Being Too Polite Can Kill You

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Being Too Polite Can Kill You

It’s a courteous gesture to wave on a pedestrian or another driver while on the road. The wave is rooted in good intentions and graceful manners, and can have catastrophic results. The trouble is, as always, in the unexpected.

If you wave a pedestrian across the street, and he or she crosses without checking the other lanes for oncoming traffic, you can be implicated for the resulting accident. By giving a go ahead, you’ve essentially given an “all-clear,” but odds are good that you didn’t check traffic behind you. This situation happens so often it has a nickname: the “Wave of death.”

The scenario is essentially the same for left-turn situations, where the rule of the road is generally that a driver turning left must yield to oncoming traffic. By waving someone through without checking all the lanes behind you, you’ve effectively guided the turner into a side-end collision. Even worse, angled or broadside collisions account for 20 percent of all lethal collisions.

When you’re on the other side of the road, your good fortune doesn’t matter in a court of law. If you disobey right-of-way by accepting a “wave of death” and are involved in an accident, you can be held responsible for damages to the vehicle that hits you! To maximize your safety, check out the following Winter Safe Driving Tips from the Tennessee Department of Transportation:

  • When it snows, slow down for wet or icy conditions. Once you lose traction, it is difficult to regain control.
  • Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady spots. These areas can develop black ice that may be difficult to see.
  • Avoid excessive actions while maneuvering to maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Leave extra room between vehicles to allow for increased stopping distance. Brake slowly and evenly to avoid skidding.
  • Take it slow! Slower speed, slower steering, slower braking, and slower acceleration will all help you maintain control of your vehicle in adverse conditions.

Above all, be aware of other drivers. Drive safely and responsibly, and remember, it’s ok to politely decline the “wave of death” to ensure a safe and start to the new year. If you were in an accident this holiday, please contact the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm to see if we can help you at one of our offices in Nashville, Gallatin or Knoxville.