Author Archive for Teresa Stewart

GM Recall – Ignition Switch Dangers

General Motors has made an announcement that it will be recalling approximately 1.37 million cars that were made between 2004 and 2007. The recall is based on a faulty ignition switch that can randomly turn the car off while it is in use. This recall is in addition to the 778,000 cars recalled earlier in February with the same problem.

The recall includes the following vehicles from 2004-2007

• Chevy Cobalt
• Pontiac G5
• Saturn Ion
• Chevrolet HHR
• Pontiac Solstices
• Saturn Sky

General Motors (GM) has issued a statement that the ignitions in these vehicles can turn off without warning, leaving the car without power steering, power brakes, or the ability to deploy airbags.

A Brief Look At The History

In 2004, court documents show that an engineer for GM noted that during a test drive the ignition shut off in the car. While the engineer reported this issue to his superiors, it was not reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The law states that all auto manufacturers must report a safety issue to the NHTSA within five days of discovering the problem. Failure to make a report can lead to a $35 million fine to the car company,

Court documents for current cases show that GM believed it was not a true safety issue because you can still operate the car manually while it is stalled and that it could quickly be restarted if placed in neutral or in park. GM did not state the reason that the airbags were not deploying.

GM has stated that it will conduct a complete recall on these cars and begin to notify owners immediately on what to do to remain safe until they can have their ignitions changed. Included in these tips are to only have your single car key on the ring because it is believed the weight from multiple keys on a key ring is what is causing the ignitions to turn off.

What To Do If You Have Been Injured

Chicago and other cold area residents have experienced a variety of dangerous driving conditions over the last few months due to inclement weather. They do not need to add to this risk the potential of having their car turn off while they are driving and not be able to control the vehicle. Anyone driving one of these recalled vehicles must take extra precaution until the ignition is replaced. At this time, there have been 13 recorded deaths and 31 font-end accidents directly connected to this problem.

Auto accidents and personal injuries fall into an area of law that has a statute of limitations. This means you have a limited amount of time to file a claim; you won’t be allowed to file if you wait too long. If you have already experienced an ignition failure incident, you need a lawyer for a car accident in Chicago, or one in your area to discuss your rights as a victim of a defective product.

GM knew this was an issue for nearly 10 years before admitting it and making a recall. This is negligence and the negligent must be held accountable.

An experienced car accident attorney will be able to help you build a case against General Motors as well as help you with your current car accident case. Your rights as a consumer have been violated and you were injured as a result so it expected that you should receive fair compensation for your losses.

As a current events blogger, Teresa Stewart often researches topics for public service announcements. If part of the recall, it’s critical for consumers to return to the dealer as soon as possible to take advantage of the ignition solution.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Family Roadtrips: Should Your Kids Still Ask Truckers to Honk?

For many years, it has been common practice when taking road trips, that kids and adults alike, will simulate an up-and-down arm movement as they pass a truck driver to get them to blow the horn. The loud, thundering sound of a big semi-truck horn has been a sense of pleasure and laughter for many children throughout the years. However, some states are cracking down on truckers for unnecessary use of horns due to accidents caused when other drivers are startled by the sound.

Heavy Traffic

During heavy traffic, police officers recommend that passengers in vehicles do not pump their arm to ask a semi-truck driver to honk the horn. Drivers in other cars may think the honking is for them, causing them to react–sometimes violently–to avoid the truck, which could then lead to an accident. Because quick maneuvers are especially dangerous to those riding motorcycles, having a driver blow the air horn unnecessarily could be especially hazardous to them.

Local Ordinances

Due to the safety hazards involved in the unnecessary blowing of horns, many localities have ordinances against doing so except as a sign of danger. According to Cofman Townsley, truck wreck attorney in Missouri, “truck drivers often contribute to truck accidents by breaking the rules of the road”.

Within some localities, truck drivers who blow horns because children or adults make a motion for them to do so could be fined. For example, the city of Kirkwood, Missouri prohibits disturbing noises. Their city ordinance Sec. 17-37(a) states that the sounding of any horn or signaling device on any vehicle on any street except as a danger warning is a violation. Other cities have restrictions related to where horns may be blown, such as away from residential areas or hospital zones. When traveling on interstates, it is often difficult to determine if a hospital or a residential zone is nearby, which is why many experts recommend not asking truckers to blow their horns needlessly.

