  • Drive at a low speed if you are anywhere near Woodward Avenue, especially if you are cruising.
  • If you are cruising do not expect to go fast. Keep calm and remain a patient driver.
  • Know which lane to drive. It is a general rule of thumb that non-cruisers should use the left two lanes, while cruisers use the right two lanes so they are more visible to spectators. 
  • For Dream Cruisers, performing burnouts, squealing tires and drag racing are all prohibited and could result in a hefty fine.
  • Know that cars can overheat due to hot weather, so moderate your car’s engine.
  • Absolutely do not drink and drive! Btoh events are alcohol-free and drinking laws will be enforced.

Whether you are a fan of the Woodward Dream Cruise or just counting down the days until Woodward Avenue returns to normal, understand that the event draws over one million spectators. There are many safety risks and car crash and pedestrian accident possibilities that are present when such a large number of people gather to enjoy the sight of thousands of motor vehicles. These risks may be minimized if spectators and drivers both take cautionary safety measures for themselves and each other. So, stay safe and enjoy the 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise and the 2017 Roadkill Nights!


The Woodward Dream Cruise weekend is full of awesome spectacles of stylish rides and muscle cars, but also presents motor vehicle accident risks due to the number of vehicles in attendance. It is important for both drivers and spectators to be conscious of each other's safety. If you or anyone you know has been hit by a car or has been in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Stay Safe At The Summer Drive-In Theater

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Summer is in full swing, and with kids everywhere out of school, parents are looking for ways to keep their children busy. While the pool, park, and zoo are excellent options for a fun day out, many Michigan families are spending summer evenings at the drive-in movie theater. A drive-in typically takes place in a large parking lot, where vehicles can pay to park and watch movies on theater-size big screens, as they sit comfortably in their cars and listen to the sound on the radio. Some drive-ins even have concession stands where people can buy snacks and drinks. The drive-in movie theater is an entertaining way for parents to use their cars for something other than driving, while making the kids happy, too.

The drive-in movie theater is not a new concept. In fact, they weren’t even called drive-ins originally, but a “park-in” because of the parking lot movie theater setting. In the summer of 1933, motorists parked their cars on the grounds of Park-In Theaters in Camden, New Jersey, the site of the first ever drive-in movie theater. As the idea caught on, more drive-ins popped up all across the country. According to HISTORY.com, one of the largest drive-ins featured parking space for 2,500 cars, a kid’s playground, and a full service restaurant, spread out across 28 acres. If only extravagant drive-ins like that existed today, parents would never have to worry about their children being bored!

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Today, however, there are less than 350 drive-in theater locations across the country. Luckily for Michigan residents, the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association (UDITOA) says our state is home to 8 different theaters with 18 total movie screens. Metro Detroit is home to two drive-ins: the USA Hockey Arena Summer Drive-In located just off M-14 in Plymouth, and the Ford Drive-In in Dearborn. Movies begin at dusk, and films change weekly, showing everything from Disney cartoons to the latest action blockbuster. 

However, just because vehicles are parked at the drive-in, does not mean they aren’t still dangerous. Children often run around and play in the parking lots at a drive-in as they wait for the movie to start, putting them at risk for a severe injury or fatality from a moving vehicle nearby. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) recommends summer motor vehicle safety tips, including tips for kids.

Motorist and Child Safety Tips for Drive-In Theaters

  1. When backing out of a parking space at the drive-in, walk around your vehicle first to look for children running and playing. Children playing are often oblivious to cars around them.
  2. When using a backup camera, it is important to remember that kids might be out of view, but may still be in the path of a vehicle. Additionally, all vehicles have blind spots that increase in size as the height and size of the car increases.
  3. There are lots of people and vehicles moving around upon entrance and exit to the drive-in, so drivers must pay attention to their surroundings and parents must watch out for their children so as to prevent a motor vehicle from backing or running into a pedestrian.

