Tips & Advice

How to protect yourself from dog attacks

Most dogs are safe and friendly, but it’s a serious risk to assume that’s the case when the reality could be exactly the opposite. Remember, people get injured in dog attacks every year. Sometimes, the injuries are so severe that they pass away.

This isn’t to make you feel afraid of every dog that you don’t know, but you must be aware of this risk, especially if you have children or if you’re a frequent jogger. Dogs often chase runners out of instinct, and kids are at greater risk than adults because more vital areas — the face and neck — are closer to the dog’s level.

So, if a dog does seem like it’s going to attack, what should you do? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do not panic. Try to stay as calm and collected as you can. You want to give the dog the sense that you are in control of the situation, no matter how you feel.
  2. Do not run. Instinctively, you will want to run away, but it often just makes things worse. You are not faster than the dog and you will not outrun it. You will just show the dog that you are scared and make it think you are prey.
  3. Keep your hands down, facing the dog, and stand still. You can talk in a calming voice to the dog. Often, this is enough to make it stop the charge, even if it stays near you and keeps barking. Just stay still and keep this up for as long as you can.
  4. Begin to back away. Do it slowly, walking backward so that you don’t have to turn away from the dog. Putting some space between the two of you is wise, especially if the dog feels like it has to protect its territory. When you back off, it may lose interest.
  5. While keeping an eye on the dog, try not to make eye contact. Some dogs take this as a challenge or a sign of aggression.
  6. When dogs do move to snap or bite, attempt to put something in the way that may take the dog’s attention. For instance, if you’re holding your jacket, push it forward so that the dog bites it. It may then rip the jacket out of your hand and back off. You can make the dog feel like he or she has “won” the encounter without actually getting hurt.

These tips certainly help, but nothing guarantees you will not suffer serious injuries. If you do, make sure you know how to seek out financial compensation for your costs.

Good driving habits that can keep you safe

Good driving habits are not just about keeping the roads safe for other people, they can also go a long way to help you avoid accidents caused by other drivers’ bad habits. By practicing defensive driving techniques, you can substantially decrease your chances of becoming involved in a motor vehicle collision.

Whether you have recently completed a driving course or you have years of experience, it is always a good idea to evaluate your driving habits and make adjustments where necessary. Here are some safe driving techniques to practice next time you are on the road.

Use your turn signals

Vehicles have turn signals so that you can let other drivers know your intentions. In addition, the flashing light might get the attention of the driver behind you so that he or she slows down in time to avoid hitting you while you make your turn.

Stay with the flow of traffic

A driver who is going too fast or too slowly is actually disrupting the flow of traffic. Those who are speeding and weaving in and out of traffic can cause other drivers to suddenly hit their brakes or swerve to avoid a potential wreck. Drivers who are going too slowly might not be seen by drivers moving with the flow of traffic.

Avoid distractions

Distracted drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers due to their reduced focus on the road and slower reaction times. Unfortunately, even taking a few seconds to adjust the thermostat can be enough to cause you to miss the signs that another driver is even more distracted.

Keep up with maintenance

Keeping a well maintained car can also help you avoid a car accident. For example, if your brake pads become too worn or the tread on your tires is not in good condition, you may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.

While the above driving habits can reduce your risk of a car accident, sometimes it is impossible to dodge a wreck since they tend to happen in the blink of an eye. If you have been involved in a collision with a negligent or reckless driver, you might be able to file a claim for compensation.

3 tips for safer travel as a pedestrian

As a pedestrian, one of the major risks you face is getting hit by a car. There are many reasons that these accidents happen, from crossing into a vehicle’s path to a driver who’s too drunk to stop in time.

The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself, even if you have to walk from place to place. Here are three tips for staying safe as a pedestrian and reducing your risk of injury.

1. Cross at intersections

Though there is more traffic at intersections, they’re actually safer for pedestrians. Why? Drivers know to look for people crossing the road near stop lights.

Pedestrians also have the right of way in pedestrian crossing zones, whereas jaywalking means that the drivers have the right of way. If you’re hit anywhere other than an intersection, there is a risk that the driver won’t be held liable.

If you’re crossing in a crosswalk, walk to the right-hand side of the crosswalk to give drivers more time to stop.

2. Use sidewalks diligently

It’s always best to stay out of the path of traffic, and a sidewalk is a great place to do that. If you walk in the roadway, you’re much more likely to get hurt. In fact, the majority of accidents with pedestrians occur because they’re in the roadway. Stay safe, and stay on the right of a sidewalk, away from the roadway.

3. Be aware of your surroundings

Finally, be aware of your surroundings. There are always going to be drivers who do not pay attention and who put you at risk. Always look both ways and listen before you cross the road.

