I get a bunch of emails and Facebook messages about problems you would like me to check in to. So, today I decided to answer a bunch of the questions I've gotten.
If you have anything you would like me to include and research in the next Sid Busters, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Here we go.
This is an email I got about a week ago:
I listen to the show regularly and I have recently been involved in a car accident that has me wondering about something and I was hoping Sid Busters could help. First let me tell you that I am a resident of Ohio and the accident occurred in Ohio on a Friday night. A few weeks ago I was stopped at a light when a car ran into the back of me. My head went forward and then hit the head rest and it took me a minute to figure out what had happened. When I got out of the car there was a woman walking toward me from her car. We stopped and looked at our bumpers and she asked if I was ok and I did the same. My bumper had a very noticeable license plate impression and some other scratches and hers had a less noticeable scratch near her license plate. She then said to me, "did you see that guy?" I asked, "what guy?" She said, "someone ran into the back of me and took off." I replied, "no, I didn't see that." I then told her that I was going to call the police and find out what we should do. I got in my car and called 911 and explained that there was an accident but everyone seemed to be fine. They asked where we were at and if the cars were drivable. I gave the operator our location and told her that both cars seemed to be drivable. The operator told me that we could exchange information and then file a report within a few days or we could wait until a police officer could arrive. I asked the operator if handling the situation one way or the other made any difference and she replied that it did not. After talking to the other party we were both fine with pulling over and exchanging information.
When the accident occurred I was on my way out of town so when I came back on Sunday I stopped at the police station and filed the report. Then on Monday I contacted her insurance company and had to leave a message. They got back with me on Tuesday and asked me to explain what had happened. I did, including the woman's comment about someone hitting her and the fact that I didn't know anything about that as I did not see any of that happen. The agent told me that their insured had said the same thing and so they were going to have to do an investigation to determine who was responsible. I was confused by this comment and I asked the agent what that meant. She said that if in fact someone did run into the back of their insured causing her to run into the back of me then the person who left the scene would ultimately be responsible and therefore their insured would cover her own repairs and I would have to cover mine. I was completely thrown back by this explanation and I questioned her. I responded saying that either way their insured ran into the back of my vehicle and caused damage and I was not going to pay my deductible and risk my premium going up by placing a claim for an accident I did not cause. The agent said that this is how they handle these situations but nothing had been determined yet as they had to follow through with the investigation.
I'm not upset with the woman who ran into me, this is the entire reason we have insurance...accidents happen and I get that. However, the thought that I would have to cover the damage is just absurd! This just doesn't make any sense to me as I remember from driving school that if you run into the back of someone you are responsible, period. Even at a stop light there is a 'safe distance' that you are supposed to maintain from the person in front of you for this very reason.
So my question: Does the insurance company have a stand here or are they trying to get away with something believing that I may not question what they are telling me? If someone hits the back of you are they always responsible? Maybe each state has a different law for this situation? Any suggestions should the insurance company come back and tell me they believe someone did hit her and I will have to pay for the damage to my car?
By the way, you all do a great job on the show and it helps me get through every morning, thanks for all the laughs!
THIS MYTH IS TRICKY...IT'S BOTH TRUE AND FALSE...DEPENDING ON THE STATE THE ACCIDENT HAPPENS IN, AND THE DETAILS OF THE ACCIDENT.
HERE'S SOME INFO THAT I GOT FROM SOME OF THE COUNTRIES LARGEST INSURANCE COMPANIES.
Presumption of Fault in Rear End Collision
Determining who is at fault in rear end collisions can be tricky. However, most state vehicle laws require drivers to follow at a safe distance and be able to stop for vehicles in front of them. If the driver can't stop, it is generally assumed that he or she is at fault for causing the rear end collision. However, this doesn't mean that the rear-ended driver is always fault-free. Drivers whose brake or signal lights are out or those that don't use signals or make extremely sudden turns or stops (i.e. driving recklessly or negligently) can be found partially to blame.
• When more than one vehicle is involved in a rear end collision: When more than one vehicle is involved, say for instances in a three car rear end crash, where car number 3 rear-ends car number 2, number 2 rear-ends car number 1 then each driver may generally go after the person that hit them as long as they were not also negligent.