Acceptable Times

Truckers claim that they enjoy blowing horns when asked, especially for children, but that they do use caution when doing so. Many say that they will blow the horn if there is little or no traffic, or if the vehicles are traveling on a country road with few residences. When traveling with children, it is recommended that adults explain when it is appropriate to ask a truck driver to blow their horn and when it is not in order to keep children from being disappointed. When the road is fairly empty and there can be no concern that another driver may be startled by the air horn, police officers say that it is acceptable to make the motion for the horn to blow.

Asking a trucker to blow their horn is fun for children when on road trips, but it is important that the adults in the car are aware that there may be ordinances against requesting the air horn to blow, and that there are times when it could cause a hazard on the highway.

In researching this article, freelance writer LaGeris Underwood Bell learned about the potential dangers in a honking truck. However, Cofman Townsley, truck wreck attorney in Missouri is clearly aware of the possible ramifications. Being startled into an accident by a horn blowing is not all fun and games.

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Unlikely Companions: A Racing Car and A Wheelchair

Auto-related hobbies are generally followed by people who are intensely passionate about them. There are entire cable channels devoted to cars and motorcycles, from classics to rat-rod rebuilds. Any given weekend you’ll be able to find a car show or meetup where people are showing off their classic Datsun Z cars, German imports, or classic American hot rods.

Auto Racing Injuries

Auto racing and other facets of the automotive industry can be dangerous. Even the safest track or auto-cross day carries with it the risk of fire, collision, or rolling. Most drivers follow safety practices such as installing roll cages in their cars, wearing helmets, and donning fire-safe protective suits, gloves, and shoes, but you can still get injured while racing or working on cars. Anytime you mix moving parts, heavy equipment, and humans, you have a real risk for disability or serious injury.

You can find a lot of information on the Internet concerning racing injuries by doing a local online search like car accident attorney Springfield MO or auto accident injuries.

Rally Racing as a Quadriplegic

That doesn’t mean you have to stop racing just because you get in an accident on the track. Many people continue pursuing their love of all things automotive despite being disabled, either by an automotive accident or other cause. One Missouri man has determined that he’s not going to let being a quadriplegic stop him from rally racing. Chris Hrabik was injured in a car accident not related to racing when he was 18 years old.

He has some use of his right hand, but his left is completely unusable. So he makes modifications in his shop, taping tools to his left hand and creating his own specific pieces of equipment so he can still fix and race cars. His 1997 Subaru Impreza is his rally car, and he has modifications–some industry standard, and some of his own–so that he can fit his wheelchair in the car if he needs it. Rally racing is a dangerous sport in which drivers race down an unpredictable dirt or gravel road and try to beat the other drivers’ times.

It’s so dangerous that spectators sometimes have to be kept away from the road in certain places where skidding, rollovers, or driving off the road are common.

Modifications for Racing

But a disability won’t stop a true car aficionado from driving, building, and racing cars. Modifications in all vehicles have come a long way so that disabled people can still get around, and those same modifications can be made in rally, autocross, and track racing cars. Even drift cars have some applications that allow disabled people to partake in their favorite sport.

It’s common for paraplegics to use hand controls for the brake, gas, and clutch of a race car. The setup is similar to that of a motorcycle or bicycle. More advanced modifications might include voice controls. Some people use pedal extenders to help them reach the pedals with short or amputated legs, and others have back braces that assist in stabilizing their backs while sitting in the safety-promoting but uncomfortable racing seats.

If you’ve been disabled due to an injury in the automotive industry, or are disabled and still want to continue building, racing, and modifying cars, advances in the technology of race cars will allow you to continue working on your hobby. You don’t need to watch from the sidelines if you’re determined to continue racing and working on your favorite cars.

Teresa Stewart is a freelance writer and car enthusiast who frequently researches car accident claims. If you would like to learn more about the devastating effects of auto accident injuries view this video by car accident attorney Springfield MO based which provides details on how an accident attorney can help you to recover physically and financially.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Don’t Forget to Flush…Your Radiator

The invention of the automobile was undoubtedly huge, especially for modern-day car buffs, but it didn’t come without a few headaches. Owning a vehicle is basically a necessity, and if that vehicle starts having problems, it can cause huge issues that reach into every facet of the owner’s life. One of the quickest ways to have one’s car break down is to not properly maintain the radiator. Luckily, after understanding the benefits of radiator care, not many car lovers will negate this essential duty.

