driving in the snow

If you can avoid driving when the weather turns bad, do it. However, if you need to drive, here are some tips to keep you safe and accident free.

Consider public transportation, carpooling, or a taxi.

If you are uncomfortable driving on snow and ice, explore other options for getting to work. You’ll feel much better and stay safer, and you’ll avoid causing problems for other drivers.

Make sure your tires have plenty of tread.

Your tires need a tread of at least 6/32” to be safe, and more is better. Have your mechanic measure your tread depth.

Slow down.

As Charleston car accident attorneys, one of the most common mistakes we see people make in the winter is failure to slow down. Your car is not as maneuverable on snow and ice as it is on dry roads, and you cannot stop as easily. Driving more slowly means you are less likely to lose control of your vehicle, and it takes less time to stop it.

Leave plenty of room, and stay alert.

Allow at least three times more space between your car and any vehicle in front of you. You need this cushion in case you need to stop your car. Your driving needs to have your full attention so you can anticipate slowing down or stopping. Put down the cell phone, the food, and anything else that may be distracting you.

Brake gently.

Do not suddenly hit your brakes on snow and ice, as you may put your car into a skid or a slide. Watch the cars around you to judge if you need to slow down. If you do not have antilock brakes, pump them gently to avoid locking. If you do have antilock brakes, keep the pressure to the brakes steady and they will pump themselves.

Let the car’s transmission help you.

If you have a car with manual transmission, drive one gear lower than you normally would for the speed you’re traveling. If you drive an automatic, put it in a lower gear than “D”. You’ll be driving more slowly and won’t need to use your brake as much. Do not use overdrive on snowy or icy roads.

Do not use cruise control when the roads are wet.

On wet roads, no matter the temperature, you lose control if you use cruise control. Even if no one else is around, leave cruise off.

If you slide . . .

Take your foot off the gas. If you have rear-wheel drive, steer in the direction you want to go. If you have a front-wheel-drive car, put the car in neutral until you regain control, then steer in the direction you want to go.

As you would in the summer, make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid and that your wiper blades are in good shape. Keep the inside of the windshield clean, and ensure that your headlights are visible whenever possible.

What’s your best winter driving tip?

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motorcycle accident attorneyRiding a motorcycle presents its own set of challenges and issues, and intersections can be particularly dangerous for bikers. Stay safe with the following tips.

Assume that no one can see you.

While driving defensively is always a good idea, when you’re on a motorcycle, it’s a must. With all the distractions that car drivers have, they often aren’t paying attention like they should—and if you’re on a bike, you’re likely to lose in an accident.

Make yourself visible: turn on your headlight, wear brightly colored clothing and gear, and use hand signals as well as your bike’s turn signal. As you approach the intersection, be sure to stay out of drivers’ blind spots. Changing your lane position once or twice increases your visibility to those around you. Even a slight variation in your position will get the attention of drivers.

Have an escape plan in mind.

If you anticipate possible trouble spots as you ride, and create an out for yourself, you’ll know exactly what to do in case you have a problem. For example, if you ride in the middle lane, you have an extra lane to move into if you need it. If you ride a specific route each day, you’ll learn the traffic patterns and trouble spots and know what to do to have a smoother and safer ride.

As you enter an intersection, slow down.

Drivers turning left in front of bikes cause a large percentage of accidents, and if you’re riding fast through an intersection, you have less time and space to slow down. Don’t assume that no turn signal means no turn; many drivers fail to use them. Slow down and look in all directions as you proceed through the intersection—and do not change lanes while you are in the intersection unless absolutely necessary.

If you are at the front of the line when the light turns green, look both ways before proceeding in case someone runs the red light.

Always allow more space than you need.

Never tailgate, and stay as far back from the car in front of you as possible. If a vehicle is tailgating you, pull over and let it pass. You do not need to prove a point to anyone, and road rage is something you want to avoid, especially while on a bike.

Reconsider lane splitting.

Not only is it illegal in many states, it’s dangerous. It might save you a few minutes, but you run the very real risk of someone pulling out in front of you or hitting you. It’s not worth it.

As  South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys who also ride, we know how challenging it can be to ride. Stay safe!

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Georgia motorcycle tripMild in the winter and cool in the summer, the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway in northeast Georgia is a 40-mile cruise that winds through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains. Magnificent views, cool waterfalls, and majestic forests make this a trip not to be missed, and you’ll cross the Appalachian Trail on your journey.

