Important Tips: Eight Things All Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles

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Important Tips: Eight Things All Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 5/20/2019

ShouldKhowAboutMotorcycles0520209.jpgNothing beats hopping on your motorcycle on a warm summer’s day. Especially here in Seattle, the summer sun can be glorious while out for a ride. While most adults have experience driving their family minivan or sedan, fewer have first hand (or even third hand) experience on a motorcycle. This gap in substantive experience and lack of shared knowledge and information creates significant hazards for the motorcyclists sharing the road. It is everyone’s duty to ensure all drivers – including their bike loving brothers and sisters – have safe and enjoyable access to the roads.

With that in mind, here are some things you (probably) didn’t know about motorcycles:

First – if you ever see a motorcycle swerving slightly behind you, don’t be afraid and don’t become aggressive. Motorcyclists often move side-to-side in their lane in order to see (and be seen) more easily. Especially if you drive a large SUV or truck, the rider may merely be providing you with notice of his or her presence on the road or looking ahead to ensure their safety.

Second – with their small frame and two wheels, motorcycles certainly have improved maneuverability compared to their four-wheeled cousins. As a driver, don’t take that extra agility for granted. Especially in slick conditions, motorcycles and their riders are not perfect, and they may not be able to stop or dodge a sudden hazard.

Third – there are different ways to brake on a motorcycle compared to a car. Instead of hitting the brake directly, a motorcyclist may downshift or roll off the throttle to slow down. While these methods are perfectly acceptable, neither practice will illuminate a brake light. Give motorcycles extra room in front of you while driving in order to allow for stops without illuminated warnings.

Fourth – a majority of fatal motorcycle impacts involve collisions with other vehicles. Every driver and rider are bound to the rules of the road, but there are always going to be more large vehicles on the road. So used to other large SUVs, a local driver may not even notice a small bike in their periphery, which – on many occasions – can lead to deadly crashes.

Fifth – large and bulky vehicles have major blind spots. While some larger trucks have additional mirrors to help compensate for these concerns, a simple head turn while changing lanes or making a sharp turn can save a motorcyclist’s life. Since motorcycles tend to be small, they can easily hide in your blind spots or behind another vehicle (or even some bushes). Take an extra second to safely check your surroundings to ensure it’s safe for you to turn.

Sixth – many riders, but especially beginners, will forget to turn off their turn signal after finalizing their turn or merging. Many motorcycles’ turn signals do not autocancel after completing the turn. Before you speed up or maneuver around a motorcycle with a signal on, make sure it was a rookie mistake.

Seventh – when viewing a motorcycle coming down the street or approaching in your car’s mirrors, it can be difficult to judge the rider’s speed. Always assume a motorcycle is moving faster than you think and give the rider at least a few extra seconds before driving or turning in front of one.

Eighth – be extra careful at night or in adverse weather. Hopefully, a safe motorcycle rider will have bright lights and reflective gear for driving at night or in the rain or snow. When driving in more treacherous conditions, be sure to give motorcycles extra space. Losing control of a vehicle is one thing. Losing control of a vehicle and hitting an unprotected rider is completely different.

Whether you ride a motorcycle or drive a sedan, it’s important for every driver to cooperate on the roads. Safety should be everyone’s top priority. And, for motorcycles these tips can mean the difference between life and death. If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle or motorcycle collision, having the right personal injury attorney can also mean a world of difference. The Law Office of Magnuson Lowell PS will fight for your rights and work to get the justice you deserve.

Call today for a free consultation (425) 885-7500

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What Symptoms Should I Expect After a Car Crash?
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 5/13/2019

WhatSymptomsShouldIExpectBlogPost05132019.jpgPicture this very common scenario. You, your spouse, your teenager, and your toddler are buckled in and sitting at a red-light mere blocks from your home. Suddenly and without warning, the car behind you impacts the rear of your vehicle. You turn to your family to ensure their safety before popping out of your car to meet your negligent neighbor. With adrenaline pumping, you inspect the vehicles, take down the other driver’s information, and part ways knowing you will deal with insurance that evening. That evening you start to feel some mild soreness in your neck and back. You’re no longer able to sit comfortably. And, worst of all, you barely sleep a wink that night.

In addition to the hassle of a car accident, many times – especially in low speed situations – your adrenaline and shock can mask immediate symptoms at the scene of the incident. For those of us who have endured a motor vehicle collision, we know first hand just how out-of-hand symptoms can get over the next week or two. In some cases, injured parties try to tough it out, hoping that the symptoms will just resolve over time. While in some situations, a day or two of rest can help, in most others these delayed symptoms will only worsen over time especially without proper medical care.

After an auto accident, here are a few symptoms you might develop in the hours or days afterwards.

First – neck and shoulder pain. These types of pain are generally referred to as Whiplash and are the classic symptom endured after a motor vehicle collision. A 1998 study in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation established that whiplash symptoms can develop in collisions as slow as 2.49 MPH. Moreover, a study called Minor Crashes and ‘Whiplash’ in the United States from the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine concluded at nearly 75% of participants sought medical care within five-days of their auto accident.

