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Biloxi Personal Injury Law Blog

Critical tips to keep pedestrians safe around cars

You have a near-miss leaving a casino. You step out into the street, at a crosswalk, and a driver runs through and almost hits you. It's close enough to feel the wind on your face. They don't even stop. You stand there, staring after the car and thinking about how close you came to the end of your life -- or, at least, a trip to the hospital with some serious injuries.

It makes you think. What can you do to protect yourself around cars? One simple error, made by some other driver, could have huge ramifications in your life. You clearly can't trust all drivers to act safely and responsibly, but what can you do on your end to avoid injury? Here are a few important tips that may help:

  • Always use crosswalks. You know from experience that this isn't perfect, but it does help. If you can, use a light-controlled crosswalk. Wait for the proper symbol and then cross.
  • If you have to walk in the road -- maybe there is not a sidewalk -- you want to face the oncoming traffic. Do not walk with traffic, even though that is the way that you ride a bike. Pedestrians always face traffic.
  • Watch out for other pedestrians and cyclists. Don't get lost in thought or listen to music so loudly that you have no situational awareness. Joggers, runners and cyclists could all cross your path.
  • Wear bright clothes during both the day and night. At night, wear clothes with reflective material and/or carry a light. Do all that you can to make yourself highly visible. A lot of accidents happen because drivers just do not see pedestrians.
  • Limit unpredictable actions. Think about how drivers see you and what they expect, and then act in a predictable fashion. All it takes is a split second of confusion for an accident.
  • Put away your mobile devices. As noted, you don't want to listen to loud music on your headphones. Don't make phone calls. Don't check your text messages while you cross the road. Remember that distraction takes lives. Stay focused on what you're doing and the traffic around you.
  • Keep your eyes up. If you're walking and talking with someone else, don't turn to talk to them. Don't watch your feet as you walk. Stay aware of everything that is happening. You may spot serious hazards before a crash.

Children are a bigger distraction to drivers than cellphones

If you're one of the millions of parents who will be shuttling their kids to day camps, softball games, play dates and "Mommy and Me" classes this summer, it's essential to understand how much of a distraction the kids can be to you when you're behind the wheel. Not only can kids take their parents' minds off their driving, they often cause them to take their eyes off the road.

One study found that drivers who had young passengers in the car spent more than 20% of their time with their eyes completely off the road. That's 12 times greater than the average driver talking on a cellphone (which is obviously also not a safe thing to do).

What's behind the rise in fatal crashes?

If you've purchased a new car recently, it may well include technology that warns you of vehicles in your blind spot, dings at you if you start to drift out of your lane and even displays a miniature speed limit sign on the speedometer that reminds you how fast you should be driving in your current location. It likely has a back-up camera to help spot cars, kids and obstacles immediately behind you.

So why are fatal car crashes increasing? According to the National Safety Council (NSC), over 40,000 people lost their lives in accidents in 2016 (the most current year for which data is available). That was a 6% increase from 2015 and a 13% rise from 2014.

Will Congress vote to allow military medical malpractice suits?

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear a case that challenged the legal precedent that prohibits military personnel from filing medical malpractice lawsuits against the military. The decision was not unanimous. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas -- who often aren't on the same side of Court decisions -- both voted to let the case move forward.

The case involves the death of a former Coast Guard officer's wife in 2014. The woman bled to death after she gave birth at Naval Hospital Bremerton. The suit claimed that doctors failed to respond appropriately when she started bleeding excessively after her daughter was delivered.

Family awarded $1 million for mother's brutal murder in Jackson

Law enforcement officers and 911 dispatchers are human beings, which means they don't always make the right decisions. Unfortunately, a poor decision by people in these essential jobs can have tragic results. That's what happened in the case of a Jackson woman who was brutally murdered nearly five years ago.

The woman's family sued the city for her wrongful death. This month, they were awarded $1 million by a Hinds County jury.

Pedestrians have to be cautious when leaving casinos

When you go to a casino in Biloxi, you expect a day of fun and excitement. You might walk away with a big win, too, and decide to head out to celebrate. It's typical for people to have a few drinks in the casino, so you might not be completely sober when you leave. You could decide to walk, like most, and go to a local restaurant or bar to celebrate your winnings.

People in this kind of scenario are at risk of being hurt or killed. Why? Distractions such as winning money and being slightly intoxicated combine to make people less aware of their surroundings. As a result, you might not check the roadway before you walk into a crosswalk or could step out into a parking lot without thinking about the potential for drivers to be heading in your direction.

Watch out for these summer driving dangers

Mississippi doesn't have the weather extremes that come with the changing seasons in many parts of the country. However, summer nonetheless brings added dangers on the roads. Whether you're staying in Mississippi this summer or your vacation plans include a road trip across the country, it's important to be aware of them. Let's look at a few hazards that can plague drivers during the summer months.

Vacationing drivers

How a little compassion can improve doctors' and patients' lives

Most everyone would prefer a doctor who displays empathy, support and kindness over one who is all business. That's particularly true if we're dealing with a serious medical issue or are simply anxious and uncertain about our health and our future.

Even a brief display of compassion can be reassuring. In fact, one study found that patients who had such an interaction with a doctor for just 40 seconds had measurably lower anxiety levels.

Phones aren't the only dangerous distractions for drivers

Many people think they're not guilty of distracted driving because they don't use their phone behind the wheel. That's certainly an important safety measure. A buzzing phone or the sound of an email or text coming in can be hard to resist. Turning your phone off and putting it out of reach (maybe even in the trunk) can eliminate the temptation to just take a quick look while you're stopped at a light.

However, there are many other distractions that can take your eyes and mind off the road. Let's look at some of those and how you can minimize or eliminate them altogether.

Why is summer the most dangerous time to be on the road?

We're coming up on the time of year that's been ominously dubbed the "100 Deadliest Days for Drivers" -- from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Many Americans are taking weekend trips and longer vacations. Teens with little experience behind the wheel have a lot of free time, and much of it is spent in their cars.

In addition to the usual distractions of texting and talking on the phone, many drivers have human distractions in their cars. Parents are driving kids to a multitude of summer activities. Teens are crowding into cars for a day at the beach or a night of partying.

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1025 Howard Avenue
Biloxi, MS 39530

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