Category - Law

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

A car lands vertically into a snowbank on Interstate 93 during a snow storm north of Salem, New Hampshire.

Credit: https://www.theguardian.com/weather/gallery/2011/feb/02/winter-storms-us-in-pictures#img-5

Yeah, we hit the big one this time! I’m talking at least eight inches of snow in West Texas this past week. Schools were closed and so were many businesses.  Even businesses that wanted to remain open – struggled for lack of employees that were willing to risk driving in the snow.

 

Driving is treacherous in West Texas – even on sunny days. When you add all that snow and drivers that don’t know how to drive in harsh conditions – that makes it all the more dangerous.

 

I lived in one of the Northern states for more than thirty years.  Eight inches of snow is not that big of a deal there.

First off, the state and county Departments of Transportation send out powerful snowblowers to clear the snow that accumulates. Then, they distribute sand – mixed with salt to make the roads less slippery.

It helps quite a bit.  A study made in 1992, found that putting salt on the roads can reduce car accidents by 87 percent both during and after a snowstorm.

 

Second of all, people are used to driving in the snow for six months of the year.  Slow and steady will get you there safely.  We avoid braking as much as possible.  And, we pump the brakes slowly – if we do have to stop.  We keep an eye out for any possible actions that we might need to brake for.

 

I’ve landed in the ditch a few times because I’ve slammed on my brakes.  Unless one is an adrenaline junkie, that is not a good feeling.  Ugh. Teens need to be specifically taught how to drive in the snow. Teen boys think it’s fun to go fast and then slam on the brakes to see what will happen.  Nothing good comes of that experience.

 

Third, if one does start to skid on the slippery road, turn in the direction of the skid.  This is actually difficult to do.  We have a natural tendency to want to turn in the opposite direction.  You wouldn’t want to turn sharply, as that will make things worse. I can cover that in my next newsletter.

 

Final Point:
The Department of Transportation had closed some of the roads for this snowfall. It’s against the law to drive around the barricades.

I knew that it was a bad idea, but I didn’t realize that it’s also a Class B misdemeanor. This is the same as a DWI. If caught, you might be arrested, have your car impounded, or spend up to 180 days in jail and/or be fined up to $2000. You could also be charged for the cost of your rescue.

The powers-that-be only close the roads when they are not safe for driving. Don’t be foolish and think that you are “special” and will avoid a disaster.  You won’t.

 

This was the most snowfall that Odessa and Midland has seen in the last five years.  If you were injured because someone accidentally rammed into you – you should call our office for advice.

 


We Will Fight For You!


Call the Law Office of Gerald Fugit at 432-301-9252.

Watch Your Speed

Sign that says to "Move Over" and "Slow Down" when emergency vehicles are on side of road. Don’t speed.  Respect the road conditions when they are icy or rainy. It’s better to get where you need to go late – rather than not to get there at all.

 

Two First Responders are Dead & Another in Critical Condition

 

Lubbock lost two of its heroes. They gave their life to their community.  Yet another, has been injured so badly that he’ll possibly never return to work again.

 

A week ago:

Officers and firefighters were called to a single-vehicle rollover crash on I-27 at approximately 8:19 a.m. Saturday. It appeared that the vehicle was traveling southbound and crossed the median into the northbound lanes where it rolled over.

While investigating this scene, another vehicle carrying a trailer was traveling southbound on I-27 when it crossed over the median and came to a stop in the northbound lanes — about 25 to 50 yards away from the first accident scene.

Police and firefighters – then spread out their resources to work both of the accidents. While personnel were investigating the two accidents, a third vehicle struck them and killed two and critically injured the third man.

 

27-year-old Officer Nicholas Reyna and 39-year-old Officer Eric Hill were killed in the wrecks. Matthew Dawson was critically injured.

 

The pickup truck that struck the first responders was a Ford F-250 – which traveled southbound on I-27, crossed over the median and struck one Lubbock police officer and two Lubbock firefighters. That vehicle came to a rest in an embankment. The driver of the vehicle was not driving in the single lane – as required by law.

 

Move Over – It’s the Law

If you’ve ever been stranded on the side of a road, you know how dangerous and unnerving it can be.  Cars and trucks speed by – only inches away, leave too little margin for error and could so easily result in a disastrous crash.

 

America’s first responders – police, fire, EMT’s – face this peril every day in the line of duty. 

Tow truck drivers, highway workers, utility workers and others whose jobs sometimes require that they park their vehicle on the roadway or the side of the road are also at risk.

To keep people from being killed or injured in these situations, all fifty states now have mandatory “Move Over” laws.  If you see a vehicle with emergency lights or flashers on, you are required to move over a lane and slow down.

More than 150 law enforcement officers have been killed since 1997 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways.  In fact, traffic-related incidents, including vehicle crashes, are one of the leading causes of death for law enforcement officers.

In 2017, 47 officers lost their lives in traffic-related incidents, with nine officers struck and killed outside their vehicles. Already in 2019, responder fatalities include 7 law enforcement officers.  From 2007 to 2017, 39 percent of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were lost in traffic-related incidents.

Many have been seriously injured.  This is a tragedy and completely preventable.  Credit: https://www.transportation.gov/

 

Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families that were injured or killed.  We need to learn from this experience, which did not have to happen. Drive carefully and watch your speed.

 

Even when we do things right, bad things can happen. Safety should be our number one concern.

 

Call Gerald Fugit Law Firm at:  432-332-1661 to schedule consultation.

 

Sign that says to move over and to watch your speed.