The byway begins north at Robertstown and runs along SR 17/75, then goes southwest along SR 180, southeast along SR 348, and ends at SR 75 Alternate. Along the byway, you can visit several state parks, the Tray Mountain Wilderness, Raven Cliff and Anna Ruby Falls, and Brasstown Bald. Other areas to explore include High Shoals Creek Falls Scenic Area, Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation area, and Yonah Mountain.

With over 1200 acres, Unicoi and Vogel State Parks are two of Georgia’s most popular protected areas, with campsites and cozy cottages. Vogel also has trailer and RV sites. In these parks, you can hike, swim, play tennis, and go fishing while you take in the spectacular scenery. In the autumn, you’re treated to the changing colors in spectacular fashion.

Hiking trails abound in the Tray Mountain Wilderness, making it the perfect spot to watch wildlife. If you love waterfalls, the three Raven Cliff falls—one of which flows through a split in solid rock—will take your breath away. The Curtis and York creeks merge in dramatic fashion at Anna Ruby Falls, and you’ll enjoy picnic areas and a visitor center there.

One of the most spectacular views is on top of the 4,784-foot high Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest mountain peak. You can hike the trail up the mountain, or you can take the tour bus. Its large observation deck gives you a 360-degree view of the mountains and timberland year-round. You’ll see the North Georgia Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Rich Mountains, and Lake Chatuge in the Enchanted Valley. As you descend Brasstown Bald, you’ll see Track Rock Gap with its 10,000-year-old petroglyphs.

As motorcycle lawyers who also ride, we’ve been on many of America’s byways, and the Russell-Brasstown is one of our favorites.

Click here to read more posts about great scenic routes for motorcycle trips.

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Charleston motorcycle accident attorney

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies has ranked South Carolina number 4 on their list of the best states to ride motorcycles, following Florida, Georgia, and Arizona. Others on the list include Texas, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Utah.

To determine their top 20 states, Progressive looked at specific data such as:

  • Gasoline prices.
  • Population density.
  • Risk of motorcycle accident.
  • Number of good riding days based on precipitation and temperature.
  • Percentage of smooth roads.

According to Progressive’s product manager Dan Kamionkowski, “American riding is as diverse as American riders from the city rider to the country cruiser. Some states that you may consider obvious good places to ride were not included in the top 20 when all data were taken into account, but they’re still great options.” For example, sunny California has high gas prices and population density, so they didn’t make the top 20.

South Carolina ranked #5 in lowest likelihood of a motorcycle crash, as well as #5 for lowest gas prices. As motorcycle accident lawyers, we know that the roads and riders in South Carolina are some of the safest in the nation. Kamionkowski stated that Progressive, one of the top motorcycle insurers, published this list to help bikers maximize their time riding.

This list doesn’t surprise anyone who rides in South Carolina. Our state and national parks, historic areas, and sandy beaches are a rider’s paradise. We have scenic roads like nowhere else, such as the Savannah River Scenic Byway, which takes you to Clarks Hill Recreation Area, the Strom Thurmond Visitor Center, and Hamilton Branch and Baker Creek State Parks. All of these areas can be toured in one day as you follow the Savannah River through Sumter National Forest.

Another scenic ride takes you from the historic town of Beaufort through Hunting Island State Park to Fripp Island. You’ll see Beaufort’s historic district, incredible restaurants and shops, barrier islands, plenty of water, and spectacular pull-off areas to take amazing photographs. Beaufort is also the home of the Beaufort National Cemetery, designed by Abraham Lincoln, and Parris Island, a training post for the Marine Corps.

For more information, visit http://www.progressive.com/newsroom/2011/June/best-states-to-ride.aspx.

What is your favorite South Carolina scenic ride?


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DUISummertime typically evokes happy memories of cookouts, boating, family vacations and fun in the sun. While sunburns, jelly fish stings and broken air conditioning units represent some of the not-so-fun summer experiences, DUI arrests fall into their own category of a summer nightmare.

In a recent decision by the South Carolina Court of Appeals, State v. Herchek, the issue before the Court was whether police are required to videotape a suspected DUI defendant’s conduct for the required 20-minute pre-breath test period if the defendant refuses to take the breath test. While the opinion rendered in this case is unpublished, and therefore can not be cited or used to set precedent, it nevertheless provides important guidance on this issue.

Mr. Herchek was detained under suspicion of driving under the influence and refused to submit to a breath test. While it is required by South Carolina Statute § 56-5-2953, to record a Defendant’s conduct at the breath test site for a 20-minute observation period, the officer failed to do so, as it was not required under South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) policy. The Magistrate in Herchek’s case, therefore, dismissed the DUI charge on this ground.

The State appealed to the Circuit Court, which upheld the Magistrate’s dismissal. The State then appealed the Circuit Court’s ruling to the Court of Appeals, where the dismissal was again affirmed.

It is worth noting that as of May 2011, SLED policy had not changed in light of the Court of Appeals recent Opinion. Officers are not required to record the observation period when the driver refuses the breath test; however, many are recording the full 20 minutes, as required by South Carolina law.

One of the main focuses of the Uricchio Law Firm is criminal defense. We handle DUI cases in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties. For more information about Uricchio Law Firm and our criminal defense practice, please click here.

We would like to thank Bobby Frederick, an attorney in Myrtle Beach, for bringing this case to our attention through his excellent criminal defense blog. To read his post of this case, please click here.

What is your opinion of this South Carolina Law? We want to know.

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motorcycle insuranceMany bikers do not understand their motorcycle insurance, and in case of accident, insurance companies take advantage of that lack of knowledge and do not pay victims what they are entitled to receive. Not understanding insurance also causes bikers to carry more or less insurance than they should. Before you drive your bike again, take a moment to review your motorcycle coverage.

In South Carolina, all motorcyclists are required to carry liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage. The minimum amounts are $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 of property damage coverage per accident. This is referred to as 25/50/25. Remember, these are state-mandated minimums.

To determine whether 25/50/25 is sufficient coverage, think of how often and where you ride. Do you usually carry a passenger? Now think of a possible accident during a typical ride, and the bodily injury and property damage that could occur. Knowing that motorcycle riders are often hurt in accidents, do you think that coverage is adequate? Would the minimum property damage coverage replace your bike as well as repair a car you might hit?

Another option to pay for medical expenses is medical payments coverage. This pays for reasonable healthcare and funeral expenses for you and your family, even if you are at fault, for a period of one to three years.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance ensures compensation for accidents where the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured, including hit-and-run accidents. In South Carolina, uninsured / underinsured coverage is portable, meaning it may apply to not only car accidents (whether you are the driver or passenger), but also motorcycle and pedestrian accidents. The law requires uninsured motorist coverage, while underinsured motorist coverage is optional.

In addition to liability insurance, you may wish to purchase collision and / or comprehensive insurance to cover damage to your bike. Collision coverage protects your bike in the event of a crash with an object or other vehicle, while comprehensive coverage covers damage caused by other mishaps such as flood and fire. In both cases, you have a deductible, which is the amount you pay before insurance kicks in. You choose the deductible, which affects the price of your policy. When you add both coverages to your policy, you are “fully insured.”

The first step to ensure you have the proper amount of motorcycle insurance is to look at your riding habits and determine how much will adequately protect you. In order to receive the compensation you and your family are entitled to, it’s important to know what your policy covers.

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Motorcycle associations give bikers a chance to connect with other enthusiasts and share information, discuss their travels, or simply show off photos of their bikes. We looked for the top three organizations and found that all of them offer incredible benefits to their members.

American Motorcyclist Association: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/

The AMA is the world’s largest motorcycle organization, and its mission is to promote and protect the motorcycling lifestyle, from weekend riding to crossing the world by bike. The Association was founded in 1924 and currently has over 225,000 members, most of them long-time riders with over 1 billion miles ridden collectively. The AMA employs a full-time staff to defend bikers’ rights and is influential in guiding legislation that affects bikers.

motorcycle club

The lengthy list of members’ benefits and discounts includes . . .

  • Email newsletters, magazines, and an exclusive members’ area on its website.
  • Sponsorship of racing and riding events.
  • Over 1,200 AMA-chartered clubs.
  • Medical and insurance coverage while participating in AMA events.
  • Organized motorcycle tours.
  • AMA Roadside Assistance program.
  • Discounts on products and services such as garage floor coverings, rain chaps, insurance, motorcycle lifts and transport, and lodging.

Motorcycle Riders Club of America: http://www.motorcycleridersclubofamerica.com/

Part of the North American Membership group of clubs, the MRCA focuses on helping its members build, customize, and ride. With more than 80,000 members, the Club caters to motorcycle enthusiasts and offers them a way to communicate, network, and learn from each other.

motorcycle organization

Membership offers plenty of benefits:

  • Click and Win sweepstakes.
  • The ability to test, review, and keep new products, such as boots and toolkits.
  • An active online forum for members to share their expertise and accomplishments.
  • Exclusive Club newsletter, Compression Ratio.
  • Yearly subscription to Rider Magazine.
  • Facebook page to comment and share information.
  • Gasoline rebates.

The Antique Motorcycle Club of America: http://www.antiquemotorcycle.org/

Founded in 1954, the AMCA has over 11,000 members and 54 affiliate chapters worldwide dedicated to the “preservation, restoration, and operation of old-time motorcycles.” Antique or vintage motorcycles are at least 35 years old, and membership is open to anyone with an interest in vintage motorcycles, including those who don’t own one.

motorcycle association

AMCA benefits include . . .

  • Local chapter-sponsored meetings, shows, and road runs.
  • National swap meets and road runs, seminars, shows, and races.
  • AMCA Virtual Motorcycle Library with historic documents.
  • Online discussion forum.
  • The Antique Motorcycle quarterly magazine with expert information and advertising.
  • Discounts at U.S. motorcycle museums.

Which organization is your favorite and why?

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If you drive a motorcycle, moped, or bicycle, you’ve probably experienced a situation where your bike wasn’t heavy enough to trigger a traffic signal change (when you drive up to the red light you have to wait longer than average for the light to turn green because the sensors in the ground are not triggered due to your low weight).

Well I’ve got good news! You don’t have to sit at these drastically long traffic lights forever.

See below for South Carolina law SECTION 56-5-970:

SECTION 56-5-970. Traffic-control signal legend.

(C)(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a driver of a motorcycle or moped, or a bicycle rider, approaches an intersection that is controlled by a traffic-control device, the driver may proceed through the intersection on a steady red light only if the driver or rider, as the case may be:

(a) comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for one hundred twenty seconds; and

(b) exercises due care as provided by law, otherwise treats the traffic control device as a stop sign, and determines it is safe to proceed.

Visit SCStateHouse.gov to view more South Carolina Laws.

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Father’s Day is approaching (Sunday, June 19, for those of you who “might have forgotten”) and it’s time to pick out a great gift for dad. Below is a list of some Father’s Day motorcycle gift ideas:

Men’s Perforated Full-Finger Gloves: These Harley-Davidson® perforated leather gloves are not only attractive, but they’re also supercomfortable and a great motorcycle accessory to have during long road trips.

Image above taken from the Harley-Davidson® website. Product can be purchased on website.

The Cruz Tools Roadtech H3 Tool Kit: Complete with “the top-grade PowerDrive™ combination wrenches, an adjustable wrench, locking pliers, LED flashlight, tire gauge, hex and Torx keys, screwdriver and more,” this tool kit is the ultimate Father’s Day gift.

Image above taken from motorcycle-superstore.com. Product can be purchased on website.

The Rapid Transit The Stack LT Motorcycle Tank Bag: Equipped with a magnetic mounting system, the 2-in-1 Rapid Transit The Stack LT Motorcycle Tank Bag is ideal for leisurely motorcycle trips. The bag features some great compartments for cell phone and eye wear storage.

Image above taken from BikeBandit.com. Product can be purchased online.

Motorcycle T-Shirt: For the dad who has every motorcycle accessory you can think of, why not get him a shirt he’ll love?

Screen grab above taken from Zazzle.com. Product can be purchased online.

MotoCentric Centrek 1 PC Rain Suit: Keep your dad safe on the roads with the MotoCentric Centrek 1PC Rain Suit. Great for rainy weather conditions, this one-piece rain suit keeps motorcyclists comfortable and dry. The suit is also equipped with reflective pieces for greater driver visibility.

Image above taken from motorcycle-superstore.com. Product can be purchased online.

What are you getting your dad this Father’s Day?

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motorcycle event

I’m excited to announce to my readers that Bikers Helping Bikers will be holding an excellent benefit event in Summerville, SC. The event takes place on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at Shooters in Summerville, with the first bike riding out at 11 a.m. The even ends at 3 p.m. at Market Street Saloon in North Charleston.Upon arrival to the Market Street Saloon, bikers will receive chicken wings, provided by the Saloon.

The benefit costs $15.00 per rider and $5.00 per passenger. This registration fee will be split equally among One Lucky Rider and Bikers Helping Bikers.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bikers Helping Bikers, they are “a non profit organization created to assist bikers injured in motorcycle related accidents.  It was created and formed by a local group of friends and fellow riders that felt driven to give back to the motorcycling community that we are a part of.”

I’ll be riding in the event, so I hope to see you there!

Contact Bikers Helping Bikers for more information about the event and how to register.

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