Summer drive-ins transform everyday vehicles from modes of transportation to a relaxing place to kick back and catch the latest movie. The rare and old-school format of drive-ins make them fun for families of all ages. Still, warm weather calls for summer safety tips, and safety at the drive-in is just as important as on the roads. Anytime a motor vehicle is involved is an opportunity to practice automobile accident prevention safety, and the drive-in movie theater is no exception. 


Summer is a great time to enjoy the warm weather at a local drive-in movie theater. Children playing at the drive-in should watch for moving vehicles and drivers must be aware of their surroundings, in order to prevent an injury or fatality from a car crash. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Tips On Driving During Heavy Winds and Storms

A couple of months ago, in February 2017, a semi-truck driving on a highway got caught in high winds and toppled over, landing on top of an unoccupied police cruiser. Fox News reported that the truck driver drove the semi after ignoring a high wind advisory banning commercial vehicles from that particular area of the highway, close to nearby Elk Mountain. Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Kelly Finn said that wind speeds were close to 70 m.p.h. at the time of the accident.  

While Michigan isn't currently experiencing such a magnitude of winds, forecasts expect thunderstorms for the rest of the week. This week's thunderstorms could deter Michiganders from driving to the beach or relaxing out on the porch. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC would therefore like to take the time to remind Michigan motorists how they can safely drive in severe weather conditions, including high winds and heavy rain. 

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Safety Tips for Driving In High Winds and Storms

In bouts of extreme weather, the first safety precaution drivers can take is to remain in a specific location, such as home, and avoid driving in dangerous situations completely. 

If venturing out into the bad weather is unavoidable, the Defensive Drivers Team suggests that drivers check local weather reports and take note of any high winds, blizzard, flooding, or other extreme weather advisories that have been issued in the areas they plan to drive in.

When driving in a storm, motorists should remember to pay close attention to the road. Drivers may better focus on the road by turning down the radio, silencing or ignoring cell phones, and properly securing any pets in the vehicle so they don't cause a disturbance. Minimizing these distractions keeps drivers alert for instances in which storm debris or trees may be blown into the driver's path. Drivers should also remember to keep their headlights on since storms typically darken the sky. 

In addition, drivers should give large vehicles such as semi-trucks, tractors, RVs, and buses more space, as these vehicles may be more difficult to control in extreme weather. No one can anticipate sudden gusts of wind, so driving slower than normal and making lots of extra space for other motorists on the road may help ensure motorist safety. Drivers should also take safer, local routes and avoid speedy highways, rocky terrain, and routes through infrastructure such as tunnels and overpasses, which can potentially be damaged during storms. 

As for driving in windy weather, head and tail winds, or winds coming from the front and back of a vehicle, are not too difficult to deal with. A slight adjustment in speed or acceleration may allow the driver to compensate for these winds. On the other hand, side winds are the ones that create the most trouble for drivers. If strong enough, these winds can blow a vehicle off course. In the event that a driver finds themselves caught in a side wind, they should remember to not panic or move the car too abruptly if they feel the vehicle being pushed in the other direction, and instead move smoothly and gently to stay on the road. 

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Tips For Driving In Heavy Rain

High winds and storms also bring precipitation. Heavy rainfall or a large snow melt may cause puddles to form, many with depths too hard to judge from behind the steering wheel. RAC, a British automotive service company, warns, "If it’s clearly too deep for your car, find another way to your destination." Drivers might find themselves in a harrowing position if driving through a puddle that is particularly deep and may cause their car to float. Water can also cause a vehicle to stall or breakdown. It is important to ignore the urge to try and crank the vehicle back to life in order to avoid further damaging the engine. Instead, drivers should wait for a professional to arrive and attend to the vehicle. This might even serve as an alarm for other drivers to follow safety tips to possibly avoid a serious car accident. 

With the looming threat of thunderstorms in Michigan this week, drivers and passengers are encouraged to follow these extreme weather safety tips to stay safe and help prevent an accident like the one which occurred in Wyoming. It is difficult to predict what the sky will do next, but motorists should practice driving safely in extreme weather, in order to reach their destinations before the next lightning bolt hits. 


All motorists could benefit from paying attention to the road and heeding wind and storm advisories this summer. If you or a loved one have ever been in a car accident, caused by extreme weather conditions, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced attorney, today.

