For many, today is filled with love and chocolate, and it is very easy to set out on the road tonight without a second thought to the risks. The reality is, however, that holidays have the highest rates of roadway fatalities in the United States. Citizens throughout the country are embarking on their celebrations, sometimes drinking too much, and become more easily distracted behind the wheel. In the midst of texting your sweetheart, checking yourself out in the rearview mirror, or looking up directions to the restaurant, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye.
For the family of Elana Rosenberg, today is a reminder of how quickly a loved one can be taken. On Valentine’s Day 2004, Elana, a student at Beverly Hills High School, was out to dinner on Sunset Boulevard with friends. Late in the evening, as her parents were out for a romantic dinner, the car Elana was in was involved in a five-car pileup. She suffered massive brain trauma, and doctors had to remove parts of her brain to relieve the pressure on her skull. She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, and remains in a semi-coma still today.
It is easy to forget the simple things on days like today – to wear your seatbelt, to be a defensive driver, to keep distractions at bay while on the road – but it is the simplest things that save the most lives. If you drive tonight, don’t drink, and if you must, be responsible. Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage, stop drinking at least two hours before driving, and eat substantial food (not just chocolate-covered strawberries). For every romantically-successful ending of the night tonight, there will be an equally tragic one.
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Services like Uber, which is available through a smart phone app in 14 major cities throughout the US, enables anyone to request a car service at any location, at any time. If you have had too many glasses of champagne, can spring for the service, and want to impress your date, this is the sure fire way. All you have to is download the Uber app, input your location and payment information, and a black car (or taxi, if you prefer) will come get you and your date and bring you wherever you please within city limits.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, roadway fatalities so far in 2013 are already at 102 in Illinois. Too many people hit the road, especially on holidays, and assume they will get to their destination safety, without incident. We think that even if we do get in an accident, it will be minor, without significant damage to property or life. The family of Elana Rosenberg thought the same thing until 2004. Never assume wearing your seatbelt won’t make a difference, and make sure your sweetheart is wearing theirs too.
Alcohol and distracted driving are not the only risks present on roads today. In the hustle and bustle of American culture, many citizens are significantly sleep-deprived, and stressors of Valentine’s Day only add to the restlessness. Those most at risk of an accident are in people getting less than six hours of sleep per night. This drowsiness, while it may not seem like a big deal, significantly lowers reactions times and the ability to make quick decisions. This leads, most often, to accidents like rear-endings and pedestrian accidents, because drivers are unable to see and react appropriately in time.
Remember that distracted, drowsy, or impaired drivers can be held liable for any and all damages they inflict on property or others, and if you are injured in such an accident, retaining a skilled accident lawyer will ensure you receive the maximum compensation.
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Celebrating Valentine’s Day with a drink or two is expected and generally not a big deal. Drinking and driving however, not only today but any day, is unacceptable. If your date is planning on driving, and also planning on having a cocktail or two, suggest an alternate mode of transportation. Uber provides a sleek black car service that will impress any date, but taxis and public transportation (or a horse-drawn carriage) will work just as efficiently.
Car accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wish everyone, whether you are celebrating today or not, a happy and safe Valentine’s Day.