Monmouth County New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Prepare before you drive in the snowy weather

Driving in the winter months are often a challenge in states like New Jersey that tend to see plenty of snow and ice. Not only do you have to worry about how your vehicle is going to fare in the cold weather, you also have to think about the road conditions. There are many things that can impact your safety during this time of year.

Getting ready for a drive begins long before you ever start your vehicle. By ensuring that it is ready for the road and that you've brushed up on some basic driving tips, you can help to improve your safety.

Driving during the first snowfall of the season

For people who live in colder parts of the country, snow is a major concern when it comes to traffic accidents during the winter months. Moreover, there are a number of times when the risk of an accident caused by snowfall is especially high, such as blizzard conditions and the first snowfall of the season. When it first snows, there are multiple reasons why drivers may have a higher chance of crashing, from those who moved to the area earlier in the year and lack experience driving in the snow to drivers who forget to drive safe when road conditions are less than ideal.

Some drivers get in the habit of driving at a particular speed to get to their destination on time, and they may be thrown off by unexpected snowfall. As a result, they may find themselves in a rush and driving way too fast on the road. While heading around a turn, or trying to drive up a hill, they may lose control of their vehicle and collide with another driver. Even small amounts of snow on the road can lead to a crash and road conditions may vary considerably from one day to the next.

What is dram shop liability?

Assigning liability for drunk driving accidents in Monmouth County might seem fairly straightforward: the intoxicated driver that hit you is responsible for their actions. Yet what about those parties that may have contributed to them becoming drunk? Without having been furnished with alcohol, a strong argument may be made that the driver that hit you would have never been in position to do so in the first place. At the same time, others might claim that establishments are not responsible for the actions of their patrons. 

The latter assertion may be true only to a certain extent. New Jersey has joined a number of other states in establishing its own "dram shop law." These laws are meant to assign liability to restaurants, bars or clubs where a driver became intoxicated before causing an accident. Such laws might cause many to question why an establishment would serve alcohol at all. Yet dram shop liability may not apply to every case involving drunk driving. 

Potholes and motor vehicle wrecks

With winter around the corner, people in some parts of the country are likely thinking about ice, snow and other weather-related hazards on the road. However, even when weather conditions are ideal there may be a number of threats to the safety of all drivers and those riding in their vehicles. For example, some roads have a pothole problem, and these potholes can lead to an accident in various ways. It is important to be careful of potholes when you are driving and realize how they could lead to a crash.

First of all, potholes can lead to single-vehicle accidents if a driver loses control of their vehicle after unexpectedly driving over a pothole. Some accidents may involve a car rolling over or veering off of the road and hitting a tree, for example. Aside from the risk of a rollover accident or a crash which only involves one vehicle, potholes can also lead to a collision which involves a number of vehicles. For example, a driver may hit a pothole and cross over into another lane. Or, a driver may cause an accident while trying to avoid a pothole.

What is the first-time drunk driving penalty?

Driving under the influence of alcohol puts you in danger and endangers everyone else on the road. New Jersey has set laws about what will happen to you if you get convicted of a DUI. To begin with, if you drive and your blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher, then you are driving under the influence, according to the Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

The penalties you face get stiffer with each subsequent DUI conviction. However, if you face your first offense and your BAC was 0.08-0.09 percent, you will have to pay an insurance surcharge of $1000 annually for three years and a fine ranging from $250-$400. You may also have to go to jail for up to 30 days, spend at least six hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and have your license suspended for three months. If your BAC is .10 percent or more, the fine jumps to between $300 and $500 and your license suspension is for at least seven months and up to one year.

Can technology eliminate distracted driving?

Distracted driving is a growing problem throughout the world and it's largely the result of addictive smartphones. Indeed, if you look around at the traffic around you while driving, you'll no doubt catch countless drivers with their noses buried in a smart device.

Perhaps, if technology caused this problem, it could also be the solution.

What safety equipment does a large truck have?

Large trucks are so much bigger than other vehicles on New Jersey roadways that if you get into an accident with one of them, the chances are great that you will suffer the most.  While regulators do not have many onboard safety devices required, trucking companies are more observant and aware. They have started to implement different safety systems in hopes of reducing accidents.

According to, some safety features have been pretty standard for years, such as stability control. However, newer options, including updates to old systems, allow for better choices to add to trucks. For example, collision avoidance devices are common. Active braking and additional sensors can help to increase safety as well. Newer technology helps ensure systems work better and faster. They are also more reliable.

Your awareness can prevent motorcycle collisions

When you are busy driving, it may be easy for your mind to wander as you begin thinking about where you are going or what you are doing in the coming hours. Even more distracting can be things like passengers talking, your phone alerting you to a new message or even your decision to eat lunch while driving. Staying alert is incredibly important for your own protection, as well as that of other motorists, particularly those who are on motorcycles which may be more difficult to see. At Escandon, Fernicola, Anderson & Covelli, we are aware of the dangers of riding a motorcycle in New Jersey. 

Recognizing motorcycles and driving appropriately around them can help to prevent unnecessary accidents from happening. According to, when you are making a left-hand turn, you are at a much higher risk of hitting a motorcycle for a couple of different reasons. First, you may not be as observant of your blind spots as you are looking back and forth to identify an opening in traffic. Second, it may be difficult to accurately tell how fast an oncoming motorcyclist is traveling as you are turning in front of them. As such, it is imperative that you pay extra attention to your surroundings when you are turning left. 

Why are motorcyclists more likely to be injured in an accident?

Whether as a means of transportation or strictly as a recreational vehicle, a motorcycle offers you benefits that cars and trucks simply cannot provide. However, if you choose to ride a motorcycle in New Jersey, you also face a greater risk of death or injury in the event of an accident than those who drive other motor vehicles.

According to FindLaw, there are several reasons why motorcyclists are more susceptible to injury or death in a roadway accident.

Overcoming the grief of losing your loved one

The sudden death of your loved one in a violent New Jersey car accident has left you feeling broken, lost and doubtful that you will ever feel completely "normal" ever again. With the funeral complete and everyone's lives presumably going on as usual, it is now time for you to face the relentless emotions of having suffered such a significant loss. At Escandon, Fernicola, Anderson & Covelli, we are aware of the toll that grief can take on families who have lost a loved one. 

One of the first things you need to do is to acknowledge that you are experiencing the emotions you are feeling. Allow yourself time to truly feel, but also seek ways of processing these emotions that are healthy, productive and empowering. According to the American Psychological Association, one of the options you may consider in helping you grieve is to find a way to celebrate your family member. Is there something that he or she enjoyed that you can participate in that will remind you of them?

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