October 2011

North Carolina Car Crash Prevention: Eliminating Distracting Thoughts

October 28, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

When most pundits, policy analysts, and driving instructors talk about ways to eliminate North Carolina car accidents – to reduce their severity or impact on drivers and passengers – they focus on commonsense precautions, such as these:

• Avoid speaking on your cell phone or text messaging while driving;
• Avoid driving with pets loose in your car;
• Avoid driving during certain dangerous times of day (Friday and Saturday nights, e.g. and holidays like Memorial Day or the Super Bowl);
• Avoid driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
• Avoid driving while overly fatigued;
• Avoid rubbernecking;
• Reduce the amount of driving time that you do on a typical day; etc

Many of these tips are common sense, and many are likely grounded in good – or at least reasonably good – scientific analysis.

However, North Carolina car crash prevention experts are probably neglecting a very important idea. Clearly, drivers who are distracted have a higher risk of accidents. So why not consider the possibility that eliminating as many distractions as possible – including distracting thoughts, themselves! – might lower accident risk?

Most of us drive on automatic pilot. Yes, we ostensibly pay attention to the road. But we also do things like think about emails we have to write, imagine conversations with our spouses, and even mull over topics we hear on the radio. What if, instead of allowing our thoughts to ramble on like that, pointlessly, we instead purposefully spent energy and time and attention attending to the driving itself?

In other words, what if we put extra effort into perceiving the road, watching for danger, being attuned to our own habits (both good and bad) etc? Would this kind of extra mindful driving be more protective against North Carolina car accidents than normal, standard “safe” driving that’s nevertheless often inhibited by distracting thoughts?

Obviously, there probably are not a lot of good scientific studies that examine the value and merits of this hypothesis. However, given everything that science has shown us about the dangers of distracted driving, the suggestion that stripping away thought distractions would lead to safer driving is far from absurd.

On a less theoretical note, if you need help with a specific question regarding a claim, connect with a thoughtful, compassionate, experienced North Carolina car accident law firm.

More Web Resources;

The dangers of distracted driving

Mindful driving

What’s REALLY Motivating You to Contemplate a North Carolina Car Accident Lawsuit?

October 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s never a bad idea to ask the “why” question.

WHY are you thinking about taking legal action against a person or a company for a recent North Carolina auto accident? What’s your purpose? How might victory or success redound to help you and your family?

Your first inclination when you read a question like this might be to roll your eyes. Of course you understand “why” you are doing what you are doing. Someone took advantage of you on the road. Or maybe your bucket of bolts fell apart on the highway. And you want justice. You want compensation. You want to be paid back for the physical, mental, and financial harm that you’ve suffered (or will suffer) as a result of the disaster.

While these motivations are all very understandable (and very common), they are somewhat superficial.

Gaining a deeper sense of clarity of purpose may give you more tools and options and ensure that you make smarter decisions going forward. Spending time to examine your fundamental motivations for taking legal action can also help you meet more of your underlying needs.

So how can you probe for these deeper motivations? One interesting method is to borrow a process developed by Toyota called the “Five whys.” Essentially, you take any question that’s on your mind – any problem that’s keeping you up at night – and you drill down to identify the core reasons behind your actions.

Here is an example of this method in action.

Why #1: Why do you want to sue John Doe for your North Carolina car accident?

Answer: Because that idiot cut me off in traffic and forced me to drive my car into a telephone pole.

Why #2: And why was that incident a problem?

Answer: Obviously, because the guy nearly killed me. I have a need to be safe on the roads.

Why #3: Why is it important to you to drive safely and avoid accidents?

Answer: Because I want to live a long life and spend a lot of time with my family.

Why #4: And why is a long life and spending a lot of time with your family important?

Answer: Because being with my family is a fundamental source of joy for me.

In this case, we don’t need to drill down any further – go to the fifth why – because we’ve already arrived at an important conclusion. What’s motivating this person is a deep need to spend time with his family. So it’s a lot more than a quest for dollars or a quest for vengeance. It is about preserving this fundamental need to cherish his most fundamental human connections.

