Winter is approaching in Michigan, and more challenging road conditions are coming. Whether it is snow, ice, or sleet, there are more serious and fatal accidents in winter weather; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 374 deadly car accidents and 25,000 serious injuries in 2020 in wintry conditions.
In this article, you will learn how to prepare your car for Michigan winters to keep you and your family safe on the roads. If you have questions about a recent accident, our Detroit car accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates, P.C. can help you.
As the temperature in Detroit drops, so does the inflation pressure of your tires. Each fall, ensure all your tires are filled to the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is listed in the vehicle owner’s manual. It also should be on the inside of the driver’s door frame. However, you should not inflate the tires to the pressure stamped on the tire; this is the maximum pressure, not what is recommended for your car. Other tire tips to follow this winter are:
- Check your tires every month, especially before taking longer trips.
- Check your tires when they are cold and have not been driven on for several hours.
- Check the tread for signs of wear. Nothing is more hazardous than driving on bald tires on slick Michigan roads in January.
- Check how old each tire is. Many car manufacturers recommend replacing a tire every six years, regardless of mileage.
All it takes is a significant winter storm and you can run through your windshield wiper fluid. Ensure the reservoir is full of winter windshield wiper fluid before every Michigan winter. Double-check that your windshield wipers are still in good condition and remove snow and ice well. You should install heavy-duty windshield wipers if you are in a particularly snowy part of the state.
Every vehicle in Michigan should have an emergency kit suited for winter weather, including:
- Ice scraper and snow shovel
- Sand or kitty litter for traction if your vehicle gets stuck
- Flashlight, jumper cables, and warning flares
- Cell phone and charger
- Water and food
- First-aid kit
If you have a gas-powered vehicle, keep the tank as full as possible. You do not want to be stranded on the road in a snowstorm and run out of fuel. For electric and hybrid cars, try to reduce the drain on the battery in cold weather. Most cars drain the battery to keep the cabin warm in chilly temperatures. The battery drain can be reduced by keeping the electric vehicle warm in the garage in cold temperatures. One way to do this with an electric car is to plug it in at night in cold weather to keep the battery temperature in the ideal range.
Car batteries degrade in warm weather, but it may not be until they are asked to crank a cold motor in the winter that they run out of power. This is because icy weather reduces the battery’s charge when you want it to do more work.
Have a mechanic check the battery to ensure it has sufficient power for cold conditions and is ready for the winter. The car battery’s cables and clamps should be tight and clean, so the battery does not lose power from a bad connection. If you notice corroded terminals, you can clean them by disconnecting them and cleaning them with an old toothbrush, water, and baking soda.
How To Drive Safely In The Winter
Keeping your car in optimal condition will help keep you safe this winter, as will safe driving practices. Keep these tips at the top of mind to get where you need to go safely:
Clear Off Your Vehicle
If your car sits outside, use a snow brush and ice scraper to remove ice and snow from all windows and car surfaces. Doing so ensures the best visibility, and clearing snow from the trunk and roof will prevent it from blowing off and reducing other drivers’ visibility.
Drive Slowly And Smoothly
The biggest reason there are more accidents in winter weather is drivers forget that they need to slow down and avoid aggressive starts, stops, and turns. You have less traction in ice and snow, so you must accelerate slowly, drive smoothly, and gently direct the car through turns. Apply the brakes gentler and sooner than usual because the car takes longer to stop. Also, only do one driving action at a time; trying to brake and turn on an icy road could cause a loss of control.
Do Not Overestimate All-Wheel-Drive (AWD)
Many vehicles today use all-wheel-drive to get extra grip on slick roads. AWD can help keep the car moving in certain icy and snowy conditions, but man drivers become overconfident because they think AWD will let them drive as fast as usual on a slick road. However, AWD is only useful when going straight ahead; it offers no advantage when you brake or corner.
Keep Your Foot Firm On The Brake
Almost every modern vehicle on the road has anti-lock braking (ABS) to help you slow down on slick roads without locking the brakes. This allows you to brake and still steer. but many drivers are startled by the vibration in the pedal when the ABS kicks in. This is the system doing its job, so keep your foot firm on the brake and do not pump it.
Understand Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Like with ABS, most modern vehicles have electronic traction control that will help to stop the car from sliding in a turn. This system will turn on automatically if the car starts to skid or slide. But disregard what you may have heard years ago about steering into the skid; with DSC, you need to steer in the direction you wish to go, and the system handles everything else.
Speak To Our Detroit Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you were recently injured in a car accident, you should not take on the insurance or court system alone. Our Detroit car accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates, P.C. may obtain more compensation for your losses than you could. Contact our Detroit law office for a consultation today by calling (248) 948-9696.