New Traffic Signal Helps Save Pedestrian Lives

One New York City suburb has gone without a single pedestrian-motor vehicle accident in the past year. Leonia, New Jersey has implemented a new traffic signal for one of the area's busiest crossroads. The intersection between Fort Lee Road and Broad Avenue has introduced an all-red phase traffic signal, stopping traffic in all directions for 26 seconds every other cycle. 

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The intersection is often congested with vehicles trying to take a different route across the Hudson River, other than the crowded George Washington Bridge. With all four directions temporarily turned red, pedestrians can safely cross the busy intersection and even cross diagonally if desired.

During the two years before the introduction of the all-red signal phase, 7 pedestrians were hit by cars at the intersection. One New Jersey woman was dragged more than 70 feet along the road, leading to her death.  

Mayor Judah Zeigler told USA TODAY, “If we had kept going down the course we were going down, it was really a matter of when, not if, another pedestrian would be killed.”  

Senior citizens, who take longer to cross the road, and students benefit the most from the all red-signal, according to Chief Thomas Rowe of the Leonia Police Department. Many students walk to a nearby elementary school that is less than a block away from the intersection. School foot traffic coincides with rush hour, further clogging the roads and endangering pedestrians. 

Rowe said, “The benefits have been exactly what we were hoping for, and there’s absolutely no reason for us to go back to the way it used to be. I can’t allow our pedestrians to be put in danger.” 

While some motorists have complained about traffic being further delayed by the all-red signal phase, it is clear that pedestrian safety is the number one priority for the city of Leonia. 

Throughout the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says on average, a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes in traffic crashes. Considering this staggering statistic, it is no surprise that towns such as Leonia are taking steps to improve pedestrian safety. In addition, both pedestrians and drivers can take steps to keep roads safer. People on foot should use sidewalks to cross streets whenever possible, be visible with bright or reflective clothing, and never assume that automobile drivers see them. Motor vehicle operators on the other hand, should always watch for pedestrians, slow down, and be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk, and use extra caution in hard-to-see conditions, like at night or in bad weather. 

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Accidents happen; that's reality. However, efforts taken by cities like Leonia to make roads safer for pedestrians may help prevent serious injuries or fatalities from car crashes. Everyone has been a pedestrian at some point in their lives. If all it takes to keep people on their feet is stopping at a red traffic light for 26 seconds longer, more cities need to take note in order to reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions. 


Chickens aren't the only ones trying to cross the road. Pedestrians walking on busy roads are constantly at risk of being hit by a motor vehicle, even when all they want is to get to the other side. If you or someone you know has been involved in a pedestrian motor vehicle collision, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Life-Saving Apps That Prevent Distracted Driving

Over the years, distracted driving has grown to be a major issue on the roadways across America. It is estimated that 660,000 drivers are using an electronic device during any time of the day. The proof of damage that distracted driving can do has been recorded on phones through social media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat by the very drivers who are engaging in the dangerous act. With so many injuries and tragic deaths that stem from distracted driving accidents, 391, 000 injuries and 3,477 deaths in 2015 to be precise, many state governments are revising their laws and punishments for drivers who are caught driving while distracted. Although Michigan has yet to change its law concerning devices that can be used when behind the wheel of a vehicle, for safety purposes, Michigan drivers should consider not using their electronic devices while driving.

Distracted driving

While it's simple to tell drivers to not use their phones or to turn off their phones when operating a motor vehicle, it's also very easy to turn a phone back on or to reactively turn attention away from the road and onto a phone when it signals a notification. That is why it may be beneficial to drivers who own smart phones to download an app that silences all cellular communication when the user is driving. DMV.org has reviewed and suggests a few such apps that can hopefully deter drivers from looking at their phones while driving.  

Out of the several surveyed distracted driving apps, four stood out to DMV.org and were approved by organizations such as Fathers Against Drunk Driving and Mothers Agains Drunk Driving. The apps were chosen because they are compatible on both the Apple iOS and Android systems.

