School Bus Safety

Labor Day is just around the corner, so students are going back to school. That means more school buses on the roads, children walking to and from school, and teenagers driving to school. During this time, drivers should be extra cautious and on the lookout for children entering and exiting school buses as well as inexperienced teen drivers.

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, most injuries and deaths involving school buses occur not from collisions, but rather when children are crossing the street to get on a bus or while exiting a bus. All drivers should be aware of state laws pertaining to school buses, including:

When to stop for a school bus: Flashing yellow lights warn drivers when the bus is preparing to stop. Once stopped, flashing red lights and signs on the left side of the bus will alert drivers to stop. Even if there is no sign, drivers are required to stop whenever a school bus is displaying flashing red lights.  Drivers may not pass the bus until the flashing lights are turned off or if the driver of the bus or a traffic officer indicates that it is safe to proceed.

Who must stop: New York State law requires drivers on both sides of the street to stop for a school bus. This law applies to all streets and roadways, even divided highways.

What is considered a school bus: Most school buses are painted bright yellow and are clearly marked with the words, “School Bus.” However, the law applies to any vehicle that is being used as a school bus, even if it is not painted yellow, including vans, city buses, and church buses, if “school bus” is clearly printed and visible.

Even after being given permission to proceed, drivers should exercise great care when passing a school bus. Although the bus driver is required to wait until all children have crossed the street before allowing traffic to proceed, children can be unpredictable. A child may have forgotten something on the bus and walk or run back across the street to retrieve it. He may run back over to talk to a friend. He could bend down to tie his shoe, causing him to not pay attention to his surroundings.

Although collisions with school buses are not common, they can occur when other drivers are not observant. School bus drivers, for example, are required to stop at railroad crossings, even if the life gate is up and the warning lights are not flashing. School buses, like other large vehicles, require more braking time, especially on wet or icy roads.

Finally, drivers should be mindful of the posted speed limits in school zones and in residential neighborhoods, especially during the hours when children are leaving for or returning from school.

Call a New York Accident Attorney

If your child is injured while riding a school bus or when entering or exiting a school bus, the attorneys at O’Brien and Ford can help. Visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/, or call 716-907-7777 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Why Road Rage Can Lead To Car Accidents

Angry yelling out car windowIt’s easy to get frustrated when others drive too close to your car, cut you off, or don’t follow the rules of the roads. However, acting out on your emotions can lead to road rage that causes serious car accidents and violations with law enforcement.

People that drive aggressively are not only dangers to themselves but also others on the road and the repercussions can be severe.

What Is Road Rage?

In the highly-populated and busy state of New York, it is common for the roads to have a lot of traffic. In fact, the Big Apple is well known for bumper-to-bumper traffic in its crowded cities.

This can easily cause aggravation when you’re trying to be on time to an appointment or simply want to arrive after a long day of work. Any driver is susceptible to road rage from minor to serious cases such as:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Honking
  • Flashing headlights
  • Yelling
  • Giving rude gestures to other drivers
  • Walking out of your car and to another driver’s car
  • Using weapons such as firearms or your own vehicle to injure another driver

Road Rage Consequences

Injuries, property damage, and death are not the only consequences of road rage. Aggressive driving is against the law and whenever you get behind the wheel, you’re expected to follow the law. Disregarding the law can bring about fines, imprisonment, tickets, loss or suspension of your license, and other court and attorney costs. No matter how much another driver angers you while driving, the consequences of reacting hostilely are never worth it.

New York officers are consistently on the lookout to pull over reckless drivers. To obtain a New York license, you even have to pass an examination that includes questions on road rage to prove you are aware of the dangers in addition to the legal and financial consequences that you can face if you fail to drive responsibly. Road rage awareness is a mandatory prerequisite in order to obtain a New York license as this ensures that drivers understand why road rage is never okay and what the ramifications can be.

How To Prevent Road Rage

It may be difficult to impossible to avoid road rage from other drivers around you. However, you can always control your own emotions and take the steps necessary to avoid unfortunate accidents caused by road rage. To reduce your chances of being in a car accident:

  • Always remain calm and reasonable
  • Respect others on the road and follow the law
  • Play soothing music or intriguing podcasts or audiobooks
  • Mouth you’re sorry and wave if you make a mistake
  • If you start feeling upset, take a deep breath to calm yourself down
  • If you’re too emotional, pull over to a safe location and wait until you calm down
  • Contact the police if you see another person driving aggressively
  • Expect and plan ahead for the possibility of traffic and reckless drivers

Contact Us

Please always remember to drive responsibly. If you are the victim of a car accident, you deserve to receive compensation and need a skilled attorney on your side. Our attorneys have years of experience and offer free initial consultations to review personal injury cases. Call us today: 716-330-2901.

