Free Consultation 

252-378-2525
October 18, 2021

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY TIPS

This week is National School Bus Safety week. and the staff at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett would like to take this opportunity to provide some reminders for year round school bus safety. This year’s campaign theme, “Be Safe; Know the Danger Zone.”

25 million students nationwide begin and/or end their day with a trip on a school bus. School buses are designed for safety, with their flashing lights, giant mirrors, stop-sign arms and their bright yellow color. Did you know students are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration?

School buses are one of the safest ways for students to travel. Nearly two-thirds of school bus-related fatalities of school-age children occur outside of the school bus. Parents and children need to do their part to stay safe both in and around school buses. The American School Bus Council offers the following tips for school bus safety:

Getting Ready for School:

  • Put everything in a backpack so students won’t drop papers along the way
  • Wear bright colors whenever possible
  • Make sure they leave in plenty of time to catch the bus, as running can be dangerous

Headed to the Bus Stop:

  • Walk in groups
  • Walk on the sidewalk – out of the street if possible – single file and facing traffic
  • Look both ways before crossing the street, as well as around driveways and alleyways

At the Bus Stop:

  • Arrive early – at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive
  • Stand 6 feet away from the curb while waiting for the bus
  • Make sure to supervise young children

Around the Bus:

  • Cross in front of the bus and make eye contact with the driver before crossing
  • Never walk behind the bus
  • If you drop something near or under the bus, do not pick it up; tell the bus driver instead

Getting On/Off the Bus:

  • Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before approaching the bus or standing up on the bus
  • Use the handrail
  • Secure any loose or hanging objects

Behavior on the Bus:

  • Buckle up if seat belts are available
  • Stay in your seat keeping all body parts and papers inside the bus, and talk quietly
  • Keep aisles clear of book bags

Cell Phones: if they are permitted

  • Keep them in your backpack and not in your hand when entering or exiting the bud
  • Keep the sound muted or use headphones
  • Do not create a distraction for the driver

This blog is for informational purposes only.

October 11, 2021

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

Determining what your next step should be after an accident can be confusing, and contacting a personal injury attorney may seem scary.  With so many decisions in front of you, the possibilities can be overwhelming.

If you were injured in an accident, you may decide to to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. When you are preparing for a consultation, it’s important to know which questions to ask. Here is a checklist of the questions we believe you should ask your possible attorney in your initial consultation.

YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CONSULTATION CHECKLIST

  • What is your experience?
  • Do you handle personal injury/accident cases?
  • How do your firm’s fees work?
  • What is the process in handling my case?

WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING TO YOU PERSONAL INJURY CONSULTATION

  • Any pictures from the accident
  • Any pictures of any injuries from the accident
  • Any medical/discharge paperwork
  • Appropriate documentation of insurance and a police report if you have one
When you’re looking for an injury attorney, it’s important to find the right person for you and your case. Most personal injury law offices offer free consultations, so it is a perfect time to check around and find the right fit for you. Here are a few additional tips:
  • Research the attorney. Find out a little about their background via word of mouth or online searches.
  • How do the fees work? At Hardee, Massey & Blodgett we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only collect fees if there is a successful outcome for our client. Not all firms operate the same – some may charge hourly or even charge a flat rate. Make sure you know how the fees work before signing on the dotted line.
  • What does the legal process look like? No two cases are the same. Ask questions about what your case might look like – will they want to settle? Are they willing to go to trial? Do they have trial experience? Every case is going to have a different outcome, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared doing into the case.

Have you or someone you know been injured in a car accident? If so, the attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett offer free consultations and would love to sit down and hear about your case. Call us today at 252-378-2525 to schedule your consultation with one of our team members or reach out through our contact page.

August 30, 2021

SAFE-DRIVING TIPS FOR LABOR DAY WEEKEND

As the last summer holiday, Labor Day brings an increase in travel. With more vehicles on the highway this upcoming weekend, here are some tips to keep you and other drivers safe behind the wheel.

 

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

During Labor Day weekend there is typically an increase in drunk driving deaths. You are likely to see police officers and state highway patrol out in full force for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign aimed to educate drivers on the consequences and dangers of drunk driving.

This weekend you should have a plan whether you are driving, riding or hosting a party:

  • Before you begin drinking, make sure you have a plan for a safe and sober ride home.
  • Don’t let anyone get behind the wheel if they know they’ve been drinking.
  • If you’re having a party, please make sure all your attendees have a safe and sober ride home.
  • If you see an impaired driver, call 911.
  • And make sure you are wearing your seat belt as it is the best defense against impaired drivers.

 

Don’t Drive Distracted

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving in 2019. To help lower this figure, drivers should make sure they are giving their full attention when they take to the road. A large part of this includes staying off of cell phones and not texting and driving.