All that said, while it’s important to identify your motivations, you also need good strategies and tactics to get results. Connect with an experienced North Carolina car accident law firm today to start that process.

More Web Resources:

Five Whys

What’s your real motivation?

Talking to Your Friends and Colleagues about a Traumatic North Carolina Car Accident

October 19, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

You and/or a close family member was recently involved in a traumatic, terrifying, possibly catastrophic North Carolina car, motorcycle, truck, or bus accident.

In the hours, days, or weeks since, you have been trying to pick up the pieces of your life and put them back together again. One strategy you might deploy – the sooner the better – is to connect with an experienced North Carolina car accident law firm to go over your strategic and tactical opportunities to recover damages and hold wrongdoers to legal account.

Beyond that, you also face day-to-day stresses. Specifically, you may face a certain pregnant silence with friends, co-workers, or possibly even close family members when the topic of your accident comes up. You know what happened. The other person knows something about what happened. Or maybe knows only bits or pieces. But the disconnect between the other person’s curiosity, interest, concern, etc., and your ability or emotional tolerance for talking about what happened may be quite big.

This gulf creates social tension.

The other person may want to know about the accident and push your boundaries. Or you might feel “weird” talking about the shocking nature of the accident, since you don’t want to disturb the other person with your legal, financial, medical, or logistical concerns.

So what can you do to ease this small but surprisingly vexing social problem?

One strategy is to prepare “talking points” about the accident so you can quickly dispatch with common queries. Write out scripted responses for common questions. Memorize them, or at least read them over a few times, so you feel more prepared about how to deal with the questions.

Another strategy is to practice “being in the moment” whenever conversations about the accident arise. In other words, don’t pre-prepare. But prepare to be thrown off of your game. Recognize that the topic of your accident will come up from time to time, and steel yourself, emotionally and otherwise, to manage your feelings about those conversations.

Say a careless co-worker, for instance, won’t stop bugging you with questions about the accident. Just pay attention to your emotional state and, in no-nonsense terms, tell the person to stop bugging you and/or give yourself some “soothing time” after the experience. For instance, take a nice bath, talk to a friend about the traumatic conversation, or engage in something restful and refreshing, like exercise, meditation, yoga, sleep, etc.

More web resources:

Socially awkward situations

How To Say “I don’t want To Talk About It”

Better Technology: A Long-Term Solution for North Carolina Truck Accidents?

October 17, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The pundits, politicians, bloggers, and soothsayers who study the problem of North Carolina truck accidents – and who mull over policy solutions to prevent horrific crashes or at least make accidents slightly less horrific – rarely explore “out of the box” initiatives. That’s understandable. Our policymakers like to ground their ideas in good science and research.

However, from time to time, it may help to consider counterintuitive solutions. Here is one of those: What if we improved technology to reduce the load burden on trucks, thereby reducing the volume of trucks on our state’s roads?

With fewer trucks on the roads, there would be fewer truck accidents.

Let’s walk through the logic a little more carefully. Thanks to information-sharing technologies, social networking, and other web- and mobile-assisted mechanisms, people in North Carolina can now access goods and services virtually. Thus, in some areas of our lives, we depend less on real “brick and mortar” supplies to help us and more on virtual solutions. For instance, instead of buying an alarm clock, you can just buy an alarm clock app on your phone. This reduces (in a small way) the amount of materials that need to be shipped, purchased, wrapped, etc.

Think about this more broadly: Imagine what might happen if we found solutions that allowed us to “outsource” many of the tasks that we now delegate to real objects. Obviously, you can’t “download” a chair to sit on. But you can download books and magazines, and you can also download systems and structures. It might take some creativity to figure out “virtual solutions” to problems like “how do I cook my dinner?” and “how do I build my porch addition?” And virtual solutions will only reduce our needs for real goods – they won’t replace them all together, unless we end up, in the distant future, living in some dystopian world, like out of a Philip K. Dick novel.

Until then, however, we can start to think creatively about how to reduce our shipping footprint and reduce the need to ship so much stuff. If we did that, we could reduce the number of trucks on the road and thus cut down on the number of serious North Carolina truck accidents.

Need more help? Connect with an experienced North Carolina truck accident law firm.

More web resources:

Why “Going Virtual” Equals “Going Green”

How More and More of Our Lives Are Becoming Virtual

North Carolina Car Crash Scam: Eight People Charged, Millions Outraged

October 13, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Authorities in Raleigh have arrested eight people in conjunction with a North Carolina car crash scam. According to State Insurance Commissioner, Wayne Goodwin, the group “staged car wrecks and then submitted bogus insurance claims” to pull in $44,000. Had authorities not thwarted scam, the group could have succeeded with claims for an additional $51,000. Authorities are still looking for two other people suspected of faking car crashes to collect insurance claims. Most of the suspects are from Raleigh, although one hails from Louisburg; all eight people are being held on various bond amounts, according to an AP report.

Obviously, conscientious citizens find this behavior despicable and scary. Who fakes car crashes to collect money? What would happen if a car crash actually injured someone – not just one of the scam artists but an innocent bystander? How common is this kind of scheme? What can people do to prevent becoming victimized by scam artists?

These are all crucial questions, and it’s easy to worry about crazy insurance scammers threatening the lives of motorists and pedestrians. But it’s important not to get distracted by these fantastical, low-probability problems — e.g., someone crashing his car into you, so he can dupe you in some elaborate insurance scam. After all, there are real road dangers out there, and your time is better spent focusing on the dangers you can control and are likely to face. For instance, as we’ve discussed before in this North Carolina car crash blog, certain times of day and holidays are far more dangerous than others. If you make a conscious effort to avoid driving on, for instance, New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday – as well as on Friday and Saturday nights – you will likely reduce your accident risks a lot more than if you fret over the nefarious doings of car crash scam artists.

For grounded help with your North Carolina car accident issues, connect with a responsible North Carolina car accident law firm.

More Web Resources:

NC Police Charge Eight with Running Car Crash Scam

How common are car crash scams?

Off-Duty Officer Shoots at Hit and Run SUV, After North Carolina Car Accident

October 10, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

WSOC TV is reporting that an off-duty officer shot at an SUV that hit his car and then left the scene of the North Carolina car accident. According to the Channel 9 report, Terry McConico was driving with his wife, when a gray SUV rammed their vehicle. A witness saw McConico hop out of his car, piping mad. He hollered at the SUV, which then “backed up and took off.” McConico was not deterred. He ran after the car, yelling at the driver to stop. When the SUV continued full throttle, McConico whipped out his gun and shot at the car twice.

Police officers who investigated have not determined whether McConico made any direct hits on the SUV (or on the men inside it). McConico did have a permit to carry concealed gun, but Channel 9 witnessed detectives giving McConico a pat down and putting him into a patrol car. Witnesses had some sympathy for McConico. Who wouldn’t become enraged after being wacked out of the blue by an SUV? What victim of a hit and run wouldn’t be mad?

Still, witnesses found his decision to fire at the vehicle dubious. One witness, Jeff Buder, told WSCO TV News “we are out here, he is out here… firing bullets in the air.” Another construction worker, who did not provide his name, echoed those sentiments: “he didn’t have to do that.”

So what is an appropriate way to deal with a hit and run accident?

The answer is simple: Leverage resources like the police and a North Carolina car crash law firm to help you get justice, apprehend the hit and run driver, collect compensation, and stay within the bounds of the law.

Don’t lose your temper and shoot guns at other drivers or pick fights with them. Instead, be mindful and assertive but above all legal in the actions you take. Then immediately get the help you need to resolve the situation, get compensated, and see that justice is done.

