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Avoiding Traffic Accidents During the Holidays

Episode 66: In this episode, Murray, Kentucky injury attorney Jeff Roberts talks about tips for avoiding traffic accidents during the holidays.  That period between Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year can be exciting, but it’s also full of distractions.  Those distractions, such as lights and decorations are wonderful, but they often mean your eyes, and as well as those in the cars around you, are not always focused on the road.  That’s when problems can occur.

Children Get Excited About the Decorations

As a driver, you should be keenly aware that children love this time of year.  That means they may not be paying attention to traffic.  It places additional risks on the shoulders of drivers to ensure they are anticipating those dangerous moments.  Snowball fights, sledding and other winter activities can create a very distracting environment.  Jeff advises drivers to scan the yards to see if kids might be tempted to dart out into traffic from between cars.

Attorney Jeff Roberts Discusses avoiding traffic accidents during the holidays

Committed to Western Kentucky and Beyond

Jeff recently finished his 31st year as an injury attorney.  He maintains two locations for his law firm.  His primary location is in Murray, Kentucky, just down from the square.  He also has an office in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  This second office makes it much easier for him to meet with clients from that area of Western Kentucky.

“…To Grandmother’s House We Go!”

These holiday celebrations often involve travel, rather it’s on local roads across town, to a different part of the state via secondary roads and county roads, or even to different states using the highways and interstates that cross Kentucky.  Snow and ice have a definite impact on traffic.  Unfortunately, most people in this area of the country haven’t encountered these conditions since last winter.  Black ice remains a constant threat, especially after a rain that freezes on the roads.

The “hustle and bustle” along with the stress of getting the last-minute gifts are yet another distraction.  When you add in winter road conditions, it’s easy to understand why holidays can mean a spike in car wrecks.  These situations become catastrophic, collisions involving tractor trailers and other large vehicles are involved.  Before you head out on your road trip, be sure to take a deep breath and give yourself some extra time to arrive.  It’s okay to be a few minutes late, especially if it means avoiding traffic accidents during the holidays.

Slow Drivers in the Left Lane

This situation can lead to serious consequences.  When the road conditions and weather is making in difficult to drive, you may need to change lanes to get around a slower driver in the left lane.  If the weather is bad or the roads are slippery, this can easily result in traffic accidents, and sometimes in multi-vehicle accidents

Increase Your Following Distance and Decrease Your Speed

Snow and ice make it much more dangerous to slam on your breaks.  Even if your wheels stop, your vehicle may continue sliding forward.  One important reminder is to increase the following distance between you and the car in front of you.  Give yourself that extra length of road to safely bring your car to a stop.  It could be the factor that prevents you from rear-ending the vehicle.

The other factor is your speed.  While the posted speed limit may read 45mph, 55mph or 70mph, that’s for normal driving conditions.  You have to take into consideration the condition of the roadways in determining a safe rate of speed during your travel.  It’s an often-overlooked factor in avoiding traffic accidents during the holidays.

Prepare for the Unexpected

As the temperatures drop, it’s a good idea to place a blanket in the backseat, or in a gym back on the floorboard.  If you’re in a motor vehicle collision, you may not be able to restart your engine.  Without a heater, it could get extremely cold while you wait for first-responders or another person to pick you up.  This is particularly important on highways and in rural areas.

Jeff mentions a situation in which one of his clients had to wait for over an hour for the ambulance to arrive, because the collision occurred in such a rural area with very little emergency coverage. 

Winter Weather Safety Kit: 

Consider making yourself a safety kit and placing it in the backseat, not in the trunk.  Your kit could include:

  • Blanket
  • Dry Socks
  • Toboggan
  • Gloves
  • Energy Bars
  • Drinking Water
  • Flashlight and Batteries

Reduce the Risk of Distracted Driving

Jeff has discussed distracted driving collisions in previous episodes.  However, during the holidays, it’s even more easy to find yourself getting distracted.  It could be because you’re dealing with the GPS, you might be talking to, singing with (or yelling at) the kids in the backseat.  There’s also the fear of spilling that green bean casserole or the turkey you took so long to prepare.  Is there any wonder Jeff felt the need to record an episode on avoiding traffic accidents during the holidays?

Again, take a few deep breaths.  Remember, other drivers are dealing with the same pressures and distractions.  Many of them may not be as familiar with the area.  If you see your knuckles getting white as your grip the steering wheel, take control of the situation and remind yourself to relax.  You’ll be in a much better position to safely arrive at your destination, with or without that casserole.

Make Sure Everyone Is Wearing Seatbelts

One of the best things you can do while traveling during the holidays is to make sure everyone is buckled up, before you leave the driveway.  Obviously, this might get a little uncomfortable if your car is loaded down with presents, extra passengers or that special, apple pie, but wearing your seatbelt will help to keep you and your passengers safe on the road.

Bad Weather Makes It Difficult for Truckers

In Episode 20, Jeff provided Safe Driving Tips Around Tractor Trailers.  It’s even more important to be aware of your situation when the weather turns bad.  Road spray on the windshield, ice on the roads and even pressure to get there on time can make it more difficult for you to merge into traffic.  Sudden stops and bad weather present a special hazard for truck drivers.  Remember that a heavy truck needs more distance to stop.  Driving in blind spots present a dangerous situation for your and the trucker beside you. 

Remember to use your turn signal and to make sure you have your headlights on.  Trucking collisions can result in traffic fatalities and other serious injuries.  Be cautious and give truckers some extra room on the roads.

Car Wrecks Involving Kentucky Residents Traveling Outside of Kentucky

If you are traveling outside of Kentucky and you’re involved in a car wreck, your Kentucky insurance will follow up.  However, the laws of that particular state will have jurisdiction, as a general rule.  Remember from previous episodes, Kentucky has no-fault insurance (PIP coverage).  This coverage applies to you and your passengers, because your auto insurance policy was issued in Kentucky. 

Returning to the Kentucky driver involved in an out-of-state collision, you may still have the right to file an Under Insured Motorist claim (UIM).  This happens because UIM coverage is a policy you purchased to cover you in the event the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages.  Again, because your policy was written in Kentucky, it travels with you and provides Kentucky benefits.

Jeff Roberts recommends that you get a Kentucky automobile accident attorney involved, even if the accident occurred outside of Kentucky.  He/she will be able to determine what Kentucky coverages apply and can often assist in referring you to a trusted attorney licensed in the state where the collision happened.

If You Don’t Live in Kentucky, but Your Collision Happened in Kentucky

This is a similar explanation to the section above.  Because the collision occurred in Kentucky, this state will maintain jurisdiction (in most situations).  Interestingly, if you don’t live in Kentucky, but are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Kentucky, if your insurance carrier writes policies in Kentucky, you can receive no-fault insurance benefits.  This can be $10,000 in coverage for each person in the vehicle they were in, at the time of the accident. 

Kentucky may have more generous insurance coverage benefits that your state, so you should understand your rights under Kentucky law.

You will most-likely need to hire a Kentucky attorney.  Jeff is available to speak with you or your local attorney.  There’s a specific chance that Kentucky’s Under Insured Motorist (UIM) benefits could be better if filed in Kentucky.  Again, contact Jeff first.  He will be happy to work with your local attorney to compare and advise which route is in your best interest.

Did Your Holiday Accident Happen on Company Time?

Jeff Roberts is a highly sought-after workers’ compensation attorney.  If you are driving for company business, such as a deliver driver or sales rep, you will generally have a workers’ comp claim.  Jeff can help with your claim and any potential claim against a negligent 3rd-party.

Both a workers’ compensation claim and a negligent 3rd-party claim can be filed simultaneously, even though they are separate claims.

Social Security Disability Claims for Automobile Accidents

If you’re injuries from the holiday traffic accident are severe, you may also qualify for Social Security Disability as a result of your car wreck injuries.  This is another area of law Jeff has handled for 30+ years.  In fact, he can file the personal injury claim, the worker’s compensation claim (mentioned above) and your social security disability claim for you.  Having one attorney who is managing all 3 claims can reduce expenses and ensure the claims are efficiently managed. 

What Do Other Clients Think About Jeff?

We always encourage listeners to read the Google Reviews Jeff Roberts has received from many of his clients.  A 5-Star rating and the comments are earned recognition and demonstrate Jeff’s commitment to his clients.  As a solo attorney, he has more Google Reviews than some firms with multiple attorneys.  Jeff shares the credit with his staff at the Roberts Law Office.  Successfully representing a victim of an automobile or motorcycle accident is a team effort.  It’s why Jeff likes to say his firm offers small town service with big city results.

Jeff Roberts Represents Injured Clients Throughout Kentucky

With offices located in Calloway County and now Christian County, Jeff has a history of representing personal injury clients, workers’ compensation clients and social security disability clients across the state.  He’s represented clients from Paducah, Bowling Green, Louisville, Covington, Whitesville and many other Kentucky locations.  He’s not just a Western Kentucky injury attorney. 

We hope you found this episode insightful and helpful.  Thank you for listening!

Is It Time to Speak with an Attorney about your Motor Vehicle Accident Claim?

The office phone number is (270) 753-0053 or toll free at 800-844-5108.  For more information, visit This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice.  Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky.  Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson.  This is an advertisement.