Distracted Driving Prevention Apps

1. LifeSaver

Aptly named, LifeSaver is geared toward stopping drivers enacting distracted driving by utilizing GPS tracking and reward systems. Because the app taps into GPS monitoring, it knows when a driver is on the road and prevents drivers from using their phones. Once the driver arrives at their destination, it will alert loved ones that it is now okay to call and that the driver safely arrived. This app isn't just geared toward parents and teenagers engaging in safe driving habits and related rewards, but commercial businesses as well. 

2. TrueMotion

One of the few free distracted driving apps that are available on both iOS and Android, TrueMotion uniquely utilizes a trip score system. The trip score points out to the user, the moments during the road trip that a driver was driving distractedly and presents an overall rating on the motorists driving. This can then be used to positively change future driving habits.

3. AT&T’s DriveMode

This app blocks any texts and phone calls to completely keep drivers from cellular distraction. It even automatically replies to text messages telling contacts that you are driving if they try to text you.

Also, since most parents control their children's cell phone usage already, parents who are worried about their teen driver can set up the app to alert them when it is not in use and if they are any changes to the settings. One of those helpful settings is that DriveMode can be set to automatically engage once the user's car is going more than 15 mph. This app also allows parents and all users to set up goals and prizes for the number of miles driven safely.

4. Drive Beehive

This app is the official safe driving app of Parents Against Distracted Driving. It creates incentives to promote safe driving by allowing the driver to connect with family, friends, schools, business, and any other responsible sponsor who can set an award for the amount of miles driven safely. 

Apple's iOS 11

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While it is not an app, The Michigan Law Firm blog recently informed readers of a feature of the new Apple iOS11 operating system called Do Not Disturb While Driving (DNDWD). Similar to ATT's DriveMode, when DNDWD is in use, the iPhone automatically detects speed when it determines that a user is driving, it proceeds to turn off of cellular communication. The DNDWD function also informs anyone trying to contact the phone that the owner is currently driving and even gives them the options to text the word 'urgent' if it is vital that the iPhone owner be reached. 

In today’s world, phones have become an essential item of everyday life. As useful as they are however, they can also be highly distracting and cause accidents. An accident can happen in a matter of seconds, coincidently the same amount of time people use to glimpse at a text message or to scroll through contacts to make a call. But it's not worth it! As DMV.org says, "Distracted driving accounts for 9 deaths every day—deaths that are completely preventable simply by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel." 


Distracted driving apps exists for a very serious and useful reason - to save lives. If you or a loved have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our firm offers experienced advice on distracted driving accidents and will work to fight for any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law.

The Dangers Of Driving In Heels

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A Florida woman from Fort Walton Beach claims that her flip flops are the reason behind her automobile accident. The anonymous female driver stated that she was in the process of backing out of her driveway when her foot slipped and her heeled shoe got caught under the gas pedal preventing her from braking in time. She crashed through her neighbor's house across the street and nearly killed a young boy in the process. Accidents like this may seem outlandish but are more common than people might believe. In fact, a UK court recently heard an ex-model's tale of how she accidentally hit a cyclist while test driving a car, due to wearing 2-inch-heels.

Why Proper Driving Footwear is Important

The model in the UK case was Julie Hunter. Ms. Hunter was supposedly test driving a car in a 30 mph zone but was going 50 mph. In an attempt to avoid hitting another vehicle on the road, Ms. Hunter spun out her car and hit a cyclist named Debbie Riches. Upon impact, Riches’ bicycle flew 20 feet into the air before landing and becoming pinned under Ms. Hunter's vehicle. Ms. Riches was pinned under Hunter’s vehicle for about 30 minutes until fire crews arrived and were able to lift the car by utilizing inflatable airbags. Riches was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical team rushed Hunter to a nearby hospital for her fractured skull and internal ear damage.   

The crash investigator who worked on the scene determined that there weren’t any mechanical issues with the car Hunter drove or the bicycle that Riches was riding at the time of the accident. However, the investigator did say that the, "very high" heels worn by Hunter may have inhibited her ability to drive. 