Distracted driving goes beyond texting and driving – it also includes playing with the radio or other items on the dashboard, eating and anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road.

 

Plan Ahead for Road Congestion and Construction 

With more drivers on the road there is likely to be more congestion and slowdowns. Drivers should plan ahead and leave extra time to ensure a timely and safe arrival. If possible, drivers should try to avoid traveling through the peak rush-hour times.

One way to avoid some highway congestion is planning ahead. Construction areas often reduce the number of lanes open and require lower speeds, causing traffic to back up. GPS technology can reroute drivers around these areas and find quicker routes. This will save time and fuel, making it more efficient for drivers

Drivers who end up in a traffic jam should exercise patience on the road and remember safe driving techniques such as signaling lane changes and allowing extra space to brake.

 

Stay a Safe Distance Behind the Car Ahead of You

Drivers should follow the 2-second rule – ensuring they are keeping a 2-second distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them. This gives extra space to allow the vehicle to stop suddenly if the car in front of it slows down or comes to a stop. Larger vehicles should allow more time, as it will take the heavier trucks more time to come to a complete stop. Drivers should also allow more space between vehicles during poor driving conditions, like wet roads.

 

Check Your Vehicle Maintenance 

To avoid any unexpected breakdowns while traveling, vehicles should be current on any needed maintenance before hitting the road. Keeping up with preventative maintenance will help identify any potential issues the vehicle and driver might encounter, allowing them to be serviced before the problem becomes bigger and could lead to a potential breakdown. Your vehicles’ air conditioning and cooling systems should also be checked.

 

An accident is probably the last thing you’d like to consider while planning your holiday. However, if you are in a car accident you need to know what to do. First, don’t panic. Help others and call emergency services. Call law enforcement. If you were injured by another driver, you may need a personal injury lawyer. Make sure you gather evidence at the scene of the accident, which your personal injury attorney can use later. Car accidents can be a traumatizing experience. The dedicated personal injury lawyers at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett are here to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

We hope you have a very happy and safe Labor Day weekend.

August 19, 2021

SCHOOL DAYS MEAN SHARING THE ROAD

Schools are back in session which means congestion and traffic are back. Buses are picking up students, busy parents are trying to drop their kids off before work and kids are crossing the streets to beat the first bell. It is never more important than now for drivers to use caution when children are present – especially before and after school the school bell rings.

School Buses

If you are driving behind a school bus, you should allow a greater following distance than you would if you were driving behind a car. Doing so gives you more time to stop once the yellow lights start to flash. In all 50 states, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading students.

  • You should NEVER pass a school bus from behind – or from either direction if you are on an undivided road – if the bus is stopped to load or unload children
  • When the yellow or red lights are flashing and the school bus stop arm is extended, ALL traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a bus is the most dangerous for students, you should stop far enough back to ensure they have enough space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Finally, be alert! Children are often unpredictable, and tend to ignore hazards and signs and often take risks

Young Pedestrians

According to the National Safety Council most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are between the ages of 4-7 and they are walking. In most cases, they are hit by the bus, or by a motorist who is illegally passing a stopped bus. There are a few precautions that will go a long way to keeping children safe:

  • Never block the crosswalk when stopping at a red light or making a turn, this forces young pedestrians to go around you which could put them in the path of moving traffic
  • When you are in a school zone and flashers are blinking, yield or stop to pedestrians crossing the intersection or crosswalk
  • Always stop for a school crossing guard or patrol officer who is holding up a stop sign
  • Look out for children in school zones, near parks and playgrounds, and in residential areas
  • Don’t scare a pedestrian, even if you do have the right of way
  • Never pass a car or truck that has stopped for pedestrians
  • Use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians, no matter who has the right of way

Bicyclists

In most situations, bicyclists have the same responsibilities and rights as vehicles, however bikes can be hard to see. Children who are riding bikes create special issues for drivers because usually they are not able to determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of accident is when a driver is turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed slowly in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between the cyclist and your car
  • When you turn left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, you should wait for the rider to pass
  • When you are turning right, and bicyclists approach from behind on the right, you should let the rider go through the intersection first, and make sure you are always using your turn signals
  • Watch for riders who are turning in front of you without signaling or looking; children often do this
  • Be very cautious in residential areas and school zones
  • Watch for bikes coming out from behind parked cars or down driveways
  • Make sure you check your side mirrors before you open your car door

Drop Off

Most schools have specific drop-off procedures that need to be followed. Make sure you know what they are so you can ensure the safety of all students. Here are some things that apply to all school zones:

  • No double parking as it blocks visibility of other children and vehicles
  • Never load or unload children across the street from the school
  • Utilize a carpool to reduce the number of cars going in and out of the school

If you exercise a little more caution and care, drivers and young pedestrians and bicyclists can safety co-exist in school zones.

This blog is provided by Hardee, Massey & Blodgett for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter.