Nevada is a land of extremes. Along with hot, dry weather, the state also experiences tremendous thunder storms that bring with them exceptionally heavy rain. According to statistics
compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, rain and wet pavement combined account nation-wide for about 26% of vehicle crashes, 25% of crash injuries, and 21% of crash fatalities. About half of weather-related injuries on the road are caused by rain.
Heavy rain dramatically increases the risks of driving. In a sudden downpour visibility can rapidly drop to almost nothing, obscuring cars and other obstacles in front of the vehicle. Heavy rain also covers the roadway in a layer of water that can dramatically reduce vehicles’ contact with the road, leading to hydroplaning and loss of control.
These factors are considerably more dangerous on busy roads like those in the Las Vegas area, because drivers can react to heavy rain in unpredictable ways. Few drivers are accustomed to driving in downpours. The unfamiliar conditions and relative lack of consistent safety principles turns other drivers into additional hazards. Drivers may brake suddenly, which increases the chance of hydroplaning and may force following drivers to do likewise. Alternatively, drivers may not take the danger seriously, perhaps because they are overconfident about their vehicles’ ability to handle the wet conditions.
Drivers who find themselves in heavy rain should take several precautions:
- Slow down. Rather than waiting for the cars in front to slow, it’s best to be among the drivers to reduce speed. Pay attention to the following distance of the car behind and tap the brakes if necessary to get the other car’s driver to back off.
- Turn on lights. A car without lights on can vanish in a downpour.
- Try to maintain a safe following distance. Water on the roadway dramatically increases stopping distance. Giving the car in front an extra cushion is an important way of avoiding accidents.
- If necessary, stop. If rain is so heavy that visibility is completely gone, one should assume that the roadway is also heavy with water. Stopping completely may be the best course. If doing so, turning on hazard lights is a good extra precaution.
In the event of an accident during heavy rains, the important thing is to stay safe.
- Oncoming traffic will pose an ongoing hazard until traffic patterns have adjusted to accommodate for the accident.
- Emergency personnel may arrive more slowly due to the weather.
- If vehicles are stopped in an area that is flooded or may become flooded (meaning more than 6 to 10 inches of water), it may be necessary to leave the vehicle to avoid being caught in a flash flood.
Anyone who has been seriously injured in a car crash should talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in auto accident cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured in an accident during heavy rains, please give us a call today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page
Child car seats are not designed to last forever. Manufacturers label each of their car seats, as well as related equipment like bases for removable bassinets, with expiration dates past which the car seat should no longer be used. Manufacturers do this for a variety of important reasons. Parents should take expiration dates seriously.
Why do car seats expire?
If a seat were to fail in an accident the potential for catastrophic injury to the child would expose the manufacturer to expensive products liability lawsuits, not to mention a loss of confidence in the marketplace. For that reason, manufacturers of car seats put their products through extensive safety testing before selling them to the public. Manufacturers also pay close attention to how their products perform in the field and will be quick to issue recalls if something isn’t working as intended. That is why registering car seats is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
and every manufacturer.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule governing when a car seat has reached its expiration date. Instead, manufacturers determine expirations based on their safety testing procedures and engineering standards. There are a number of reasons why a car seat is given an expiration date:
- Safety standards are constantly changing, and older seats may no longer be compliant.
- Materials and safety technology are constantly getting better.
- Wear and tear can make straps, buckles, and safety padding more prone to breaking in an accident.
- Manufacturers do not test seats for an indefinite time and will stop evaluating expired seats for faults that might otherwise trigger a recall.
The risks of using an expired car seat
For all the reasons above, using an expired car seat places the child at greater risk of injury. A buckle that’s worn out could snap open in a collision, potentially eliminating the seat’s protections altogether. The seat’s impact foam could be brittle and cracked underneath the external padding, making it less able to absorb shocks. The possibilities are endless.
In the event of an accident an expired car seat that causes injuries could limit the parents’ ability to seek damages from the manufacturer on a products liability theory. In extreme circumstances where the responsible adult knew that the seat was defective but used it anyway, there may even be liability for the person who put the child in the seat. Using a seat that isn’t expired is one way to avoid making a tragic situation worse.
This advice is especially important to keep in mind when considering whether to buy or accept a used car seat from someone else. Most thrift stores don’t take used car seats because the risks are too great, but they are often available for sale or for free through channels like Facebook and Craigslist. Used car seats may have hidden defects, may have been subject to a recall, or may be past their expiration. When it comes to safety equipment, it’s always better to buy new.
GGRM is a Las Vegas car accident law firm
For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in the Las Vegas area in auto accident and products liability cases. Contact us if you have questions about how your car seat may affect your legal rights. For a confidential, no-cost attorney consultation, call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page