Hit It!

Slow as much as you can but hit it!!!…rather than swerve.  I am referring to objects that suddenly appear in the road ahead of a driver.  This advice is often given in relation to deer darting out in front of an automobile.  Generally speaking, striking a 150 pound deer will cause much less damage and result in significantly less chance of a personal injury than veering or swerving, losing control and striking an object along the side of the road or rolling the vehicle.  (I am aware of one such incident where the driver managed to save the deer, but left the traveled portion of the road, struck a tree and broke her back in the subsequent collision.  She was off from work for more than a year.)

Importantly, this driving rule of thumb of hitting the object rather than swerving applies to inanimate objects, as well. While not nearly as frequent as deer/car accidents, there are many accident each year arising out of objects falling from trucks and trailers into the paths of other vehicles.  When such an event happens it is an instinctual response on the part of the driver to try to avoid hitting the object.  However, in most instances, a driver is far better off hitting the object even at 70 mph than swerving and losing control of their vehicle.

Let me tell you about two instances where this has happened just in the past year.  One accident took place on US-131 in downtown Grand Rapids when during the middle of the day two vehicles came around a curve in the freeway and suddenly observed a wheelbarrow in their lane of travel.  The first vehicle swerved and missed the wheelbarrow and managed to maintain control of the vehicle but the second vehicle swerved, spun out of control and skidded into the path of a motorcyclist three lanes over.  The motorcyclist is now a paraplegic.  The other accident took place on a country road at night when a vehicle came upon a black garbage bag in the road.  Rather than slowing and hitting the garbage bag, the driver swerved, lost control of her vehicle and struck a tree nearly cutting the vehicle in half.  Miraculously both the driver and her passenger survived but both suffered serious injuries in the accident.  So,…if something suddenly appears in your path of travel, remember to hit the brakes hard but do not swerve — HIT IT!!

Uninsured Motorists Benefits

In a recent Rogers’ Tip of the Month I discussed underinsured motorist insurance.  Uninsured motorist insurance is a somewhat similar coverage in that the insured buys the uninsured motorist insurance to protect himself or herself from other drivers not doing what the law requires….insuring their automobile.  Unfortunately, the cost of insurance in Michigan has caused many drivers to simply go uninsured.  The uninsured driver will typically purchase insurance in order to obtain their license plate but then discontinue the installment payments causing cancellation of the insurance. Uninsured drivers are not an uncommon situation.  Indeed, legislation is currently pending that would allow Michigan drivers to not purchase the “Cadillac” coverage which motorists in Michigan are currently required to purchase in order to make insurance more affordable.

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your family in the event that you or an insured family member are seriously injured or killed in an automobile accident which is caused by the negligence of an uninsured driver.  As you might guess, most people who choose not to purchase automobile insurance have little or no assets to recover from in the event that a judgment is taken against them as a result of their negligence.  Like underinsured motorists insurance coverage, uninsured motorists coverage is optional and not required under the laws of the State of Michigan.  However, I strongly recommend purchasing uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself and your family as it is reasonably inexpensive and provides protection from those drivers that do not insure their vehicles.

For more information, please contact Gary C. Rogers at Fraser Trebilcock, (517) 377-0828.