Breaking Down Major Driving Hazards

It is one of our missions here at Hastings & Hastings to improve the safety of our Arizona streets. Every year hundreds of thousands of accidents occur. This lead to the deaths of over 30,000 people on average. Thousands and thousands more suffer from major, sometimes life-changing injuries. Hastings & Hastings would like to see a world where accidents disappear forever! As difficult as that sounds, it may one day be possible. In today’s blog, we are going to learn about some of the more major driving hazards facing us on a daily basis.

  1. Cell Phones

Every year more and more collisions are attributed to cellphones. According to the most recent statistic, cell phones cause an average of 24,000 injuries per year and well over 3,000 fatalities. These numbers are on the rise. Texting drivers are 8 times more likely to be involved in a collision. Unfortunately, over 50 percent of drivers admit to texting while driving.

  1. Alcohol

Year in and year out, alcohol is THE leading cause of vehicle-related fatalities. On average, it takes the life of 11,000 people a year. Three children a day under the age of 18 are killed in accidents involving intoxicated drivers. A whopping 32 percent of traffic deaths can be directly attributed to intoxicated drivers.

  1. Aggression and Road Rage

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s 2013 statistics show that 13,000 accidents a year and be linked to incidents of over-aggression or road rage. This is up 400 percent since 1990. The average age of an aggressive driver is between 18-26. These are accidents that are almost entirely preventable. Hastings & Hastings implores all drivers to exhibit kindness and patients when out on the road. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and count to ten.

Facts, Statistics, and Information Surrounding Distracted Driving

Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Think about it! When you are behind the wheel of a car on the highway, you are in a giant metal box traveling at high speeds. It takes only a second for something to go wrong. For this reason, driving required our absolute, undivided attention. Distracted driving is becoming an increasingly major problem here in the Unites States. In 2013 alone, 3,154 individuals were killed in collisions involving distracted drivers. Although this was a decrease of 6.7 percent from the year before, statisticians believe that this rate will trend up over the next few years. Let’s look closer at distracted driving.

First, we shall familiarize ourselves with many of the common sources of distraction. They include: texting, grooming, engaging in conversation with passengers, eating, drinking, using smartphone apps, watching videos, manipulating radio controls, and navigating using maps.

Many of these distractions draw the attention of the driver away from the road for much longer than just a second. This increases the danger dramatically. Every second a driver’s eyes are not glued to the road in front of them or engaging in checking their mirrors, could lead to an accident.

So, the question arises, who is most prone to distraction? According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, drivers in their 20’s cause over 27 percent of fatal crashes involving a distracted driver. On average, checking a text message takes 5 seconds. A car traveling at just 55 mpg will cover the length of a football field in that amount of time. The danger is compounded even further when every other vehicle on the road is factored in.

To stay safe on the road, avoid distractions at all costs. No text message is worth a human life.

3 Mistakes to Avoid Following an Accident

Getting into a car crash can be one of the most stressful experienced in your life. One second, your day is going along just like normal. The next second, everything changes. There are a thousand things you suddenly have to worry about. Are you okay? Are the other drivers okay? How is your car? What are you going to do? Many people have no idea what steps should be taken following an accident. People make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can cost them. Hastings & Hastings is here to tell you about 3 mistakes you should avoid making following an accident.

  1. You Don’t Involve the Authorities

Not calling the authorities after an accident is a major mistake. You need to call 911 no-matter-what. Even if it was a minor collision, it needs to be documented. Without a paper trail,you could face major difficulties should you need to pursue legal action. You NEED a police report. You need someone to assess the severity of the action. Without tickets or documentation, you have nothing.

  1. Ignoring Minor Aches and Pains

Even in low-speed collisions, it is common to develop aches and pains. Never ignore these. Visit a medical professional. You will likely be full of adrenaline following an accident. This could mask the pain associated with an injury. Trauma to the spine could manifest itself days, weeks, even months after the accident. Again, documentation is crucial. Without a full medical workup, you may have trouble proving the extent of your injuries should you pursue legal action.

  1. Immediately Calling Insurance Providers

Often individuals call their insurance providers right after their accident. You should always consult with a legal professional BEFORE your insurance provider. This is to protect your legal rights. At all costs, avoid making a statement on the records.

The Facts Surrounding Teen Drivers

It is understandable for parents of teen drivers to be full of anxiety and worry as their children begin to learn the rules of the road. Motor vehicle crashes are almost always the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. In 2013 alone, 2,163 individuals between the ages of 16-19 were killed in motor vehicle collisions. 243,243 more were injured and had to be treated in emergency rooms. Despite these grim statistics, there is good news. Motor vehicle crashes are avoidable. There are steps that can be taken to improve safety.

