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How to Avoid Traffic Tickets and Injuries from Wrecks

Previously, I asked, "When's the last time you reviewed the Florida Drivers' Handbook?" That's the little book you can get at the department of motor vehicles drivers' license offices. It's filled with good information about traffic laws and helpful driving safety tips. You don't have to be in line for a driver's exam to get one. Click the link above or go in to get a free booklet, learn some of the surprising things you, like everyone else, has forgotten. Let's go through some of what's discussed in it. I'll add a few things I've learned in thirty years of helping injured people in accident cases.

About seat belts, I've heard every excuse for not wearing one. Fear of fire, fear of drowning if trapped in a car that goes into a drainage ditch. Come on, people are five times as likely to be killed if they're not wearing a seatbelt than if they are. The front seat driver and passengers are required by law to wear them. Look for tickets if they're not worn.

What is the most effective way to wear the belts? Wear them as they're designed to be used, not by, for example, tucking the shoulder portion behind the back. That allows jack knifing across the belt into a steering wheel or the dashboard with the head. You can't hold yourself back with arms and hands in a thirty mile per hour wreck. Put the belt below the iliac crests. Those are the hip bones. That will keep the belt from digging into your abdomen and causing paralysis by compression of your spinal cord. Wear the belt snugly. If you're in a wreck, there's a moment before the belt locking devices will work, and the belt itself will give slightly. Both allow for more forward movement of the body toward the windshield, dash, or other hard objects in the car. By wearing the belt snugly, this forward motion is reduced.

The law exempts some people from wearing seat belts, including a person who is certified by a doctor as having a medical condition that makes wearing the belt inappropriate or dangerous; operators of farm equipment; employees of a newspaper home delivery service while delivering the papers; and persons in trucks with a net weight over five thousand pounds.

On another note, leaving children unattended in a vehicle can violate the law and can be very dangerous. One study found that with the windows up and the outside temperature at 94 degrees, sunlight caused the inside to be at 122 degrees in thirty minutes and 132 degrees at one hour. Those temperatures can be severely damaging or fatal for children. Animals left in vehicles can suffer the same fate in a short time. Dogs are not protected by the sweating mechanism that provides some relief to humans by the evaporation of moisture of the skin.

How can you avoid traffic tickets and wrecks? Usually, by following the law and using good common sense.


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