Basics of Road Safety – Part One

Jay Stillman

4 min read

At Stillman and Friedland, we have the expertise and years of professional experience to know how to help you after you’ve had an accident resulting in loss or injury. One of the ways we stay on top of current law is by always learning what’s new in the law. When accidents happen, we are here to help, but it is always better to prevent accidents than to deal with the injuries.

You can prevent injury by reviewing the latest safety recommendations and basic safety rules.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP):

 “Last year in Tennessee there were more than 158,000 motor vehicle crashes statewide.  According to the National Safety Council, one in eight drivers will be involved in a crash this year.”

As a responsible driver, you must do your best to keep yourself and your passengers safe!

Here is our summary of some basic car safety rules from the THP; we have added our recomendations. For information on what to do legally click here, and on avoiding truck accidents, click here:

1.  If you have an accident, and you can safely get yourself and your car out of the road, do that first! Just be sure to video or photo the location of the vehicles, skid marks if any, and any other visible evidence from the immediate scene.  If any witnesses are nearby, get their names and numbers. You don’t want to be the cause of a second accident or possibly get hurt a second time. If you can do so safely, move your car to a safe location out of traffic, either to the shoulder of the road or to the center median on your left if it’s closer and easier. Turning your wheels to the right if you are on the shoulder, or to the left if you are on the median, will prevent your car from being accidentally pushed back into traffic if it’s hit again.  Don’t stay on a bridge or up against a guardrail if you can help it.

2.  Handling your car when you have a flat or a blowout: It’s easier to handle a flat, because it is usually a gradual problem, but a blowout can be scary.  It’s important to keep your head at all times.  In any situation, you always need to react to what’s happening as a careful driver. Once you know you have tire trouble, safely get out of traffic as we discussed above.

3.  Once you are out of traffic safely, the THP suggests you call the Highway Patrol at *THP (*847) for assistance.  They claim they are often faster than a 911 response, but they ask that you be able to describe the location.  Keeping alert to your surroundings, including landmarks, exits, and mile markers will help you describe the site of the accident.  You can still call 911—as we reported earlier:

Nashville just spent $23 million on a new, updated system for tracking police, safety and emergency personnel in the field. This type of system often uses GPS technology to find you if you make a 911 call on your cell phone. The system will be expanded to surrounding counties for wider coverage in Middle Tennessee.”

4.  Once your car is out of traffic, determine whether it is best to wait in the car, or to exit away from traffic, and maintain a safe distance from the road and your vehicle.  Some jurisdictions outside of Tennessee require that cars are equipped with at least one reflective vest that the driver can wear to change a tire or while waiting for assistance.  The vests are invaluable at night or in low visibility. Prices for these are generally under $10, even as low as about $2.75.  It’s a minimal in“vest”ment in your safety!

5.  Sending out your “distress signal”:  Before you exit the car, if you can, turn on your emergency flashers and pop open the hood.  The THP suggests flying a white cloth from the window or antenna.  Another suggestion would be to keep a reflective traffic cone or sign in the trunk for emergencies.

We’ll have more on traffic safety in Part Two; in the meantime we wish you and your family safe travels.

Stillman and Friedland attorneys, because we care.  615-244-2111