Keeping the Water Pump Healthy

As with most parts in modern-day vehicles, the radiator is not an island in and of itself. Issues with this essential car system can quickly lead to problems in other areas of the vehicle. One of the auto parts most affected by the radiator is the water pump. The water pump assists in the moving of water throughout the engine block and other parts of the vehicle. Whenever the radiator is periodically flushed, an additive in the coolant will lubricate the pump. This is imperative since it will lengthen the part’s life.

Removes Scale and Rust Deposits

Properly maintaining one’s radiator will also ensure that scale and rust deposits are removed from within the system. This is essential since these deposits will undoubtedly build up over time. When they reach a certain point, these buildups will result in a vehicle overheating and, in some cases, much more significant damage to the vehicle.

In addition, an overheating car can lead to serious auto accidents. A vehicle that stalls while going down the road, for instance, can be a danger to everyone around it. This is especially the case since it can be difficult to get off of the road without any power going to the engine. Additionally, a sudden cloud of steam coming from under the hood can hinder a person’s ability to see in front of them, and this can quickly lead to a tragic accident.

When you consider the effect of a car accident on your life, you mostly think of the inconvenience of car repairs like not having your vehicle for some time while it is being repaired. You certainly do not want to be liable for the accident due to your negligence and not performing routine maintenance on your car. One Missouri law firm states on their website the detailed steps that go into proving your accident claim. If the insurance company suspects that you are at fault it will be very difficult to get the compensation that you need for car repairs and medical expenses.

Prevents Corrosion

Not having a radiator periodically drained as part of routine maintenance can lead to particles building up within the system and therefore corrosion. Fortunately, antifreeze contains anti-corrosive materials, and this will prevent serious damage to a vehicle. Over time, however, the additives in the coolant will lose their anti-corrosive properties. Keeping the system well maintained will ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Save Warranty Information

One of the most important reasons to have periodic radiator maintenance, especially for those purchasing new vehicles, is the fact that it will help maintain the automobile’s warranty. New and many used cars come with a warranty that ensures the owner is protected, but these warranties often have specific requirements that must be met. Otherwise, the warranty will be void. Having maintenance, such as coolant flushes, performed on the vehicle will undoubtedly be one of these requirements. This means that, if bigger issues occur, the owner of the vehicle will still be covered.

A person’s vehicle is like an extension of themselves, and when they take care of it, it will take care of them in turn. Most individuals focus on using the right gas, getting periodic oil changes and optimal tire inflation; and this sometimes leaves radiator maintenance in the farthest reaches of their mind. Knowing the aforementioned benefits, however, make it quite easy to understand how important routine maintenance is for the coolant system.

Teresa Stewart is a freelance writer who has a passion for cars and their maintenance. She found this video,, useful in understanding how a car accident lawyer can help accident victims get the assistance they need to cover their losses.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Traveling with Little Ones: Ensuring a Safer Ride


For most people in their late teen and early adult years, taking their first car out on a road trip brought with it a feeling of freedom that not many things can match up to. After hitting adulthood and having children, however, traveling takes on a whole new meaning. During these trips, parents are often more focused on keeping their children happy, but even in this quest, it’s essential to not forget about the child’s safety while in the vehicle. There are a variety of dangers that children can face while in the car with their parents, but luckily, a few proactive steps can easily mitigate these risks. 

Accident Statistics Involving Children

The chances of a parent and their child being involved in an accident increases with the amount of time spent on the road, so when traveling on even short vacations or road trips, a child faces an increased danger not usually experienced by those who are simply riding along on errand runs. This is important to note once a parent realizes that, in 2011 alone, over 650 children under the age of 12 died in auto accidents; and even more alarming is the fact that 148,000 children in this age range were injured in accidents.

It’s an unfortunate truth that these incidents are often linked to parents’ neglectfulness. A study actually found that around 40 percent of children riding with parents who didn’t use seat belts were also not seated in proper child safety seats. Unfortunately, children are also sometimes put at risk when their parents think they’re doing everything right.

Safety Seat Importance

The importance of child safety seats cannot be overstated. The use of car seats lessens the risk of an infant dying in an accident by 71 percent.  For toddlers, this number is 54 percent. Even the use of booster seats, as opposed to regular seat belts alone, reduces a young child’s chances of experiencing a serious injury by a full 45 percent.

