The Smith System for Truck Drivers: Is It Being Followed?

The Smith System states that following these five rules can dramatically reduce the risk of major accidents on highways and roads.

1.   Aim High

The first rule for this method is “Aim high in steering”. Staying alert of the dangers and traffic ahead not only avoids rear-end collisions, but it also alerts other drivers behind your vehicle to slow down. The driver should steer and focus their attention high, so as to view the road as whole and not just a few feet ahead.

2.   The Big Picture

“Be aware of your surroundings at all times” may seem obvious to say, but distracted drivers are just as dangerous as intoxicated ones. Erratic and angry drivers take up a large portion of the traffic we see daily, so avoid major accidents by noticing how other drivers behave on the road. Having the whole picture means that you are doing your part to keep your vehicle as safe as possible while moving 1000ft a second. There are a variety of hazards between your own vehicle and other drivers, and a keen awareness of these dangers will reduce these risks.

3.   Keep Your Eyes Moving

The third standard of the Smith System asks drivers to remain alert. Energy drinks can only do so much before they cause the body to crash, and any repetitive motion sends us into a trance. Consistent eye movement prevents your body from entering the trance state, keeping you alert to every driving condition ahead of you.

4.   Leave Yourself an Out

The fourth principle of the Smith System states to leave yourself a way out. This means ensure that other drivers do not box you in while selecting their lanes. Do not follow other vehicles too closely, and always anticipate what choices other drivers make.

5.   Make Sure They See You

The worst thing a driver can do is assume. Assume other drivers can see them, assume other drivers are not dangerous, or even assume that they will just get to their destination safely. The final rule for the Smith System is “Make Sure You Are Seen”. This rule prevents accidents by removing assumptions made behind the wheel. As a driver, make sure that other drivers can see you and anticipate your move. If you feel you are coming into another driver’s blind spot, use the horn to get their attention.

The Most Overlooked Injury in Auto and Trucking Crashes

Having practiced in the area of personal injury law in Indiana for over 35 years, I have seen one injury that is typically missed by a lot of attorneys. The symptoms can be subtle, but persistent and can have profound effects for the injured down the road. You must have patience and persistent to fully ascertain this injury and get treated with the right doctors and medical professionals that understand this injury and its effects. What is this injury? It is a TBI or a traumatic brain injury.

What is the medical definition of a TBI? TBI is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by external force. Alteration in brain function is defined as one of the following clinical signs: 1) any period of loss of consciousness or a decreased loss of consciousness; 2) Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after an injury; 3) neurological deficits such as weakness, loss of balance, change in vision, sensory loss, dizziness, headaches: 4) Any alteration in mental state at the time of injury (confusion, disorientation, slowed thinking). There can be subtle changes in attention, memory, cognitive functioning, speech and language and personality. These wide ranging physical and psychological effects may appear immediately after a crash or appear days or weeks later. One can have normal testing from a CAT Scan and still have a TBI. A TBI can be caused by blow to the head or even a jolt to the head. The brain hitting the sides of the skull in an hyper-extension and hyper-flexion movement can cause a TBI. A concussion can be a sign of a TBI also. Post-concussive symptoms must be monitored for months to see if they subside or continue. A personal injury lawyer cannot be in a rush to settle these TBI cases.

Often a person with a TBI experiences changes in their thinking skills. There can be problems with memory, reasoning, judgment, concentration that were not there before. A person with a TBI can have communication problems including difficulty understanding speech or writing, inability to organize thoughts and ideas, difficulty in speaking or writing and trouble engaging in conversation.  There can be behavior and emotional changes including personality changes, difficulty in self-control, mood swings, anger, depression and irritability. There can be sensory changes including persistent ringing in the ears, trouble with balance or dizziness, double vision and impaired eye-hand coordination.

Countless people suffer these injuries from automobile and trucking crashes and may not even know it. An experienced personal injury must look for these symptoms and get his client the right medical treatment. Often these injuries can be permanent and cause life-changing alterations for the injured. If these are injuries are missed, this will significantly decrease the value of your personal injury claim. Insurance companies continue to downplay these injuries and question their validity. They do not want to pay the true value of these claims. If an attorney misses these injuries and is not trained to look for them, he or she is doing a serious disservice to their clients.

If you have been injured in an auto or truck crash and think you may have a TBI, it is important you see an experienced personal injury lawyer that is thoroughly familiar with these type of injuries and can fight for fair compensation. At Rowe Law Offices, we know the devastating effects a TBI can have on you and your family. Please call Rowe Law Offices if you have been in an accident and think you may have a TBI so that we help you get a fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries.