N

Free Consultation

205-900-4188

N

(866) 722-0250

N

Free Consultation

(205) 900-4188

Car Safety Checklist

Car Safety Checklist

There’s plenty to do in and around Birmingham that can satisfy just about any urbanite or nature-lover. From catching concerts at Iron City to grabbing grub at Saw’s (a favorite of attorney Jon Mann), the city itself is full of opportunities for culture and fun. Getting out of the city is a breeze too, whether you’re hiking Ruffner Mountain Park or marveling at the sunset from Red Mountain Park on clear winter days.

With so much to do, there’s plenty of reason to get out and drive. Overlooking car maintenance is easy enough to do with our busy schedules. This car safety checklist can help keep your car in tip-top shape and you and your loved ones safe.

[row]
[column lg=”1″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]
check box
[/column]
[column lg=”11″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]

Lights

While most of us aren’t thrilled about night driving, it’s hard to avoid – especially this time of year with the days being shorter and the nights longer. Making sure that your lights work is central to staying safe when driving after the sun goes down. Of course, it’s important when behind the wheel at any time of the day. In fact, daytime running lights can reduce daytime crashes involving multiple vehicles by as much as eleven percent.

You will want to be sure to check all of your lighting functions, including headlights, brights, brake lights, taillights, emergency lights, and both right and left turn signals in the front and back. If you detect a burned-out bulb, it’s an easy fix. Most local automotive parts shops carry the replacement you need, or your local mechanic can take care of it for you.
[/column]
[/row]

[row]
[column lg=”1″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]
check box
[/column]
[column lg=”11″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]

Water in the Radiator

The radiator helps keep the engine from overheating, and it’s got to have water in it to do its job. Nobody wants to be stuck on the side of the road with an overheated engine like some unfortunate folks in a bad family vacation movie. To check your radiator water levels, first make sure that the car has been off for a while. You don’t want a hot radiator cap, which will be the case if the engine was recently running. Simply unscrew the cap and look down. If you can see water, you’re all set. If not, add some until you can see it.
[/column]
[/row]

[row]
[column lg=”1″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]
check box
[/column]
[column lg=”11″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]

Air Filter

Having clean air filters does more than just keep dust out of your car and supply fresh air; it can also save you money. The cleaner the air filter, the more air can flow into the engine, which improves your gas mileage.

Checking the air filter is easy. Just locate your air filter under the hood (use the owner‘s manual for guidance). Open the container and take out the filter. If it’s still mostly white, you should be in the clear. A filter that is on the brown or black side is one that’s ready to be replaced. Typically, filters are switched out at every other oil change. If you are between changes and the filter doesn’t look bad, but not exactly great, you can gently knock some of the dust and dirt off into a trashcan. Be sure to put the filter back into the case properly and secure the top.
[/column]
[/row]

[row]
[column lg=”1″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]
check box
[/column]
[column lg=”11″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]

Oil

Identifying and fixing an oil problem can end up saving you thousands of dollars in repair costs to your engine. (We’re sure you can think of just about anything you’d rather spend your money on than expensive car repairs.) So you don’t blow the money for this year’s vacation plans, you’ll want to check your oil regularly.

Do so when the engine is off to get an accurate reading. Once under the hood, locate the dipstick. Pull the stick out and wipe off the oil residue with a rag. Put the stick back in and pull it out smoothly. The oil should mark the stick near the “full” line, and should be fluid and mostly clear. If the oil comes in far below the line, or is thick or black, it’s time for a stop by your favorite shop for an oil change.
[/column]
[/row]

[row]
[column lg=”1″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]
check box
[/column]
[column lg=”11″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]

Transmission Fluid

Your car shifts through gears smoothly thanks to transmission fluid. You’ll want to keep an eye on their levels, and fortunately it’s as simple as checking the oil. Under the hood should be a dipstick labeled “transmission.” Repeat the same steps as checking the oil – pull out the stick, wipe it off, put it back in and pull it out. The fluid should be clean, smooth and without metal flakes. Chunks or flakes of metal mean it’s time to stop-off at your local mechanic.
[/column]
[/row]

On Your Side

The attorneys at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums in Birmingham want you to stay safe on our roadways. If you do find yourself injured in a car accident, we’d like to help you get the compensation you deserve. You can contact us today at (866) 515-8880 for a free case evaluation. Consultation is always free and at no obligation to you.

How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident

How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident

You’re a good driver who got in an accident. The other driver was being careless; they didn’t look in their rearview before switching lanes; they were applying absurd amounts of mascara; they were obsessively texting their girlfriend; they were speeding and tailgating and being an all-around poor driver. Whatever it was that caused the accident, you are now left with a headache. You need to contact insurance carriers. Maybe you’ve already been back and forth to the car shop. Possibly you have needed medical intervention.

You can be compensated for your injuries and property damage suffered from your accident. To do so, you will need to prove the other driver was at fault. By law, whoever is at fault is responsible for compensating the victim for the injuries and damages. Sometimes another driver will admit fault and the process can be easier. More often, this is not the case. You’ll need evidence to strengthen your claim that the other driver is to blame.

Rear-end Accidents

Most of the time, the driver at the end of the car accident is responsible for the collision. It doesn’t matter why the car in front stopped, even if that driver slammed on the brakes. Road rules dictate that drivers should give sufficient space – a count of three seconds – between their vehicle and those ahead in order to stop at any time.

What’s more, the damages in a rear-end accident offer sure proof as to how the accident happened. When one car is damaged in the front, and other car damaged in the back, there isn’t much of an argument about who hit whom. During a multiple car incident, like in a pile-up, each car that hits the car in front of it may share some of the fault.

Left Turn Accidents

A car that made a left turn into a car travelling straight is almost always liable. Exceptions to this rule are pretty rare and hard to prove, but can include:

  • The car travelling straight ran a red light.
  • The car travelling straight was speeding excessively.

As with rear-end accidents, the damage locations on the cars make it clear as to what kind of accident it was. Wreckage on the front of one car, and damages to the side of another car are signs of a left-turn accident.

Other Ways to Prove Fault

If a car accident was not a rear-end or left-turn collision, proving fault may get a little tricky. Here are some places to start in proving your case.

State Traffic Laws

The Vehicle Code is a set of state laws that govern driving and are contained in state statutes. These laws can be found in public libraries, law libraries and sometimes online. A simplified version of these laws may also be available at your local DMV office. Sometimes these are known as “The Rules of the Road.”

When searching through the code, look for listings that apply to your accident. If you find a section that applies to your situation, copy its wording exactly and also make note of the statute number. You will need to reference this information while negotiating with the insurance carriers.

Police Reports

Police will make a written report of the accident if they arrive on the scene, especially in the case of an injury. The report will include the case facts, and if you’re lucky, will plainly state the officer’s opinion about who was at fault. The report may even note that someone violated a specific traffic law and that violation directly caused the accident. Citations that the officer issued will also be in the report. Other times, the police report may indicate that negligent behavior occurred, but stop short of clearly stating that this behavior caused the accident.

Any note in a police report about negligent driving or traffic law violations, regardless of how specific it is, is great evidence in support of your claim. Be sure to ask the traffic division of your local law enforcement agency about getting a copy of a police report, when one is available.

Witnesses

Witnesses may be very helpful in determining fault. If the identities of witnesses are known, please provide this information to the investigating police officer. Also, you should take note of this information for your own records. If the identities of witnesses are not known and the circumstances allow, make an effort to obtain the identities of any witnesses.

Getting Legal Help

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident and are unsure how to prove fault, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice. Pittman, Dutton & Hellums is a Birmingham personal injury law firm with decades of experience in successfully handling Alabama motor vehicle accident victims. You can contact us today at (866) 515-8880 for a free case evaluation. Consultation is always free and at no obligation to you.