Sadly, the use of these seats doesn’t guarantee safety. This because around 72 percent of all child safety seats aren’t properly installed. A recent tragic example shows just how important proper safety seat installation is. An accident in Missouri ended in the deaths of all passengers except an infant who was seated in a properly installed safety seat. The proper installation of this seat is likely what saved the child’s life.

In the disheartening example listed above, the surviving family members will likely be able to recover financial compensation due to wrongful death, and their chances of doing this increases if they have an experienced car wreck attorney. As Cofman Townsley, car wreck attorneys in Independence MO, state “A car accident can happen so fast, there is no time to think. It can leave you traumatized and devastated over personal loss.”

Thankfully, this will not be due to any serious harm to the young infant, and for those who are worried that their child’s safety seat may not be properly installed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a search engine for car seat inspection centers around the country.

Other Tips on Keeping Children Safe

There are also other safety steps besides proper safety seat installation that can keep children safe on the road. One safety tip, still related to car seats, is to replace a seat that’s been involved in a moderate to serious accident. They begin to lose their effectiveness after this. Additionally, it’s smart to place one’s purse or other vital belonging in the back seat’s floorboard. This will ensure that, after a long journey that may have been mind numbing, a parent will not mistakenly forget their child in the back seat.

Another safety tip, though it may cost a few extra dollars, is to invest in a portable DVD player. This will keep children preoccupied, and since this will reduce the likelihood of them misbehaving and demanding a parent’s attention, it will also reduce the chances of an accident occurring due to distraction.

The numbers related to childhood injuries and deaths on America’s streets are undoubtedly disheartening, but these statistics also tell the story of children who could’ve survived had a few protective measures been taken. Sadly, with negligent drivers on America’s highways, not even the safest of parents can ensure that their children won’t be involved in an accident. Fortunately, the appropriate safety measures followed up by the right legal help can ensure that a child remains safe while not breaking the parent’s bank. 

As a mother to 4 Lisa Coleman understands the importance of proper car seat installation and safety, especially when an accident occurs. She recently viewed online how Cofman Townsley, car wreck attorneys in Independence MO, can legally help a client who has been a victim in a car accident due to negligent driving.

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Car Damaged By Construction Debris? A to Z Guide

The construction industry has one of the highest rates of accidents of any field in America, and unfortunately, a person doesn’t even have to be involved in that line of work to be affected by it. Many car lovers have parked their vehicle to run a few errands or even head in for the night only to come out and discover that falling debris or other accidents on construction sites have damaged their vehicle. This can undoubtedly be a difficult time for those who treat their vehicle like their best friend, but luckily, there are a few steps they can take to keep their car and wallet healthy after the fact.

Contact Police Immediately

One of the most important things to do after having a vehicle damaged by falling construction debris is to contact local police. Unless some physical injury was sustained, it’s not necessary to tie up the local 9-1-1 line, so contacting the Sheriff’s Department directly will be enough.

The website makes mention that, “most construction site accidents are caused by negligence, carelessness, or lack of adherence to established safety practices.” Having the police come out is a vital step because there’s a good chance that a police report will be the only legal record of the accident having actually taken place. While the following steps will undoubtedly lend credence to the unfolding of events, having a police report on file can make or break the entire situation.

Take Pictures of Damage

While waiting for police, a person should take pictures of all of the damage that occurred to their vehicle. In addition, pictures should be taken of the debris or equipment that fell and caused the accident, the damaged or improperly maintained area that led to this material falling and anything else that may help insurers and courts decipher exactly how and why the incident took place.

Get Witness Information

One of the most important steps to take after having one’s vehicle damaged due to falling construction material is getting witness information. Regardless of what a construction site manager, onsite employees or the property owner claims, third-party witness testimony will go extremely far in proving fault. In fact, if there is eyewitness testimony to the event, a person’s construction site attorney will have little trouble securing a fair settlement from the insurance company.

Get Professional Counsel Before Filing Claim

The final step that a person should take is filing their claim. It’s imperative, however, to speak with an attorney before this point. This is for a few reasons. First off, an experienced legal professional will be able to pinpoint all responsible parties. Was it just worker negligence that caused the accident or did a piece of faulty equipment contribute? This could make the difference between suing one company and suing several.