Examples of Improper Driving Footwear

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Coincidentally, Shell Oil Company conducted a survey on over 1,000 drivers and determined that at 29% of drivers aged 18-30 are more likely to drive while wearing inappropriate footwear, including shoes with wide bottoms, thick soles, or even driving barefoot. Shoes that have wide soles can make it harder for a driver to properly place their foot on one pedal at a time. In a similar sense, shoes with thick soles make it harder for a driver to gauge the amount of pressure needed to apply to the pedals. Respectively, improper footwear does not just pertain to woman, but includes male footwear as well. Some typically male styles of shoes that may be improper for safe driving include oxfords, work or steel toe boots, and sandals.

The Recommended Footwear for Driving

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The Telegraph advises that drivers should stick to shoes like the moccasins or athletic footwear for easy stow-ability, comfortability, and proper sole-to-pedal ratio. Motorsports shoes are also a responsible alternative to prevent scuffing while providing grip. 

With summer having arrived in Michigan, many drivers refuse to wear anything but sandals until cold weather hits returns. These drivers should remember the importance of wearing proper foot gear as a precaution to avoid getting into car accidents. If compromising their style is their biggest worry, drivers can keep a pair driving appropriate shoes in their car year round that they can switch out with whatever shoes they want to wear once they get out from behind the wheel of their motor vehicle. Valuing fancy footwear over driving safety is not worth a trip to the ER!


All drivers, and not just ladies, should be aware of the shoes, or lack their of, that they wear when driving. Wearing the right footwear could possibly prevent motor vehicle accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM today, for a free consultation. 

State Policeman, "What To Do When Police Pull You Over?"

When flashes of red and blue appear in the rear view mirror and the piercing sound of a siren soon follows, many drivers begin to panic as they realize they are being pulled over by the police. Drivers start thinking back on all of the bad things they ever done while behind the wheel of the car - that time when they were speeding to make it to work on time, another time when they didn't use a turn signal when changing lanes, or all those times they were texting while driving. Rather than freaking out, motorists should keep a level head, and remember the following information on how to handle a police stop. 

Michigan State Police Lieutenant Rob Davis recently spoke with an MLive reporter in order to supply the public with, what he calls, proper traffic stop etiquette. Lt. Davis warns that his advice is not to be taken as a "how-to-guide" for traffic stops, since no two traffic stops are the same. Nonetheless he has supplied the public with a general rule of thumb of what to do when being pulled over.

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What To Do When Pulled Over By Police

1. Acknowledge That You Are Being Pulled Over

Drivers can do this by simply turning on their turn signal to alert not only the officer that they intend to pull over to the side, but other drivers as well. “I can’t speak for everyone else but this simple gesture always held a lot of weight in my decision making,” Lt. Davis said. 

2. Get To A Safe Location

What Lt. Davis means by finding a safe spot is that the driver should find an area on the roadway where they can be easily seen by passersby. Make sure the area is well lit not just for the safety of the driver but for the officer as well. That means avoiding sharp curves or bends, dark intersections, deserted roads, etc. 

3. Roll Down Your Windows

Once a safe area is found and the motorist has put their car in park, Lt. Davis states that rolling down both side windows, especially if they are tinted, and if need be, turning on the interior lights of the car, is a good idea. "It makes it easier for both parties to see." Lt. Davis said.

4. Police Are Naturally Cautious, Don't Be Offended

This advice goes to those motorists who instantly respond with hostility or offense at the officer's cautious approach. The officer who signaled for you to pull over is trained to be vigilant and to be prepared for anything. It's nothing personal. Just as the motorist may not know the officer, the officer doesn't know the driver or how they may react.

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5. "Identification and Proof Of Insurance, Please"

First, Lt. Davis warns that if a driver must go digging for their documentation, they should wait until the officer signals them to do so. Secondly, drivers should refrain from removing their seat belt unless the officer wants them to step out of the vehicle.

6. "Did You Know You Were Doing 10 Over The Speed Limit?" 

This is the point in the traffic stop that many drivers hate, because depending on their response they will either be walking away with a citation or a simple warning and a promise to the officer to never do it again. Lt. Davis said, “Hopefully the officer will advise you whether you're receiving a ticket or not prior to returning to his car."