TIP: Car accidents can be complicated. Both the circumstances which created the accidents as well as the laws that govern how the resulting damages will be handled. If you ever feel you do not understand the law or how to make a claim for your damages,contact an attorney that will help you.
The "Assured Clear Distance Ahead" Rule
Most of us have heard that the tailing driver is to blame for any rear-end accident. In large part, this is due to the assured clear distance ahead (ACDA) rule, which requires that a driver generally maintain an assured clear distance between his vehicle and anything in front of him.
How does the ACDA rule apply? Let’s say you’re following another motorist on the highway, and you’re both driving at the speed limit, when the driver in front of you stops suddenly. You stand on your brakes, but you still hit the car in front of you. That’s a violation of the ACDA rule. Or, say you’re driving around a corner, there’s a disabled vehicle in the road, and you can’t stop in time before you hit the car. That’s another violation of the ACDA rule. That rule requires you to keep enough distance between your car and other vehicles so that you can avoid hitting them if they stop, or to be travelling at a speed where you can stop if you come upon a stationary object in the road.
Learn More: What is a Safe Following Distance?
When the ACDA Rule May Be Bent
But what if you’re driving along and somebody cuts out in front of you from a side street, without leaving enough room for you to stop? Or what if somebody merges into your lane immediately in front of you without maintaining sufficient speed? These are two situations that can easily cause a rear-end collision in which you, the rear car, will generally not be held liable -- assuming you weren’t speeding or violating some other traffic law.
However, most state vehicle laws require drivers to follow at a safe distance and be able to stop for vehicles in front of them. If the driver can't stop, it is generally assumed that he or she is at fault for causing the rear end collision. However, this doesn't mean that the rear-ended driver is always fault-free. Drivers whose brake or signal lights are out or those that don't use signals or make extremely sudden turns or stops (i.e. driving recklessly or negligently) can be found partially to blame.
YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY SHOULD WORK OUT HOW MUCH DAMAGE EACH PARTY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR
It's partially your fault because you were tailgating. If you weren't, you'd have had time to stop. I don't know where you're at, but in my state, the law says you have to leave a gap between you and the car in front of you, that's equivalent to one car-length per every 10 miles of speed. In the rain, that doubles. So, if you were here, and were driving 50, the law says you'd need to have 10 car lengths between you and the car in front of you. This distance is based on our scientific knowledge of how long it takes to stop a car.
Your insurance companies will work to figure out what percentage of the damage should be "assigned" to each driver. More than likely, your premiums will be increased for a while. It's highly doubtful that you'll need an attorney. You really wouldn't need that unless there were criminal charges pressed, and it sounds as if that's not part of the deal.
Of course you tried to avoid it! Everyone does! That's why they're called accidents! Don't feel bad about it...but DO use this as a learning opportunity, and be more aware while you're on the road.
MYTH: Hi, a lot of people think that you can catch a common cold by being cold. This is not true. Actually, more people get sick in the winter because people are staying inside and pass germs more easily. Please do the research and tell people the truth because it drives me crazy hearing people say to put a jacket on because you will catch a cold!
TIME Magazine (1981) shows how widespread this belief is by stating “the belief that dampness, chilliness and drafts cause colds, through debunked repeatedly in controlled experiments is still widely held—and energetically perpetuated by parents in cautioning children.”
For the TIME article, click http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,953215-2,00.html
WHY DO WE CATCH COLD
The reason why the incidence of colds go up so much during the colder months of the year is because that is when the most people stay in and are forced to be in much closer contact with each other, which eases the transference of contagious viruses such as the ones that cause the cold.
Dr. Gwaltney’s research in the 1970’s supported this theory, since most peak rhinovirus seasons were linked to overcast, wet spring and fall days, which forced children to stay inside and have more contact and possibilities to infect their parents and elders around them.
MYTH: Hey, check out this pin on Pinterest: GOOD TO KNOW!! If a thief forces you to take money from an ATM, do not argue or resist. What you should do is punch your pin in reverse. EX: if your pin is 1234 you punch 4321. The moment you punch in the reverse, the money will come out but will be stuck in the machine and the machine will immediately alert the police without the theif's knowledge. Every ATM has this feature.