Victim of a Hit and Run? Five Steps to Take…

car crash hit and runNo one leaves the house planning on getting in a car accident. Even dealing with a minor car accident with minimal damage requires time and effort.

A hit and run accident, where the driver of one car leaves the scene without stopping, can feel even more overwhelming.

Whether you are in a car, on a bicycle, or a pedestrian, here are five steps to take if you are the victim of a hit and run.

Assess Yourself and Others for Injuries

Being hit by a car or truck can be alarming. With the extra adrenaline in your system, you may not immediately feel pain. This is not necessarily a true indication of whether or not you have been injured. Take a few moments to check for bleeding, bones at odd angles, strained muscles, and the like. Once you have assessed your own self for injuries, check on those around you who may also have been affected.

If you or someone else has sustained injuries, seek medical help immediately. The rest of this checklist, while important, is not nearly as important as your own health and safety.

Clear the Roadway

Once assured you do not need immediate medical attention, clear the roadway if you are able to do so. Pull over to the side of the road. Retrieve your bicycle from the intersection. Gather your things. Clearing the roadway helps reduce the potential for subsequent accidents caused by unsuspecting motorists.

Call the Police

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. If you are the victim of a hit and run, this should be reported to the police as soon as possible. Law enforcement will likely come to the scene to interview you and file a report. This may seem like a waste of time, particularly if you don’t think you sustained injuries. However, some injuries take longer than others to present themselves. Calling the police is an important step in documenting the accident took place.

Document the Scene

The police will likely document some of the accident scene, but this does not prevent you from taking a few pictures of your own. Consider taking both close ups and distance photos with your phone. Obviously, if there are any skid marks or other evidence of the crash, such as paint transferred to the guardrail, this should be documented. Photos documenting the intersection, the parked cars on the side of the street, and other information which informs a fact finder may prove helpful later on.

Contact an Attorney

At O’Brien & Ford, we offer free consultations in every case. You are never under any obligation. Whether or not you have a personal injury claim is based on a number of factors. There is no need to guess whether or not you may have a claim. Our attorneys are happy to speak with anyone after a hit and run accident about the facts of their case. Call us today at (716) 330-2901. We look forward to answering any questions you may have.

Common Mistakes People Make Following A Car Accident 

Accident of two cars on a highway

A car accident is clearly a very stressful situation for anyone to go through. You will have many questions and worries going through your mind.

Before acting (or not acting), you should keep in mind the consequences of everything and be proactive. Here are some of the mistakes that many people make following a car accident.

Legal Representation

After you are involved in a car accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney right away. Insurance companies will try to contact you and receive a personal statement from you. This could be detrimental to your case because you could inadvertently waive your compensation. An attorney will read and analyze anything that an insurance company sends you and translate what it means. Furthermore, an attorney will be able to fight for you and make sure that you receive the monetary compensation that you deserve. Additionally, an attorney will be able to guide you through this process.

Posting On Social Media

Social media can often be used against you. Photos and statements can always be misconstrued and weaken your claim. While you should take photos and write everything down that you remember from the accident, you should refrain from posting anything on social media. Such photos can ruin your chances of a successful claim. Additionally, your friends and family can repost your photos and updates which could also be used against you.

Not Calling Authorities Or Exchanging Information

The first thing you should do following a wreck is to call the police. They can delegate what you need to do and report what happened. Furthermore, no matter what the situation is, you need the information of the person that you were involved in a car accident with. You never know what can happen in the future or if they will use facts against you. Make sure you know who the person is and how to reach them.

Not Seeking Medical Health

Medical care can be crucial to your claim. Showing that you have suffered injuries will prove that you need compensation. Most importantly, following the shock and stress of your car accident, you may not even realize that something is wrong. A professional doctor will be able to look at you and determine if you have been injured. You may need much more health care than you initially realized, and some injuries can be permanent. Many people want to just go home, but the smartest thing to do is going to the hospital.

Waiting Too Long

Each state has a statute of limitations to file a car accident claim. After that certain statutory time lapses, you will no longer have a case. Therefore, it is imperative to file within the time allotted so that you can be remedied. Otherwise, the court will bar your claim without even hearing your case. An attorney can inform you on the statute of limitations of your state and whether you still have time to sue, but it is always prudent to file a claim as soon as possible.

Contact Us

Do not wait to contact our experienced team of attorneys to represent you. Our attorneys at O’Brien and Ford are ready and capable to take on your case and make sure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Please call us at (716) 330-2901 to receive a free consultation.