7. You Are Free To Go

The end of a traffic stop is once again decided by the officer. Drivers should have their documentation returned back to them, a ticket, or not, and a verbal confirmation given by the police deputy. 

8. Safely Merge Back Into Traffic

Once again, drivers shouldn't be offended by the officer remaining behind them with their lights on. More than likely the officer wants to make sure that the driver is safely back in traffic or is finishing up paperwork or even answering another call.  

Whether a driver agrees with the ticket or not, they should accept the officer's judgement and wait to argue the ticket in a hearing rather than confronting the issuing officer. Try to keep from making the situation worse by physically or verbally showing anger. The officer is simply doing their job by making sure the roads are safe for everyone. 

These tips are just that, tips. They are not rules to follow and do not guarantee that you won't get a ticket. Instead, these are polite pieces of advice to follow to ensure that a traffic stop goes over smoothly and respectfully on both the officer and the driver's end.


Traffic stops are not enjoyable and can be quite nerve wrecking, but hopefully Lt. Davis' advice will help relieve the pressure in how to properly conduct one's self in case a traffic stop happens. Is there a traffic ticket you want to argue in court? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Labor Day Driving Tips

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This Labor Day weekend is estimated to be the most dangerous, of any year, for driving on busy American roads. Just in the past six months there has been a 3.5% increase of automotive deaths compared to 2015, and a 9% increase of drivers on the road, according to Consumerreports

Labor Day traffic is always overwhelming with its mile long, bumper to bumper traffic. No one wants to spend their weekend on the side of the road or worse, involved and injured in a motor vehicle collision. Though it may seem like accidents are inevitable during this time, there are may preventative measures that drivers can take so that their Labor Day doesn't involve the labor of dealing with a car crash. Here are some tips and tricks from USA Today to making weekend travels a little smoother and safer.

Labor Day Driving Tips

Preparation Is Key

  • Make sure the driver knows how to get to the desired destination. Mark out the best route on a map or pre-program the GPS. Locate the nearest restroom stops, stores, and other destination detours ahead of time. Try and plan these stops according to highway access because no one wants to get lost in the middle of nowhere! Lastly, double check for traffic before leaving, because navigating heavy traffic is more likely to cause accidents. 

No Distractions 

  • Stay off the phones! Remember that it is illegal to text and drive, though it still doesn’t prevent other drivers from doing it. Make sure that the phone is synced to the vehicle before leaving, thereby ensuring that it is a hands-free device. 
  • Technology is not the only distraction. Always keep your eyes on the road in front of you. This means no gawking at the world's largest ball of string or at the unfortunate scenes of car accidents you pass. Remember that accidents can happen in a matter of seconds and not keeping eyes on the road for even one second puts the driver at risk. 

Vehicle Check List

  • Before leaving on a trip the driver should make sure their vehicle is in tip top shape, especially if the vehicle’s history isn’t the healthy. That means if the car needs an oil change, tune up, or even just new windshield wipers, get it done before leaving. If an engine light, break light, or any other light appears on your dashboard, take it in to a local mechanic or dealership to get it checked out. Lastly, fill up your tank before leaving; no one wants to be stuck on the highway with no gas.

Safety First

  •  Seat belts! Seat belts! Seat belts! When traveling on a long trip, make sure to buckle up. Seat belts save lives. 
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Whether driving down the street for the neighborhood block party or to a relative's house in Florida, driving during the Labor Day weekend is dangerous. The large number of travelers on the road create congested traffic, breed road rage, and eventually cause thousands of motor vehicle accidents. Though there is no way to avoid this problem, drivers can be much safer by following these safety tips and tricks. 


Labor Day is best spent having fun and not dealing with a car accidents and their resulting injuries. It is best to plan any travels plans down to the smallest detail, before getting in the car, in order to stay. Once on the road, it's important to keep eyes peeled and alert and to follow road safety laws. Despite taking all of these preventative measures however, accidents may still occur. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident over the Labor Day weekend, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.