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Kent Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

What are road gators?

If you drive on Washington highways or interstates, then you may have heard the term road gators. According to Allstate, a road gator is a piece of tire that has been lost when driving. They are from large trucks that lose bits of their tires as they drive. Often the drivers never even realize they have lost part of a tire. However, these tire bits remain in the roadway, posing a hazard for other vehicles on the road.

These road gators usually come from large trucks that have multiple wheels. The loss of part of a tire really does not affect them as losing a tire would affect your vehicle. Some of these tire bits come from retread tires where the tread simply separates from the tire and falls off. Some are a result of tread separation where the tire just rips apart. Often low tire pressure is to blame for the issue.

What are the requirements to get a license at 16?

Getting your driver's license is a huge step in life. The privilege to drive is something not to be taken lightly. The state of Washington has set a path you must follow to get your first license. It involves a few steps that will help ensure you are prepared for the responsibility of driving. The State Department of Licensing lays out exactly what you have to do to get your driver's license if you are under the age of 16.

The process starts with getting an instruction permit. This allows you to legally drive under supervision so you can practice behind the wheel. This permit is held for at least six months before you can get your license. You also need to take and pass a driving course approved by the state, and you must complete hours behind the wheel under the supervision of a driver who has been licensed for at least five years. You need to have at least 10 hours of driving at night and 40 hours during the day to complete this step. While you are learning to drive, you cannot get any violations, such as a speeding ticket. You also cannot have any convictions related to drugs or alcohol.

Wrongful death and vehicular homicide

When seeking justice for a loved one whose life was lost in a car crash, Washington residents often lose hope at one point or another in the legal process. This is especially true in criminal cases, during which the burden of proof lays heavily on the state prosecutor. Guilty verdicts in vehicular homicide cases, such as those in which a court finds that a death occurred while a driver was under the influence of alcohol, could carry severe, lifelong consequences for the defendants. 

Wrongful death, on the other hand, is a civil concern. State prosecutors do not perform an active role, although evidence they gathered from criminal investigations could potentially be admissible in the civil case. However, damages from wrongful death settlements could be rather large, depending on the circumstances. 

Where are a semi truck's blind spots?

You share the Washington roadways with a variety of other vehicles. Whether you are watching out for motorcycles or traveling alongside a semi, there are risks when interacting with vehicles you do not understand. Of course, trucks pose a greater risk than a smaller vehicle. They also operate much differently than your car or passenger truck. Understanding where a semi's blind spots are located could help to keep you safer.

When you are in the blind spot of a semi, it means the driver cannot see you. He or she has no way to tell that you are there, and therefore, you are more susceptible to being hit or ran into. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explains that the blind spots for large trucks, such as semis, are quite expansive and likely take up more area than you would assume.

How can technology help teens drive better?

A first driver's license is a huge deal for any teen. It is also a huge stressor for any parent. USA Today reports that teen drivers have three times of a likelihood of getting into a deadly accident than other drivers. That is a scary fact for any parent. If you are concerned, then you can rest assured that technology is here to save the day.

Newer vehicles often come equipped with driving monitoring devices and technology that can help you stay on top of how your teen is driving and even monitor where he or she is in real time. However, most teens will not be driving a brand-new vehicle. Many are driving older models that do not have this technology integrated into them.

How is the Washington wrongful death law lacking?

There is concern on some levels that the wrongful death law in Washington is not as good as it can be. Some say it is not inclusive and feel the law needs to change to protect all families who suffer the wrongful death of a loved one, according to the Seattle Times. The biggest concern is the law does not allow for parents to sue for the death of an adult child without children or a spouse.

The law as it stands allows for wrongful death cases to be brought by spouses and children, and parents can only bring a case if they were financially dependent on their child. If parents do not live in the United States, they also cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under the law, if you live in a foreign country, even if your child is supporting you financially, you have no right to a case. Furthermore, if you have an adult child who is disabled, you also have no rights to file a case.

What are the common causes of truck accidents?

Accidents involving large trucks are often some of the worst on Washington roadways. When sharing the road with trucks, you have to be aware of what may lead to accidents with them. There are some common causes that have been found through studies on what leads to truck accidents, according to the SIA Group. 

One of the top causes, which is something you want to be aware of, is when traffic flow is interrupted. This could mean sudden stops or something that causes traffic to slow down. It takes trucks much more time to slow down and stop than it does smaller vehicles. This presents a hazard when traffic suddenly changes speed. 

What should you do if you are in a car accident?

You are only fifteen miles into your morning commute when you are involved in a car accident in Washington. In the spur of the moment, you freeze. Suffering from shock, you begin to panic and have no idea what to do. While this situation may seem unlikely, you never know when something may happen and you find yourself in a dangerous predicament. Understanding what to do if you are involved in a car accident is critical to help you remain calm if something dangerous ever happens to you. 

According to NAPA, the first thing you should do is to remain calm. Take a deep breath and survey the damage. Do you have injuries? Will moving around or getting out of your vehicle cause further physical harm? Are your passengers okay? Once you answer these questions, you should place an emergency call to 911. Describe in detail where you are, what types of vehicles are involved and any injuries you have observed on yourself and others. 

Driving more dangerous when motorists lack focus

Driving is a task that requires Kent area motorists to pay attention to the roads and vehicles around them. When they become unfocused and use distractions, the risk of collisions significantly increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted drivers injure more than 1,000 and kill nine people every day on roadways across the country. Every day, people get in their vehicles and use their cellphones to text and drive. Texting is not the only source of distraction for drivers. Grooming, eating, passengers, GPS navigational devices and pets are also popular forms of distractions for drivers. 

Consumer Reports states that 49 percent of surveyed motorists were guilty of having their cellphones in their hands while driving, eight percent of them were watching videos and 41 percent of them were texting. The most common types of distractions fall into two categories: human and electronic. They can also be classified as manual, visual and cognitive. Most driver distractions are a combination of these factors. 

Many motorists dismiss the dangers of texting while driving

What is one of the most common irresponsible driving behaviors in Washington that leads to car accidents? If texting and driving is not your first answer, you might not realize how distracting and dangerous the behavior is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distractions cause more than 1,000 motor vehicle collisions and nine fatalities each year. Distractions come in many forms. Eating, grooming, text messaging and pets are among the most common culprits. 

Texting while driving is so common that 45 states in the country have declared it to be unlawful, states Nationwide.com. The consequences of distractions on the road are often catastrophic. Drivers lose valuable reaction time to avoid collisions. They also make the streets more dangerous for motorists who operate their vehicles without the use of distractions. Many of the individuals who are injured each year because of distractions are passengers and drivers of other vehicles. 

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