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Drug impairment more prevalent than alcohol in car accidents

The fact that cannabis use is no longer against the law in Ontario does not remove the dangers that come along with its use by operators of motor vehicles. Safety authorities say positive drug tests exceed the number of positive alcohol tests in deceased victims of car accidents. Although no roadside test for drug impairment exists currently, Drug Recognition Experts and specially trained police officers can detect it — with potentially dire consequences for the driver. Parents are advised to communicate with their teenagers to prepare them for the dangers of driving while impaired. The effects of cannabis on people vary, depending on the quantity consumed and whether it was ingested, inhaled or smoked. The level of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) can make a difference in the effect it has on the user, and this also applies to medical marijuana. Due to these variables, there is nothing to determine the amount of cannabis that can be consumed before becoming impaired. Increased crash risks exist even with limited use of cannabis because it affects a driver’s motor skills and slows down reactions. Authorities say marijuana impairs concentration and short-term memory, causing drivers to drift across the road at varying speeds. It also prevents drivers from making quick decisions in emergencies in the same way as other drugs like cocaine or even prescription drugs. Impaired drivers threaten their own lives, the safety of their passengers and other road users whether in motor vehicles, on bicycles or on foot. Victims of such car accidents — or the surviving family members of those who lose their lives — will be entitled to seek financial recovery for damages through the Ontario civil justice system. Although this is a complicated field of the law, an experienced personal injury lawyer can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout ensuing legal proceedings.

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Prepare for winter driving to prevent car accidents

This time of the year is known to see countless numbers of drivers who are adversely affected by the winter weather and all the challenges it poses. In anticipation, the Canada Safety Council uses the first week of December — National Safe Driving Week — as an opportunity to remind drivers in Ontario and other provinces about the precautions they can take to avoid car accidents this winter. The first step might be to have vehicles serviced by having tune-ups and oil changes done before taking to the roads. Drivers should also consider putting snow tires on their vehicles, and safety authorities advise fitting them sooner rather than later. According to studies, braking on icy and slippery conditions with snow tires require 25 per cent less space. The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada reports a significant increase in the number of vehicles with snow tires currently, compared to those shown in a 2014 study. Having a well-stocked emergency kit in the car is also a good idea, containing a flashlight, non-perishable food, a charged phone, water, blanket, shovel, jumper cables, candles, matches and more. Furthermore, drivers are warned of the need to adjust their driving habits to prevailing weather conditions. Reducing speed, steering gently around corners and increasing following distances to allow extra space for stopping are some of the precautions to take. Extra care is also advised when snow banks reduce visibility in turning lanes or along driveways. When snowplows are at work, they have the right-of-way, and drivers must yield for them. Sadly, despite taking all these precautions, the negligence of others could cause unanticipated car accidents. Injured victims and surviving family members of those who have lost their lives may pursue financial relief through the Ontario civil justice system. An experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyer can provide the necessary support and guidance to throughout the legal proceedings to recover economic and emotional damages.

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Car accidents and snowy Ontario roads go hand in hand

It is time again to prepare for safe winter driving. Many car accidents during the winter months occur when drivers do not adjust their speed according to road and weather conditions. Proper planning that includes allowing extra time to reach a destination might prevent collisions. Carrying the necessary emergency supplies in the car and checking the weather forecast will also be smart. When navigating the Ontario roads this winter, it will be crucial to remain alert and avoid distractions. A driver who loses focus for seconds to check a cell phone could fail to notice a reflection on the road that could have warned him or her of an ice patch. Steering gently through curves and where the roadway is slippery is essential, and increasing normal following distances will be wise. Other risky actions on icy roads include abrupt gear changes, quick acceleration and hard braking, which can cause the vehicle to skid. Cruise control is better avoided on snowy, ice-covered or wet roads because it jeopardizes vehicle control and reaction time. Drivers should also be careful where snowplows are working, and it is safer to wait for them to pull over because passing might lead to head-on collisions. All drivers are expected to take due care as they navigate snow-covered Ontario roads. However, crashes that cause severe injuries will continue to happen. When the negligence of drivers causes car accidents, injured victims will be entitled to pursue financial relief through the civil justice system of the province. However, this is a complicated field of the law, and the support and guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer will indeed be a valuable asset.

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