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Belgrade, Montana Personal Injury Blog

Why 'hungover' driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving

If you're on the road late in the evening or in the middle of the night, it's only natural to worry that some of your fellow drivers might be under the influence of alcohol. However, "morning after" or "hungover" driving can be just as dangerous.

People who stay out late drinking and then get just a few hours of sleep before going to work or elsewhere the next morning may still have more than the legal amount of alcohol in their system. In Montana, bars can stay open until 2:00 a.m. Even if someone takes an Uber home, if they head out to work or the gym at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m., they may still be intoxicated.

Man pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide in head-on crash

A 23-year-old man who's facing multiple charges for a fatal crash that killed a Kalispell mother and daughter has pleaded not guilty. The Minnesota man, who is currently in jail in Flathead County on $500,000 bond, appeared in court earlier this month. He is accused of vehicular homicide while being under the influence of alcohol.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the man was driving northbound on Montana Highway 35 in July when he moved into the southbound lane. He crashed head-on into the vehicle carrying the two women. According to a local television report, they both died at the scene. The Minnesota man was taken to the hospital.

Tips for safely sharing the road with large trucks

It's only natural to be a little nervous when you're driving near a large commercial truck on one of Montana's highways -- particularly in the winter months when the roads can be slick. Many of the over 250,000 annual crashes involving a car and a large truck can be avoided. Car drivers can do their part by knowing how to safely share the road with trucks.

First, drivers need to remember that large trucks need extra room to make turns and to stop. It's also essential to remember that their blind spots are larger than those of cars and other smaller vehicles. These blind spots (or "no zones") are its right front quarter, left rear quarter and immediately behind it.

Gun safety tips to keep your children safe

Many people consider the legal right to own a gun a big part of their life. While there's nothing wrong with owning a gun and storing it in your home, it's critical to do so with the well-being of your loved ones in mind.

For example, if you keep guns in the same house as your children, there are steps you can take to prevent a potentially serious accident. Here are five to keep in mind:

  • Keep guns out of reach: When guns are out of reach and out of sight, they're typically out of mind. Leaving guns lying around, such as in an unsecured box or on a table, is inviting trouble.
  • Use a gun lock: This goes along with the point above. A gun that is not in use should be stored in a locked container that is out of sight and out of reach. And since you're using a gun lock, even if the gun is found, your children won't be able to access it.
  • Store ammunition in a separate container: By doing this, your children won't be able to use the gun even if they find it. Once again, store the ammunition in a locked container that is out of reach.
  • Be careful when traveling with your gun: For example, if you're taking your gun in your car, be sure that it has a lockable container. This keeps your children and others away from the gun, both while you're in and outside of the vehicle.
  • Talk to your children about gun safety: You don't want to jump into this too soon, but there are benefits of explaining the risks associated with guns. You may also want to teach your children how to properly handle a gun should they come in contact with one.

Some of Montana's most beautiful roads are the most dangerous

Montana is home to some of the most beautiful natural sights in the country -- and maybe the world. However, many of the stretches of road you need to drive to see these sights up close are also the most dangerous.

What one driver considers dangerous, another may find exhilarating. Whether a road seems risky to drive may depend on what time of year you're driving on it. Mountain passes can be particularly hazardous during the winter, for example.

Semitruck crash causes massive talcum powder spill

One reason why commercial truck accidents can be so serious is that many times the contents of the truck spill onto the road. Everything from large, heavy objects to toxic chemicals can create a road hazard for vehicles that weren't even near the site of the crash.

Recently, a semitruck overturned on Interstate 90 near St. Regis, spilling approximately 56,000 pounds of talcum powder onto the road and into the St. Regis River. According to the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP), the driver was turning a corner near Drexel around 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 15 when the trailer section of the truck hit a barrier, causing the talcum powder he was carrying to fall out of the truck.

Give snowplows plenty of room on the road

Snowplows are a common sight on Montana roads and highways throughout the winter and a welcome one -- unless you get stuck behind one. That can be frustrating. However, it's essential for drivers to exercise caution whenever they encounter a snowplow.

Remember that these are large, heavy vehicles. The plows in the front are wider than the the vehicle and may extend over the lane or center line.

Gun maker facing third lawsuit over accidental discharges

Gun manufacturer SIG Sauer finds itself on the wrong side of yet another potential class-action suit. The cases involve instances of one of its most popular weapons discharging without the trigger being pulled.

Multiple people, including law enforcement officers, say they were injured when their P320 pistol fired on its own. One transit police force recently took the weapon out of service after one officer's weapon reportedly discharged on its own inside a subway station.

Winter driving tips for Belgrade residents

The calendar may insist it is still fall, but there is no doubt that wintry weather has descended upon Belgrade. With such a long season of cold, ice and snow ahead, it is important to always drive safely when you are behind the wheel.

Research studies by AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety determined that over 2,000 traffic fatalities occur every year that are attributed to poor road conditions and winter snowstorms. Of course, auto accidents can and do happen during all seasons of the year. But it is particularly wise to exercise caution when winter weather conditions prevail. Below are some driving tips from AAA that Belgrade drivers may find useful this winter.

Should you keep your car or buy a new one after a crash?

If your car has been damaged in a crash, one of the decisions you'll need to make -- unless it's been totaled -- is whether it's better to have it repaired or to buy a new one. There are a number of factors to consider. Some are financial. Others are more emotional.

First, determine how much it will cost to get your car repaired. If the crash was another driver's fault, their insurance should cover all of the costs associated with the repair.

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Ramler Law Office, P.C.
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Belgrade, MT 59714

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