Second – headaches. While headaches may be a sign of a concussion, most of the time, headaches after a motor vehicle collision may be attributed to your neck. The suboccipital muscles at the base of your skull are responsible for subtle movements in your neck. Trauma to these muscles can lead to significant headaches that can takes weeks (or months to resolve) completely.

Third – low back pain. According to the Back and Neck Pain Center, low back pain can be found in more than half of rear-end collisions. While perhaps not as common as its neck and shoulder counterpart, low back pain can be a significant hurdle for your daily life.

Fourth – numbness. Your spine is made up of gelatinous discs, bony vertebrae, and nerves. The forces of trauma during a motor vehicle collision can manipulate these components. Many times after a collision, your disc will herniate and break free from its typical spot to impinge on nerves in your spine. This may happen right away, or the process might only start during a collision. This impingement leads to numbness – a serious condition that should be examined by a qualified medical provider.

Fifth – PTSD. Physical symptoms are not the only trauma endured during a motor vehicle accident. Especially in high speed collisions or collisions involving pedestrians, the onset of depression and anxiety after a collision is expected. Many injured parties will fear driving or being near vehicles for quite some time. Don’t neglect your mental health. Seek mental health counseling if you develop symptoms consistent with PTSD after a collision.

Insurance companies tend to downplay the physical and mental effects that can plague drivers after even a small motor vehicle accident. They will lie and manipulate the facts and law to save money on your claim. Knowing your rights can be half the battle and knowing that your symptoms are reasonable will give you an edge up while dealing with insurance adjusters. Having an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney on your side can improve your odds of a favorable outcome. The Law Offices of Magnuson Lowell PS are dedicated to providing you the care and support you need after a motor vehicle crash.

Call today for a free consultation (425)885-7500.

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T-bone vs. Rear-enders - A Crucial Difference
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 5/6/2019

Over the past century, technology has made driving your vehicle immensely safer. While you may only see a plastic cover, vehicle manufacturers have spent millions of dollars making your car safer. Underneath the plastic lies reinforced steel, aluminum, fiberglass composite, or additional plastic along with a foam or “egg crate” used to compress and absorb the forces of impact. These vehicle parts have been thoroughly tested and manufactured to help protected you in the event of a motor vehicle accident. And, they do a great job. Many rear-end car accidents will result in mild injuries. However, the improved bumper technology and force absorption may prevent symptoms all-together.

TBoneVsRearEndPost05062019.jpgUnfortunately, in our system of convoluted roadways, you likely encounter vehicles driving perpendicular to your own car many times during your daily commute. A bumper is an incredibly important part of your car’s safety mechanisms, but unfortunately, your vehicle is not surrounded by bumper. So what happens if another driver decides to glance at his or her cell phone instead of at the stop sign ahead? Instead of colliding with the cushy bumper, the oncoming vehicle plows directly into the steel doors mere inches from your body.

Herein lies a significant difference that many insurance companies fail to properly appreciate. When you’re involved in a rear-end collision, your body is certainly going to experience the forces of the collision. Your body will propel forward hopefully getting caught by the restriction of your seatbelt. In a T-bone collision, you’re a lot closer to the point of impact. Even with side airbags, you have a lot less protection from a broadside. And, not only can you experience a similar whiplash sensation – albeit perhaps more laterally, but the lack of a side bumper will create significantly more force on your spine.

With the increase in forces imparted on your body, there is certainly a likelihood of increased injury. In addition to typical neck, shoulder, and low back injuries, experience has established that more nuanced symptoms can present after a T-bone car accident, as well. With a side-to-side motion, your head is very likely to impact the window. Even slight impacts to the head can cause the brain to jostle causing symptoms ranging from simple headaches to a full-blown concussion (memory deficits, nausea, blurred vision, etc.). Knee pain – often resulting from patellar tendon tears – can originate from similar injuries when your knee crashes into the inside panel of your door. And, victims of T-bone collisions also often experience flank and rib pain typically caused by impingement as your body twists to the side.

Next time you’re out for a drive, here a few tips to avoid a T-bone accident.

  1. Stop completely at all traffic signals. Unless you stop and full evaluate your circumstances, it is impossible to truly judge distance and speed of oncoming vehicles.
  2. Brake before you enter an intersection. This will give you the opportunity to glance left and right to check for oncoming vehicles.
  3. Take extra care at four-way stops. Some drivers just don’t pay attention, while other drivers are just inpatient jerks. As you accelerate into a four-way intersection, check the other vehicles to ensure another driver hasn’t jumped the gun.
  4. Even if you have the right-of-way pay extra attention around turns with limited visibility. Defensive driving is a key safety topic. If you can’t see other drivers, it’s likely they don’t know you’re driving toward them. A quick glance to the sides can prevent a collision.

T-bone car accidents can cause significant damage to your vehicle, but with the additional forces involved, they can also cause tremendous pain and limitation compared to a rear-end impact. Knowing the difference between these types of motor vehicle collisions can be a major boon while dealing with fickle insurance companies. An experienced personal injury attorney can help document these key issues and ensure the insurance adjuster takes your claim seriously. The Law Office of Magnuson Lowell PS will fight for your rights and help you get the justice you deserve.

Call today for a free consultation (425)885-7500

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