Additionally, a legal professional will have a much better chance at securing a fair compensatory package than the typical person will on their own. This is because insurers will often offer those without representation low settlements in the hopes that they don’t know what a fair settlement is. After having one’s attorney file the necessary papers, it’s imperative to refer all phone calls from the construction company’s insurer to one’s lawyer from that point on.

Thanks should be given in instances where falling construction debris causes property damage instead of bodily injury. If an injury is suffered however, the law ensures that the site owner, whether private or state-funded, will be held liable for their negligence. Whenever a car lover’s vehicle experiences any type of damage, the unfolding aftermath can be rather disheartening but the settlement and follow-on repairs will be able to get Old Betsy up and running again in no time.

Content specialist Teresa Stewart frequently researches auto property damage and covered benefits. She shares her findings which encourages victims to consult with legal experts before signing away any insurance rights.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Distracted Driving: Stop the Texts to Avoid the Wrecks

The increase in handheld technologies has impacted every area of life, including driving. Everyone carries a cell phone, tablet, or other handheld device, and many people use them while they are operating a car. These devices are the cause of a significant amount of car accidents now, with some government agencies stating that they are exceeding drunk driving events.

Distracted Driving and the Law

Distracted driving has become such a serious problem that most states have enacted laws over the last couple of years directed at handheld devices. These laws prohibit texting at any time the car is in motion, and most require a hands-free device to speak on the phone. Illinois just enacted a law in 2014 that prohibits anyone from holding any device in their hand while operating a vehicle and has made doing so a Primary Law. By distinguishing this as a Primary Law, police officers can stop a vehicle if they see someone with a phone or other device in their hands without any other violations taking place.

Facts and Figures

The U.S. government has recently released statistics about distracted driving that may astonish you. These facts include:

• Almost 500,000 people were injured in a car accident that involved a distracted driver in 2012.
• Over 3,100 deaths occurred due to distracted driving.
• Sending a text takes approximately 4.6 seconds. If you are driving 55mph, this means you can travel the length of a football field without watching the road while texting.
• Over 50 percent of drivers 21 and under admit to checking texts or sending them while driving.

When Accidents Happen

If you have been involved in a car accident while the other driver was distracted, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. When someone is distracted and causes an accident, not only have they broken the law, but they have just created a situation where they are completely at-fault for the accident.

It is very important to contact a personal injury attorney soon after your accident so that you can establish a claim and protect your rights as a victim. If the police did not ticket the other driver for distracted driving, the attorney can subpoena call and text records and compare them to the times of the accident. If it is discovered that there were calls or texts being placed at the time, it is an open-and-shut case for you.

Stopping the Problem

It is easy to say that the best thing that you can do is put your phone away while you are diving. The person who sent the text or made the call will understand if you do not respond right away. It is the only guaranteed safe way to operate a vehicle.

For parents who are worried about their teens when they are not in their car, an app can be installed into their phone along with a device in the car that turns the phone off automatically while the car is in motion. For parents who cannot resist the urge to use their phones while driving, this may be a great tool. The phones will not become accessible to use again until the car is shut off.

Hands-free devices and routing calls through the dashboard radio are also options. However, the latest government report also shows that hands-free devices are only slightly less distracting than holding the device itself. The best option is to just let it ring until you arrive at your destination.

Lisa Coleman shares what the law says in many states in regards to texting and driving, and the importance of refraining from cell phone use when behind the wheel. She recently read at how an injury attorney can help should an accident result from someone else’s negligence.

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Which Economy Cars Failed Safety Tests And Why?


A recent crash-test that was conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed shocking information about the safety of economy cars. In fact, 10 of the 11 vehicles that were involved in this test failed, and six of them received the lowest possible score. Due to this, it is a good idea to consider the Chevrolet Spark if you are looking for a new economy class car, as it was the only vehicle to receive an acceptable rating. Keep in mind that such a rating is not what you should be looking for, especially when you factor in the importance of keeping your family safe during an accident.

The Six Worst Rated Economy Vehicles

Six 2014 vehicles were ranked as “poor”, and this is even worse than the findings that were reported by the IIHS in 2013. The test that was given to determine how safe these vehicles are included simulating an accident at 40 mph that caused 25 percent of the driver’s side front end to strike a five foot tall barrier. As you can imagine, this could lead to serious injuries or even fatalities without the proper safety precautions in place as shown by the Today Show. If you were driving any of these vehicles in New York, and a pedestrian was struck by you and killed, a New York wrongful death lawyer could take serious action against you for driving a faulty car.

