Tips to Avoid Semi Truck Accidents on the Highway in Kansas City and Cass County

Most truck drivers on the road are highly skilled drivers who must qualify for special commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) before driving a semi truck. These drivers must comply with stricter rules to help protect the safety of other motorists on the highway. Unfortunately, even the most careful and skillful drivers face higher risks of accidents because of the challenges of driving large, heavy, trucks on the highway with many potential hazards such as road debris, careless drivers, and bad weather. In addition, there are some truck drivers who drive while distracted, sleep-deprived, inexperienced, or carelessly, putting other motorists at great risk on the highway.

Driving in Front of a Semi Truck

If you must slow down in front of a semi truck on the highway, slow down gradually. A semi truck with a full load can take the distance of over three football fields to stop. This will require that you stay alert to the potential hazards in front of you so that any semi truck driver behind you will have plenty of warning to avoid hitting you. If a semi truck is following too close behind you, move out of the way and let the truck pass you. Be careful when you change lanes and make sure you use your blinker to give semi truck drivers time to react. Remember that semi trucks do not maneuver as easily as cars so they cannot react as quickly to your lane or speed changes.

Driving Behind a Semi Truck

If you need to pass a semi truck in front of you, remember to be patient! Wait until you can safely pass, a few moments of patience can save your life. Do not tailgate the semi truck in front of you. You may be unaware of heavy traffic or other issues in front of the semi truck requiring him to quickly brake and you must be prepared to respond to a sudden stop at any moment in front of you. Be aware of the semi truck driver’s blind spot and do not hang out there. When you are directly behind the semi truck and when you begin your pass of the semi truck, chances are the semi truck driver cannot see you. As you can guess, you are in danger anytime you come close to a semi truck when the driver cannot see your car.

Pay Attention on the Highway

Pay attention when you drive! The most important thing you can do to avoid accidents with semi trucks or any other type of accident is to pay attention. Texting and dialing your cell phone can wait until you reach your destination.

Unfortunately, even the greatest amount of care cannot always be enough to avoid a car accident. If you are injured in an accident with a semi truck, contact the experienced attorneys at Benjamin Law Firm at 816-322-8008 for a consultation. We will work with you and your family to recover the compensation you deserve from the semi truck driver and the trucking company.

Driving on Icy Roads and Winter Conditions in Kansas City and Cass County, Missouri

Winter is upon us and now is the time to prepare for driving through icy and winter conditions. Driving on icy roads can be dangerous, but there are steps you can take to ensure you, and your vehicle, are ready for these adverse road conditions. Following simple winter weather driving tips will help ensure that you and your family will get to your destination and back home safely during the winter season.

The key is to be aware and adapt to these conditions.

Preparing for your Trip in Winter Conditions

Safe winter driving begins before you even leave your driveway. Clear all snow and ice from the entire vehicle – hood, roof, trunk, windows, lights and signals. Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. Check your tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses. Cold temperatures can lower tire pressure so make sure tires are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition. Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid a gas line freeze-up and in case you are stuck on the road as a result of an accident or detour. Pack blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle especially if you are taking a long trip. Other helpful items to pack include a windshield scraper and brush, battery booster cables, and emergency flares or reflectors.

Avoid Driving if Possible in Harsh Conditions

Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. The best thing to do in extremely bad weather is to stay off the road. This leaves the emergency services free to deal with emergencies on the road.

Driving on Icy Roads

Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle. Reduce your speed and look and steer where you want to go. Don’t get in a hurry and allow extra time to reach your destination. Give the car ahead of you extra space. Braking on a slippery surface requires more distance, so increase your distance with the car ahead. Do not use cruise control when driving on a slippery surface such as rain or ice. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Make smooth, careful movements by anticipating lane changes, turns and curves. If your vehicle starts to skid, steer into the direction of the slide. Make sure to drive slow and pay attention to the road, don’t allow your phone to distract you on icy roads.