If you’re stepping out from behind parked cars or getting off a bus, it’s even more important to pay attention to what’s happening around you and to avoid stepping into traffic without looking first. If a driver is headed your way, make eye contact before you cross. Even if they are supposed to stop, they may not do so. Eye contact means that they see you, which helps improve your chances of avoiding injury.

Pedestrians deal with injuries every day as a result of drivers who do not stop for them. Drivers have to be aware of their surroundings and prepared for anyone who might cross into their paths. As a pedestrian, you can take steps to keep yourself safer and to help drivers avoid a collision.

The Importance of Taking Pictures After a Car Accident

Right after you are in a car accident, your heart may be pounding, and you may be nervous, scared or in shock. Some people describe feeling numb, disoriented, confused, or disconnected. The first thing you should do is check the condition of yourself and your passengers. If it’s just you, check to make sure you can move, you’re not trapped, and you are able to call 911 for help. If you have passengers, check to see if they are all conscious, alert, and able to respond to you.

Once you’ve checked everyone and made sure that the accident has been reported to the police, use the time while waiting for the police to arrive to take photos of the accident and your injuries. Here are a few tips for taking photos after a car accident.

Why Taking Photos is So Important

To understand the importance of taking photos after an auto accident, consider these questions:

● What if the police officer incorrectly documents the scene?
● What if the other driver gives a conflicting account of what occurred?
● What if the insurance company tries to say the accident ‘wasn’t that bad?’
● What if the insurance company says my injuries weren’t caused by the crash?

Photos really are worth 1,000 words. A Texas personal injury attorney can use your photos to build a compelling case and help you pursue compensation for your injuries. It’s difficult for a defense attorney or insurance adjuster to dismiss photographic evidence. The problem is that most people either do not take photos or do not know how to photograph the scene properly.

What to Do at the Scene of the Accident

Make sure that police and first responders are on their way. Then, if it is safe to do so, and you are physically able, take photographs of everything you can.

Time and Location Stamp Your Photos
Make sure your phone or camera has a way to document the time. Most new smartphones have a way to do this. You also can download timestamping apps. Make sure your location services setting is turned on. This shows exactly where the photo was taken. For an iPhone, Apple offers a tutorial. Android users should check with their phone’s manufacturer to learn how to do this.

You can text the photos to yourself or a loved one. This creates a permanent record of the time when the photos were taken. You may also want to note the weather and road conditions as well.

● Photograph the scene of the crash
Start with wide angle shots of the entire scene. Get all vehicles in the picture. Make sure that the image captures any traffic signals or stop signs that may be relevant. Photograph skid marks on the pavement and any debris. The goal should be to give a clear picture of where the accident happened.

● Photograph people
If you feel comfortable doing so, snap a picture or two of the others involved. This can help verify who was present and who was not.

● Photograph injuries
If you or your passengers sustained visible injuries, such as bruising, cuts, and scrapes, take a photo. This will help to prove that the injuries were sustained in the wreck, and it will show the extent of the injury before it has been cleaned and treated at a hospital. Take photos the following day to show swelling from injuries.

● Photograph damage
Take pictures of the damage to the vehicles. Get wide angle and close-up shots of the damage so that someone viewing the photos would be able to make sense of them. Super close, out of focus, blurry images do not help.

● Photograph Plate and VIN Numbers
Try to photograph all license plate numbers and VINs (vehicle identification numbers). There have been plenty of cases where police officers wrote down the wrong VIN on a crash report. These honest mistakes can lead to months of fighting with insurance adjusters over whether a damaged vehicle is covered by insurance.

Tips for Taking Good Photos

When taking photos of a car accident scene, make sure you are using your flash settings correctly. If it’s nighttime, you will probably need to use your flash setting, but if there are overhead street lights, you may not need the flash. The great thing about modern camera phones is you can check each photo instantly.

Do not hesitate to take dozens of photos from different angles. Remember to make sure you get wide-angle shots of everything, as well as close-ups showing the details of the damage or injury.

If you need to hire an attorney to pursue compensation for your injuries and property damages, your attorney would prefer to have too many photos rather than too few.

Hiring an Austin, TX Personal Injury Lawyer

When you are in a car crash, it can be a confusing and overwhelming. That is why it is so important to stay focused and keep a clear head. Plan ahead, and know what you are going to do if you are involved in a traffic accident.

Remember, take a minute to assess your injuries and your passengers.

Second, call for help.

Third, start documenting everything. Photograph the scene, then the vehicle damages, then the injuries. Get plate and VIN numbers if you can. Make a note of the weather, road conditions, and traffic signals.