Cellphones and Driving

According to the most recent statistics gathered by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 53 percent of teens admit to talking on the phone while driving. Distracted driving is the second leading cause of motor vehicle accidents, following only driving under the influence. Inexperienced teen drivers cannot afford any distractions. Make sure your teen drivers know that absolute importance of avoiding distractions while driving. Putting the cellphone out of reach is always a good idea.

The First Year is the Most Dangerous

20 percent of 16-year-old drivers are involved in an accident within their first year of driving. Their first year behind the wheel of a car will be the most dangerous. Make sure your teen drive is aware of the dangerous associated with driving but avoid scaring them unnecessarily. A scared driver is an unconfident driver. Driving unconfidently will put them at risk. The best path is to emphasize the importance of following traffic laws. Impart upon them how danger it is to exceed the speed limit. In fact, it has been proven that the risk of a collision increases for every mile per hour a driver goes over the speed limit.

7 Dangerous Driving Habits (Part Three)

With every blog, we are learning to be safer drivers. By eliminating dangerous driving habits, we make the road safer for everyone on it, not just ourselves. Over the last two blogs, we have checked off 5 very dangerous driving habits. We have emphasized the importance or yielding properly, of wearing a seatbelt, and of avoiding reckless and aggressive driving. Improving as a driver is just like improving at anything else in life. You must be aware of your bad habits, and work systematically to eliminate them. Now, let’s learn about 2 more dangerous driving habits.

  1. Drafting/Following too Close

This is a habit that individuals who often partake in long distance drives frequently practice. Following closely behind a large vehicle like an 18-wheeler can improve your fuel economy. It is also extremely dangerous. When traveling on a highway or freeway, you will be moving at high speed. You need to keep the proper amount of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you in case they suddenly hit the brakes. If you go slamming into the back of a semi-truck, you are going to be the one facing severe damage, not the truck.

  1. Driving Under the Influence

Year in and year out, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration lists driving under the influence as THE leading cause of traffic-related fatalities. Alcohol inhibits your ability to drive, affects your decision making, and slows your reaction time. Never get behind the wheel of a car if you are impaired in the slightest. Arrange for alternative transportation. If you are spending a night out, elect a designated driver or utilize taxi or Uber services.

If you are involved in an accident in which you believe someone was exhibiting any one of these dangerous driving habits, we encourage you to seek legal representation and to explore your legal rights.

7 Dangerous Driving Habits (Part Two)

Today we will continue our look at dangerous driving habits. In our last post, we illustrated the importance of driving the speed limit and properly maintaining your tires. Staying safe on the road is all about reducing risk factors. You want to do everything in your power to create as safe an environment as possible for you and the other drivers on the road. Let’s learn about a few more dangerous driving habits you should be avoiding at all costs.

  1. Failing to Yield

Yes, those yellow triangular yield signs are there for a reason. They are there to keep you safe! Make sure you know all the rules associated with yielding the right of way. Drivers who fail to yield during highway mergers create very dangerous situations given the high speeds that are typically involved. You must also be aware when driving on surface streets and around stops signs. Through traffic always has the right of way. At a four-way stop, the person who arrives first has the right of way. When in doubt – yield. Always err on the side of caution.

  1. Not Wearing a Seatbelt

In a safety study which tracked the effectiveness of seatbelts between 2004 and 2008, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration concluded that seatbelts had saved more than 75,000 lives! Wear a seatbelt is a simple safety precaution that can make the difference between life and death. It is an essential part of vehicle safety.

  1. Reckless and Aggressive Driving

Reckless or aggressive driving may entail passing on the right, extreme acceleration, sudden braking, swerving or weaving in and out of traffic. Essentially, reckless driving is driving in an erratic and difficult to predict manner. Driving recklessly WILL increase your likelihood of being involved in an accident.

7 Dangerous Driving Habits (Part One)

Over 30,000 Americans die every year in car accidents. These tragic incidents can be caused by a wide range of factors. Driving is an inherently dangerous act. Even when we take every safety precaution possible, accidents still happen. When we can do, is drive as safely as possible while promoting safe driving habits. Changing the dangerous habits of just one driver help make the world a safer place. With today’s blog, we will begin a multi-part series looking seven dangerous driving habits.

  1. Speeding

Speeding is the second leading cause of fatal traffic accidents. There is a direct relationship between the high vehicle speed and crash severity. What is more, traveling at high-speed increases a driver’s chances of being involved in an accident?This is because a car traveling a high speed is more difficult to control. Additionally, when driving at high speed, there is less time to perform defensive maneuvers. It has been proven time and time again, driving at the speed limit makes the roads safer for everyone. Avoid speeding at all costs.