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies changed the transportation industry when they launched in the early 2010s. These services offer riders a convenient option to get around, but what happens if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident? Who pays?
In this article, find out about the next steps if you were in an Uber or Lyft accident with injuries. If you have questions about your case, our Detroit car accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates can help you.
Why Do Rideshare Accidents Happen?
Like any other car accidents, accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers happen for many reasons:
- Distracted driving
- Inexperienced driving
- Fatigued driving
- Reckless driving
There is also a common rideshare practice called ‘deadheading,’ where the driver simply drives aimlessly in an area where fares may occur. When a driver is looking for a passenger, they could be distracted and get into an accident.
Michigan Is Now A No-Fault Accident State
When considering the next steps after a rideshare accident, you should remember that Michigan recently changed its laws and revised its no-fault state auto laws. This provides each accident victim has a guarantee of certain insurance benefits, regardless of who was at fault. Someone hurt in a Michigan car accident, including a rideshare accident, can have both personal protection insurance benefits and a liability claim (in certain instances).
Under the new Michigan law, each injured party can receive limited medical and rehabilitation expenses, three-year wage loss benefits, and replacement service costs. If your excess economic and non-economic losses are above your no-fault insurance benefits, you can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
If you are injured in a rideshare accident, just remember that your no-fault insurance will typically pay your initial benefits. But if your injuries and other damages exceed your coverage, you and your attorney will consider additional legal options.
Uber And Lyft Rideshare Company Insurance
Before rideshare companies started, all drivers on American roads were personal or commercial. If you wanted a ride, you would pay for a cab, or ride with a friend or family member. Most commercial cab drivers have work vehicles and pay for commercial auto insurance. A personal auto insurance policy does not cover a driver driving a passenger for money.
Rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft are between personal and commercial drivers. Uber and Lyft say that their drivers are not employees but are independent contractors who drive customers in private vehicles. A Lyft driver may use his car to take his kids to school in the morning, turn on the Lyft app, and pick up paying customers for most of the day. Then, he might pick up the kids from school and get takeout for the family dinner.
At the beginning of the rideshare era, Uber and Lyft did not have driver insurance coverage. Most had personal auto insurance policies that would not cover them when they had fares. This began to change when an Uber driver killed a pedestrian in San Francisco. The grieving family sued Uber for wrongful death, which led rideshare companies to purchase commercial auto insurance.
Today, Uber and Lyft drivers must have personal auto coverage, and commercial auto coverage may kick in when drivers are working. Which policy pays for what and when depends on the situation. Below are several common scenarios.
When The Rideshare Driver Caused The Accident
As of 2022, if you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver waiting for a fare, the rideshare company’s liability insurance operates to protect passengers negligently injured by a ride-share driver’s negligence.
If you were hurt by an Uber or Lyft driver when they were picking someone up or transporting a passenger, the company offers up to $1 million in liability protection. In some cases, Uber and Lyft offer uninsured and underinsured coverage, depending on the state.
If you were hurt by an Uber or Lyft driver not using the rideshare app when the accident happened, you may only file the claim on the driver’s personal insurance policy. Your car accident attorney can subpoena cell phone records to determine if the driver was using the app when the accident happened.
When The Other Driver Caused The Accident
As noted earlier, Michigan is a no-fault state, so if you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle and another vehicle injures you, you would typically file a claim with your insurance company. You may file a claim or lawsuit with the other party’s insurance provider or from a state fund carrier assignment in limited circumstances.
Can You File A Lawsuit Against Uber Or Lyft?
If you were hurt in an Uber or Lyft accident, you might want to know if you can sue the company directly. Rideshare companies have more money at their disposal than most private parties.
But filing a lawsuit against Uber or Lyft is challenging. These companies classify their drivers as contractors, so they are not employees. Entities are more likely to be held liable for injuries when their employees are negligent. However, you could decide to file a suit against a rideshare company in limited cases, such as:
- When your injuries and other damages exceed your driver’s personal auto policy
- An Uber or Lyft driver assaulted you
- You believe Uber or Lyft was reckless in training, hiring, or retaining the driver who injured you
How Long Do You Have To File A Car Accident Lawsuit?
Whether the at-fault party was a rideshare driver or a private party, you have only a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit in Michigan. The statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is three years from the date of the injury.
Contact Our Detroit Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you are in an accident using Uber or Lyft, understand that these claims and lawsuits are usually more complex than typical accident claims. When you think the rideshare company should pay for your damages, it will help to have an attorney answer your questions. Contact our Detroit car accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates. We can help with your case, so please call (248) 963-1719.