Texas has strict time limits on filing a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured, you cannot afford to wait. Contact the experienced car accident lawyers of , or visit us online to set up your confidential, free consultation today.

Brights or Lights: Which is Safer When Cycling in Austin?

Austin is the perfect place to ride a bike. The city features plenty of interesting places to explore and an infrastructure that generally supports cyclists.

Numerous bike paths can be found throughout Austin. You can even bring your bike onto local buses. It is no wonder that many people enjoy cycling here and that many cycling groups have sprouted up in recent years in and around the city.

Unfortunately, more cyclists on our streets can lead to more biking accidents.

While cyclists cannot control what motorists do, they can take steps on their own to make their selves safer. One way to do that: Having the right gear.

Visibility is important. You want car and other vehicle drivers to easily see you. However, debate surrounds the best approach to visibility. Should you wear bright clothing? Or should you equip your bike with high-powered lights and reflectors?

To help you to make the right choice, we have assembled some basic information, including the pros and cons of each approach to visibility.

How Common Are Bike Accidents in Austin?

First, let’s take a closer look at bicycle accidents in Austin.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 900 cyclists are killed each year in the U.S. in bicycle-car collisions. Nearly 500,000 cyclists suffer serious injuries in these crashes, including:

Mapping from the Social Computing Group indicates that more than 1,400 reported bike crashes occurred in Austin between 2009 and 2014. The majority of those crashes involved collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles.

How Can You Keep Yourself Safe While Biking in Austin?

Bikes offer little in the way of protection for a rider when an accident with another vehicle occurs. While wearing a cycling helmet is an important part of preventing head, brain and neck injuries, the best way to keep yourself safe is by taking the necessary steps to avoid these types of accidents in the first place.

As a cyclist, you have to practice general bicycle safety in Austin and when you are riding in the surrounding areas. Bike Austinprovides the following tips to increase your safety:

  • If you are a beginning cyclist, start slow with short trips around your neighborhood or park before venturing into unfamiliar, more highly trafficked roads.
  • Be aware of the bicycle laws in Austin and follow them at all times.
  • Make sure your bike is properly maintained before each ride.
  • Make sure to bring the proper equipment in case of an emergency, including a portable pump in case of a flat.
  • Bring a water bottle to prevent dehydration.
  • Take a bicycling safety class if you intend to take long trips or drive through heavy traffic conditions.

You also have to keep in mind that motorists can easily overlook you when traveling on congested roads or through busy intersections. Your visibility is important any time of day or night.

Should Austin Cyclists Wear Bright, High-Visibility Clothing?

According to Competitive Cycling, choosing the right clothing for cycling can play a key role in increasing your safety.

While reflective tape and bicycle lights may be good at night, they do not do much to protect you during the daylight hours, and they can actually cause glare that could contribute to the likelihood of an accident, the website states.

Competitive Cycling says that you can announce your presence to other drivers on the road 24 hours a day by wearing bright, neon colors and fluorescent fabrics that can catch a driver’s attention.

You should incorporate bright colors into your overall outfit such as choosing a neon green bicycle helmet or a pair of fluorescent orange shoe covers.

Along with wearing bright colors, you can practice “defensive cycling” behavior such as making eye contact with drivers, signaling before turns and avoiding distractions by refraining from use of ear buds and or cell phones.

Should Cyclists in Austin Use Reflectors and Lighting Gear?

While Competitive Cycling advises against counting on reflectors and bike lights alone to increase your visibility, the lighting you that you actually use can go a long way to protect you against dangerous and potentially fatal bike accidents in Austin at night.

In addition to reflector lights, you should choose either a flashing or solid beam headlight mounted both on the front and back of your bicycle.

However, use caution in selecting the number of lumens. While having a bright light is essential to you and your bike’s visibility, you need to avoid going too far and actually blinding approaching drivers.

According to Next City, while it may seem like a good idea to get head and tail lights that are as bright as cars’ headlights, it is important to remember that a car’s headlights are focused and pointed down towards the road to avoid blinding other drivers. These same types of lights on bicycles are likely to flash directly into an oncoming driver’s eyes and may inadvertently draw drivers to you.

You should note that drivers with night blindness – a vision impairment that makes it hard for the sufferer to transition smoothly between light and dark areas – can be susceptible to headlight glare. In the seconds it takes for their vision to adjust, a bike accidents could occur.

Get Help from an Experienced Austin Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Even the most careful and competent cyclists can find themselves suffering serious injuries as the result of a collision with a careless or reckless driver.

If you have been involved in a serious bike accident in Austin, contact Byrd, Davis, Alden & Henrichson, LLP, for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can provide the legal representation you need, help you to hold negligent drivers accountable and pursue just compensation for your losses.