Use extra caution on bridges, ramps and overpasses. These areas are likely to freeze first and stay frozen during a winter storm. Don’t power up hills. Try to get a little head start on a flat surface before you reach the hill and let that power carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible. Use lower gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

If Stuck on the Road in Winter Conditions

If you become snow-bound while on the road, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm because it is easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost. Plus other drivers on the road will present a greater danger to you outside your car as a result of the icy conditions. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible, which will make it easier for rescuers to find you. Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps. If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.

If you are injured in an accident on icy roads, contact the experienced attorneys at Benjamin Law Firm at 816-322-8008 for a consultation. We will work with you and your family to recover the compensation you deserve.

Talking to Insurance Representatives After a Car Accident in Kansas City or Cass County

Do Not Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Claims Representative After a Car Accident in Kansas City or Cass County. If you are injured in an automobile accident and the other side is at fault, you will probably be contacted by a claims representative from the other driver’s insurance company. The first thing they will want from you is a recorded statement. They will tell you that they just want to get your version of the events find out if you are injured.

If you give a recorded statement right after the accident, you may still be upset about the crash or under the influence of pain medication. You may say things that are not in your best interest and the insurance company will use your statement against you. You may give information to the claims representative that you do not intend or before you know the extent of your injuries.

If you give a recorded statement, you are simply giving the insurance company ammunition they will use against you later in settlement negotiations and at trial. What you say can and will be used against you by the insurance company.
Claims representatives for the insurance carriers are professionals who are experts at what they do. Their job is to have your claim cost as little as possible for their company. The claims representative will tell you that all they need to get things started is your recorded statement to determine liability. Then the claims representative will ask questions about how the accident occurred, the extent of property damage, your injuries, prior injuries and health issues, and other personal information.

Do Not Agree to Provide Medical Authorizations or Releases to the Insurance Claims Representative After a Car Accident in Kansas City or Cass County.

After the recorded statement, the claims representative will ask you to sign a medical authorization so the insurance company can obtain medical records and bills resulting from the vehicle accident. What they won’t tell you is that the claims representative will often use your medical authorization to not just obtain your treating records, but also to obtain your prior, unrelated medical records.

The claims representative will run your name through the Claims Index Database, which provides personal information about past claims from prior car accidents or work related injuries. The claims representative will access the Claims Index Database to find more information that can be used against you in a potential claim. If you were not in the Claims Index Database before the crash, you will be after.

By the time you are finished treating, the insurance company will know more about your injuries and health conditions than you do – thanks to your recorded statement, the Claims Index Database, and you’re your medical records and information obtained through your medical authorization. All of this personal information about you will be used against you in your claim especially if it goes to trial.

Don’t Settle a Claim Without Consulting an Attorney First

A car accident can be emotionally and financially stressful. Many people have the inclination to try to reach a settlement with an opposing insurance company as quickly as possible.

Many times a claims representative will tell you the insurance company will work with you and that you do not need an attorney. Agreeing to a quick settlement without speaking to an attorney first is a very bad idea. Claims representatives usually try to push people to settle as quickly as possible, and these quick settlements are extremely favorable to the insurance company. They want you to settle before you speak to a lawyer, because they believe that they can push a low settlement offer on you before you have a chance to realize the full value of your case and the full extent of your injuries.

If you have not recovered from your injuries and are continuing medical treatment, you should not settle your case because your doctor is in a better position determining the amount of medical treatment you need than an insurance company. Please do not settle any car accident personal injury claim with an insurance company without seeking the services of an experienced attorney.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Cass County

The big insurance companies want to settle car accident claims for the smallest amount possible. Do not let them take advantage of you after an automobile accident. If you have been in an automobile accident in Missouri you should seek the assistance of a skilled car accident attorney. If you have any questions about auto accidents in the Kansas City area and Cass County, contact Benjamin Law firm for a consultation to determine if you have a claim.