  1. Ignoring Tire Maintenance

Tire maintenance is something that often goes overlooked by drivers. They may go years and years without paying attention to the condition of their tires. This can be very, very dangerous. As tires age, they become bald, which means they lose their tread. Without tread, tires have less grip on the road. This means it is more difficult to control, especially if road conditions are suboptimal. Tire tread plays a particularly important role when the road is wet. Additionally, worn tires are more prone tire failure, be it a flat tire or a blowout. Pay attention the status of your tires and replace them when they become worn.

6 Cunning and Essential Negotiation Tactics (Part Two)

Welcome back to our serious of blogs on cunning and essential negotiation tactics. These are skills which could benefit you across many walks of life. If you are hired on at a new job and are entering into salary talks, you can rely on these negotiation tactics. If you are purchasing a new car from a dealership, these negotiation tactics could be your ace in the hole. Becoming skilled at negotiations takes time and practice, but knowing these 6 essential tactics will give you a leg up.

  1. Make Your Mark

Don’t be afraid to make the first offer, and don’t be afraid to make it high. This is sometimes called “dropping the anchor” in the business field. Even if your opening offer is way too high, it is still out there. The person you are negotiating with will have to move from there. It will also show you place a good deal of value on what you are negotiating over.

  1. Connect Personally

Typically, there are two ways people begin negotiations, either they move directly to the point, or they attempt to “schmooze” the person they are negotiating with. This means they attempt to get in the good graces of their opponent by cozying up to them through conversation. The ideal negotiation tactic falls somewhere in the middle. It is important to come off professionally, but if you can connect on a personal level with your negotiation partner, they may be inclined to side with you.

  1. Know the Context

It is vital that you know the context of your negotiations. Is this a one-off negotiation or a more extended affair? What are the stakes of the negotiation? If you are negotiating the price of a car and there are other dealerships in town, you can feel free to press things. If you are entering into salary talks with a potential employer, it is important to keep in mind, you will be working with these people, you may not want to push them too far.

6 Cunning and Essential Negotiation Tactics (Part One)

If you have ever watched a legal television show, you have probably seen a sharp, savvy lawyer enter into a negotiation with some unsuspecting individuals and begin to systematically dismantle them. These types of stories have created a sense of mystique around the legal profession. They would make you believe every lawyer is a master negotiator! Negotiations are not easy proceedings. It takes years to get good at them. Today, we will offer 6 of the most cunning and essential negotiation tactics we have picked up over the years.

  1. Posture Speaks Louder Than Words

Negotiations are not only about the words you are using. How you are delivering your words will make just as much of an impact. That right posture can show the person you are negotiating with that you are speaking from a position of strength, even if you aren’t. Keep your back straight, your shoulders wide, and your chest out. This “Superman” type posture has been proven to instill individuals with confidence and strength.

  1. Know Your Priorities

Preparation pays off big time when you are in the heat of a negotiation. If you are in a complex set of talks, make sure you know your priorities before the first words are said. Know what is most important to you and what you can concede. Rank your priorities. If you are the party you are negotiating with can’t move past #1 on your list, you may be at a major impasse.

  1. Know Your Limit

As part of knowing our priorities, it is vital that you know your limits before you begin negotiations. Set an absolute bottom line, and stick with it!This will help your protect yourself and allow you to negotiate from a position of strength.

4 “Don’ts” for a Better 2016

“Do’s” and “don’ts”, two sides of a single coin. In our last blog, we gave you four pieces of advice, four “do’s” to help you improve your 2016. It today’s blog, we will look at improving your 2016 from the other side. Eliminating bad habits and make a profound impact on your life! In today’s blog, we will learn about four “don’ts” you should consider this year.

  1. Overwork Yourself

This year, make it a goal to avoid overworking yourself. It is very easy to get caught up in wild chaos of life and spread yourself too thin. You have worked obligations, family, friends, and a myriad of other responsibilities. If you overwork yourself, you risk things falling through the cracks. It can take a toll on your health and mental wellbeing as well!

  1. Stress Out

Speaking of health and mental wellbeing, do what you can to avoid stressing out this year. Stress has been linked to awide range of health concerns. Unfortunately, it can also be difficult to manage. The conundrum is: stressing about stress leads to more stress! Easing your workload will help. We recommend trying out the app Headspace, which can be a powerful tool for helping you clear your mind and eliminate stress.

  1. Neglect Vehicle Maintenance

In 2016, don’t neglect your vehicle maintenance. We know if is often difficult to find time to bring your car into the mechanics, especially if it does not have any immediate problems. Regular vehicles maintenance will extend the life of your car and help you avoid annoying things like breakdowns. Plan ahead and schedule out 2-3 days a year to bring your car in for standard maintenance. It making this small commitment could save you time and money in the long run.