More Web Resources:

Off Duty Officer Fires Two Shots at Hit And Run Vehicle.

How to respond to a hit and run car crash?

Here’s an Idea to Stop North Carolina Car Accidents: Get the Worst Polluters Off the Road…

October 5, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

What can we do to reduce the number and severity of North Carolina car accidents?

This blog constantly returns to this question. It’s an important one since, as the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If we can come up with working policy solutions to curtail the worst and most damaging North Carolina car accidents, then our entire state will benefit in ways that we can only imagine.

Of course, coming up with the best policy solutions means thinking creatively – thinking “outside the box.” And maybe one way to do that is to isolate extremely problematic drivers – the ones who cause the most accidents, wreak the most havoc on the road, etc.

Police officers, traffic experts, and other pundits and analysts who look at car accident prevention issues often focus on preventing drivers from talking on their cell phones, text messaging, drinking and driving, doing drugs and driving, rubbernecking, driving while tired, etc. These are all noble, and probably scientifically sound, pieces of advice.

However, there is a kind of driver who may be doing a lot of harm who seems to always escape scrutiny. And that is the polluting driver. It’s the truck driver who fails to get his or her tailpipe inspected and who billows clouds of dark, disgusting, sooty smoke into traffic, choking and suffocating his or her fellow drivers. It’s the motorcyclist who leaves a greenish blue plume of fumes as he or she revs along the interstate. It’s the guy who owns a 30-year old boat of a car that hasn’t passed inspection in a dozen years and stinks up the road with his gross, behemoth auto.

By releasing noxious (and often illegal) emissions, these polluting drivers obviously harm our air quality and possibly even contribute to things like climate change. But this kind of pollution may also have short-term, dangerous effects. Highly publicized studies have linked pollution with heart failure. In other words, drivers who get caught in very polluted traffic are at high risk for suffering a heart attack. If short-term, intense, point source pollution is enough to give people heart attacks, doesn’t it seem reasonable to think that it might cause or at least contribute to some not-insubstantial proportion of injury accidents on the road?

Just a thought.

For effective, sound, practical, and thorough help with your car accident case, get in touch with a North Carolina auto accident law firm.

More web resources:

Toxic traffic fumes linked to heart attacks?

Polluting vehicles should be taken off the roads.

Are Gruesome Reports About North Carolina Car Accidents Rendering Us Insensitive to Dangers of the Road?

October 3, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The internet has enabled nearly instant distribution of relevant news about things like North Carolina car accidents. No longer must you wait until the next day’s paper to read about a terrible DUI accident that killed two young teen girls or a monstrous Mack truck flip on I-95. Instead, within minutes to hours of a crash, you can likely find info about what happened in the media, blog posts, Twitter, social media, etc.

In some ways, this is good. One can argue that increasing awareness of these stories helps drivers remember the deadly consequences of failing to follow good safety precautions (such as: wear your seatbelt, don’t drive DUI, put down that cell phone when you drive, etc). But one can also make the argument that the oversaturation of these horror stories causes us to lose our sensitivity. In other words, as the classic saying about genocide goes: one death is a tragedy, 1 million deaths is a statistic.

The more stories we see about scary auto, car, bicycle, and motorcycle accidents, the more commonplace we will believe these accidents are. And that’s scary. Because part of the point of news reports about horrible events is to educate the public and help people make safer decisions about how to live and interact with the world.

If this philosophy is true – that over-publishing does more harm than good – opponents will be fighting an uphill battle for some time. The media — in particular the blogosphere — is insatiable. Consumers love consuming new information. And it’s hard to see how the tide can be turned.

Of course, if you or someone you care about has recently been hurt in a crash, you probably care less about how to prevent accidents and more about the specifics of what you can do, right now, to protect your rights and get compensation. Connect with a North Carolina car accident law firm to discuss your options and figure out how to get good results.

More Web Resources:

Do Bad News Stories Do More Harm Than Good?

What’s the Point of Reading the News, Anyway?