Sadly, the Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Fit, Toyota Prius C, Nissan Versa, Fiat 500 and Hyundai Accent all failed this test miserably. In fact, the Honda Fit did so poorly in this test that Consumer Reports made the decision to pull their recommendation for this vehicle. Additionally, the crash test dummy that was used while testing the Honda Fit, Fiat 500 and Hyundai Accent indicated injuries to the hips, upper legs and lower legs. The dummies in the other vehicles that received a poor grade showed damage to the lower legs only.

Four Economy Vehicles that Received a Marginal Score

If you care about safety, it is important to steer clear of purchasing a vehicle that has received a poor designation. However, a marginal score is not much better. During this test, the IIHS determined that the Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris and Kia Rio all performed just well enough to receive a marginal rating. This is bad news for consumers who place safety at the top of their wish list. The test dummies in the Mazda 2 and Kia Rio sustained lower leg injuries, and the dummies in the Toyota Yaris had marginal damage to its lower legs. Fortunately, all of these vehicles did provide an acceptable or good level of protection for a driver’s head, neck, chest, hips and thighs. However, the structural integrity of each vehicle on this list received a marginal score, and this can easily lead to additional injuries.

As you can see, it is definitely important to review safety information before you make a purchasing decision. In the economy grade class, the Chevrolet Spark is the only economy car that prevented its testing dummy from receiving any injuries, earning it IIHS’s 2014 Top Safety Pick award.  However, even if you select the safest car available, it is still possible for you to be injured in an accident. Therefore, you should always remain alert at all times while you on the road.

Domonique Powell has always read consumer magazines to get advice on the best purchases for her family, especially cars. While researching this article, information provided by a New York wrongful death lawyer proved most helpful in understanding the process of claims made in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Why You Should Not Ignore Automobile Recalls


The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 established the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) whose main objective is to monitor complaints against motor vehicles or manufacturers and issue recalls of those vehicles if they pose a danger to the public. Since its inception, the NHTSA has recalled nearly 500 million vehicles for safety issues.

If you receive a recall notice on your vehicle, it is imperative that you take the vehicle into a dealership and have the item repaired or replaced. Not only does this protect you from potential harm, it also protects your rights as a victim if you are involved in an accident.

When You Are Involved In An Accident

Auto manufacturers attach recall notices and repairs to the VIN number of a car. This method of tracking allows manufacturers to know where the car is after it has been sold in the event that it has been resold. These recalls and repairs will stay attached to the car until it is registered as scrapped. This information can be accessed by attorneys and insurance companies by request and can be used as evidence in a case.

The website of a Chicago car accident lawyer lists faulty vehicle claims as one of the leading causes of car accidents. One of the components of a lawsuit is research. If, during that research, it is discovered that you had a recall notice on your car and you did not have it repaired and that defect was either the cause of the accident or your injury your rights as a victim may be compromised.

The insurance company may see this as an act of negligence on your part and deny any claims that you make for compensation. While your attorney will aggressively fight the insurer on your behalf, there is a risk involved that you may not receive any or very limited compensation due to the recall repair not being completed.

Recalls Are Very Serious

Due to the scope of a vehicle recall and the expense associated with implementing a recall, the NHTSA only issues recalls if there is “unreasonable risk to the safety of the vehicle occupants” if the repair is not implemented. Auto makers can impose voluntary recalls for any reason, but safety recalls enacted by the NHTSA must be completed by the car companies.

Common reasons for recalls include:

• Defective parts that impact acceleration and can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
• Defective steering components that cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
• Defective fuel system components that will cause the car to stall.
• Defective brake components that can cause loss of braking or brake lock-ups.
• Defective air bags, either in deployment or when in use.
• Defective tires.

Other recalls have been issued for things such as faulty components holding the seats in place and defective door handles that fell off on impact and trapped people in the cars.

It is important to remember that most recalls occur as a result of several people being hurt by these exact defects. The NHTSA will not randomly issue recalls until there is a distinct pattern of danger from a vehicle.

It can be an inconvenience to take your car into the dealership and spend the afternoon waiting for a repair, but it can mean the difference between being injured and walking away from an accident. It can also mean the difference between receiving full and fair compensation and having your claim reduced or denied.

