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Holiday Travel Safety

Dalton:
Welcome back. Fm Talk 165 in Mobile Mornings. Pleasure once again to welcome Bryan Comer back into studio with us. He's with the local injury law firm, Tobias McCormick and Comer. Bryan, thanks for joining us again today.

Bryan:
Thanks for having me, Dalton. Always a pleasure.

Dalton:
So we're here. We made it. We're in holiday season 2021. It's been a long year for a lot of folks, and, of course, a joyous time of year for many. But it can also be a really dangerous time of year. Lots of people traveling, traveling to see family or have family traveling to see them. And I know you and Tobias McCormick and Comer are interested in getting people where they're going safely.

Bryan:
Absolutely. And the holidays, like you said, are a joyous time, but unfortunately, they're also a very stressful time. More traffic on the road. It seems like way more things to do in a day than hours to do them in. And it always just seems like it just kind of builds on itself.

And unfortunately, we carry that around with us. And sometimes even on the road, and bad things can happen when that does happen.

Dalton:
It's a stressful time of year for so many people. And when you add that onto the stresses of holiday traffic and travel, then you end up in some pretty precarious positions. And I know it at Tobias McCormick and Comer, you guys have represented many people in cases that span the variety of things that could happen when you're traveling. And I know you have some information on car accidents, and we see plenty of those in the holiday season. It seems like in rural accidents, those might not happen as often as some of the fender benders like we see on Airport Boulevard, for instance. But a lot of times they can end up being a lot more dangerous.

Bryan:
The statistics really show that while you're right, I mean, the frequency of the number of wrecks happen more often when there's more people. The sad truth is that in a rural area, the wrecks typically are more severe.

And I'm sure that there are several things that go into that. Oftentimes on rural roads, particularly at night, they're dark two Lane roads, and the margin of error is a lot smaller there. We actually had a case once up near Alexander City that was very tragic where an 18-wheeler had broken down in the middle of the night on a two lane road, didn't have his flashers on, no lights illuminated. And unfortunately, our client came and hit him and died. The margin of error is just so small. There's usually not a shoulder to pull off on and again with the light. It's just really important to be mindful and to be careful and drive slowly and make sure you arrive alive.

Dalton:
What are some tips you have for someone who is preparing for either a long trip to go see Grandma and Grandpa or maybe it's even just for us, some of us a short trip across the Bay. Do you have any tips for somebody who's really planning for a trip like that to kind of get ready?

Bryan:
Yeah, sure. We actually just spoke with senior Trooper Peoples with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and she had some really great tips. You can see all of them on our website, tmclawyers.com. But there's some big ones that people can take into account. First of all, know where it is that you're going and plan your trip accordingly. I'm guilty of this as anybody. But make sure that when you actually get behind the wheel and you leave, make sure your gas tank is full. Oftentimes, particularly as I'm driving down, Interstate 65 you see if there's a really bad accident and traffic can be backed up for miles. Well, if that happens, you can get stuck for hours on the interstate. So it's always good to make sure that you have a full tank of gas so that you can get where you're going. And like I said, I'm guilty of it. I'll just get gas at the most opportune time, and you might not have that. And so particularly if you're going to be going on even just across the Bay, if there's a bad wreck on the Bayway, as you know, you're going to be sitting there for a long time. So aside from making sure that your car is maintained, make sure it's filled up with gas, make sure you've got things handy, particularly if, like us, we've got small kids and we're traveling, that you've got things handy, the wet wipes and all that sort of thing that you could need so that they're handy and available.

Dalton:
When I turned 16, I know I'm not alone, people gift you things for your new ride, right? Your new lifestyle. And one of those things is always like a roadside kit, whether it's flashers or one of those that you just put out on the side of the road, that's a reflector to let people know, Hey, I'm stopped over here, I'm changing a tire, or I have something going on. So I'm sure, first off, making sure you're far enough off the road as far as you can safely be. But when it comes to liability, say I am on the side of the road and someone runs into me, does it make a difference whether or not I have those flashers out there or I have things that are set to say, hey, I'm over here, don't come and hit me because I'm on the side of the road? Or if I've just had my truck completely turned off and it's dark. Is there a difference in those cases that you've seen?

Bryan:
Yes, there definitely can be, like the case I was mentioning earlier, the commercial truck was off on the side of the road with absolutely no warning lights, and none of those reflectors or the triangles or things like that that you were discussing. And so in a commercial vehicle, absolutely. Because DOT regulations require certain things for commercial vehicles to be able to say, I believe there's the three triangles they have to put out so far. And there are other requirements, too. But then even aside from a liability standpoint, you just always really want to make sure that you're visible to people. I recommend. And one of the things that I do is keep a vest, a reflective vest. So if you have a flat tire in the middle of the night, you put that thing on so that people can see. Have a flashlight with working batteries in it, because the whole thing is the more time you give somebody from you being lit up and people being able to see you that's the longer that they have to see you, to perceive you, and then to react and miss you. And then that makes sure that you and them get where they want to be safely. But to answer your question, there can be liability. If you do break down, to be a lawful vehicle on the road of Alabama, you've got to make sure that you have things in your vehicles in proper working order. And one of those things is that you have to have the flashers. And so when you pull over, you want to make sure that you get your flashers activated, that sort of thing.

Dalton:
Great points. There another big thing, of course, this time of year, I always hate talking about it, but driving under the influence, you see it really year-round, but it seems to be prevalent along holiday season.

Bryan:
Yeah. And one of the interesting little facts that ALEA (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency) shared with us was that Christmas night, there's a way higher prevalence of drinking and driving and drug related accidents, more so than New Year's Eve. It was surprising. And whether that was people being lonely from not being with their family, maybe from people being with their family too long. Whatever the case may be for folks, but the sad reality is that there are typically more parties. There are typically more events for the entire holiday season. And so that then means that people take chances, do things that they're not supposed to do. And it's never a good idea to drink and drive ever.

Dalton:
Right. Great point. Bryan Comer with Tobias, McCormick, and Comer. It's smart to go ahead and get your number, put it in the phone, just have it in case, God forbid, something happens to someone. But if someone out there, all of this sounds too familiar and it's happened to them or someone they know, can they give you guys a call?

Bryan:
Of course. It's always a free consultation. You can reach us at 251-432-5001 and then on the web at tmclawyers.com. It never costs anything to sit down and talk with one of us. If you call and set up a time to meet with us, you're either going to get my partner Desi Tobias, Jason McCormack or me sitting across the table from you.

Dalton:
I've talked about the website so many times and what a great resource it is for all kinds of information. tmclawyers.com Bryan, thanks for coming in with us.

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