Here’s the email: LIFE-SAVING information!!!
GOOD INFORMATION TO KNOW ABOUT.
PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION ON
THE RECENT TRAGEDY OF A YOUNG WOMAN BEING KIDNAPPED AND EVENTUALLY KILLED; AFTER SHE HAD REPEATEDLY GIVEN THE KIDNAPPER A WRONG PIN TO HER ATM CARD. IF SHE KNEW THE METHOD BELOW, SHE COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED. SO I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO LET YOU NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IF YOU SHOULD EVER BE FORCED BY A ROBBER TO WITHDRAW MONEY FROM AN ATM MACHINE, YOU CAN NOTIFY THE POLICE BY ENTERING YOUR PIN # IN REVERSE.
FOR EXAMPLE IF YOUR PIN NUMBER IS 1234 THEN YOU WOULD PUT IN
THE ATM RECOGNIZES THAT YOUR PIN NUMBER IS BACKWARDS FROM THE ATM CARD YOU PLACED IN THE MACHINE. THE MACHINE WILL STILL GIVE YOU THE MONEY YOU REQUESTED, BUT UNKNOWN TO THE ROBBER, THE POLICE WILL BE IMMEDIATELY DISPATCHED TO HELP YOU.
THIS INFORMATION WAS RECENTLY BROADCAST ON FOX TV AND IT STATES THAT IT IS SELDOM USED BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T KNOW IT EXISTS.
PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG.
THIS EMAIL / POST IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE!
But in reality, the idea of a reverse PIN is just that - an idea whose time has not come, even though the technology exists. Here's the question: If the idea of a reverse PIN alert system sounds great, and it's already been invented, what's the holdup?
Reverse PIN Questioned by Government
Federal legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009 raised hope that reverse PIN technology, might be put into use.
The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 mandated that the Federal Trade Commission study "the cost-effectiveness of making available at automated teller machines technology that enables a consumer that is under duress to electronically alert a local law enforcement agency that an incident is taking place ... "
The study, made public in April 2010, suggested that the reverse PIN system could actually have unintended consequences.
"While there may be some potential for decreasing ATM-related crime and injury, there is also the possibility that emergency-PIN systems will have little or no effect, or that they will even increase injury," the FTC's Bureau of Economics reported.
How is that possible?
Reverse PIN Opposed by Banks
The FTC study warned that the reverse PIN system might increase physical danger to the victim because of the difficulties distressed customers may experience in using the system. Banks that cooperated by the FTC study said customers who fumble while trying to type in their reverse PIN face a "real risk" of personal harm.
"There are ... concerns that customers under stress may be unlikely to remember the reverse of their PIN, which may place them in greater danger should the perpetrator figure out what they are attempting to do and escalate the situation," Bank of America told the FTC.
So what is a customer to do in the event of a crime?
Comply, Wells Fargo's senior vice president for ATM and store strategy, said. "If a crime is being committed, we believe the safest course of action is for a customer to comply with the demands of their attacker," he wrote to the FTC.
MYTH: There’s a new legal version of cocaine being sold at porn stores across the country
• ADULT stores are selling a synthetic cocaine called White Bull for $100 a gram. This is twice the price of old-fashioned amphetamines that bikies used to cook - and we were told it's stronger than the real and illegal stuff.
• White Bull is an apparently legal substitute for cocaine, which retails illegally for $350 a gram. ''The feeling is that of cocaine, speed, ecstasy,'' he said. Meaning it keeps you awake, a bit horny and somehow sets a disco beat rocking in your head. It also makes your heart beat faster, and put on a hot glow that suggests one's thermo-regulation system is out of whack.
• Last week we reported that the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction had found that every week a new psychoactive drug was coming on to the market as a ''legal high''.
• Paul Dillon, director of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia, hadn't heard of White Bull either. ''It's probably the latest version in the new range of synthetics and won't be around next week. What you are going to see is this will get a bit of media attention and it will disappear. Something new will come on the shelves next week.''