Teresa Stewart is a freelance writer who frequently researches product liability and car accidents. By performing an online search using criteria such as Chicago car accident lawyer and automobile recalls she was able to validate the information contained in this article.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons 

The Day Atlanta Froze – Be Prepared for Unexpected Traffic Stalls


Though normally home to mild winters, Atlanta’s January 2014 storm took the city by surprise. Some parts of the city saw up to three inches of snow, and icy roads make traveling nearly impossible for thousands of motorists. Hundreds were stuck in gridlocked traffic, forced to sleep overnight in freezing temperatures or abandon their cars on the highways in favor of walking.

There were many heartwarming stories of residents who stepped up and helped out their fellow citizen with food and shelter. As Atlanta struggled to recover from one of the worst winter storms in recent memory, it became clear that being prepared for these situations isn’t just recommended, it’s essential.

When the Unthinkable Happens

Though cities to the north were amazed at the utter chaos just a few inches and a deep freeze caused in the south, the fact is that many southern cities are not equipped to handle winter storms on a large scale. Being one of the largest metropolitan areas in the American south, Atlanta came under international scrutiny as other cities looked to lessons that could be learned from the disaster. While there were mistakes made, it also brought to light that no matter what part of the country you live in, you should be prepared for the possibility of having to deal with the effects of winter weather. By preparing an “emergency car kit” that you can easily store in your trunk, you can ensure that you and your passengers stay safe should you find yourself confronted with the possibility of being stranded.

1. Be sure to have a sleeping bag and blankets.

When snow is on the ground, the temperature will plummet, particularly during the night. There’s also the potential of running out of gas while you’re waiting to move. Keeping a few spare blankets or sleeping bags in your trunk can help to keep you and your passengers warm should the worst happen.

2. Ensure you have what you need for your kids.

Traveling with little ones, particularly babies is difficult enough without the added nightmare of a snowy traffic jam. Be sure to have a backup kit in the car containing diapers, extra food, and juice. For your infant’s comfort, throw in Mombo by Comfort & Harmony nursing pillows at Target if you are breastfeeding. This can easily double as a convenient adult pillow if you stuck for a long period of time and need to get some shuteye. Having a few creature comforts can help to alleviate any stress you and your kids might be feeling.

3. Carry bottles of water with you at all times.

Becoming dehydrated is just as dangerous in the winter as it is in the summer, and having bottles of water handy in your car should be a year-round must have. Aim for smaller bottles, as they are easier to thaw out, or better yet keep a small cooler in your car. The same way it can help keep drinks cold, it can also prevent your water from freezing.

4. Store nutrient-rich, non-perishable foods.

When you’re stranded, you never know how long you’re going to be or the distance you may be forced to walk. Aim to have small calorie dense, nutritious snacks like granola bars, raisins, nuts and other non-perishable items tucked away in the back of your car at all times. Be sure to include any family favorites as having a few items they love will go a long way to helping deal with potential grouchiness. Also, be sure to check in with your stash from time to time to ensure that nothing has expired and that you’re stocked and ready to go.

5. Have back-up medication handy.

If you are a diabetic or suffer from any other illness, running out of your medication when you’re stranded can be life-threatening. Keep a small supply of what you need in your emergency car kit at all times. While police and the National Guard will try to help those who need the most urgent care, it could take them some time to get to you. Be ready for a wait by having what you need.

6. Keep a flashlight and a spare cell phone.

When you are stranded on the road, the possibility of running out of gas or your battery winding down becomes very real. A flashlight can not only be used to help you find what you need in the dark, it can also come in handy as a signal to let people know you are there. Chances are your cell phone has been getting a heavy workout as well, so carry a spare battery with you in your glove compartment. Consider a car charger though you may need to conserve your auto’s battery.

Even though Atlanta and many parts of the south weren’t ready for the freak winter storm that hit, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be. Nasty winter weather can happen in any part of the country, so being prepared is essential no matter where you live. Keep an emergency kit in your car to keep you and your passengers safe.

Atlantan Teresa Stewart had a 3 hour, 3 mile commute that fateful January day but was thankful to have made it home safe and sound. She writes to share the lesson learned about keeping essentials stored in the car for freak weather traffic events. While researching children’s comforts, she explored Mombo by Comfort & Harmony nursing pillows at Target for infant necessities.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons