How to Choose a Motorcycle Helmet

May 19th, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. Our topic for today is Tips for Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet. Motorcycle helmets save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website:

  • Motorcycle helmet use increased from 48% in 2005 to 67% in 2009.
  • Motorcycle helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives in 2008.
  • Motorcycle helmets do not interfere with the rider’s vision or hearing.

Video from the Motorcycle Safety page of NHTSA

Helmets come in several types: Full-face helmets, three-quarter helmets, and half-shell helmets are the most widely known Full-face helmets offer the most protection, guarding your head and your face. The three-quarter helmet protects your head, but, not your face, and, the half-shell helmet, also known as a skull cap, covers only the top of your head.

Remember that where motorcycle helmets are concerned, “protection” is not just protection when in a motorcycle accident; helmet protection includes protection from flying debris, protection from the rain and wind, and protection for your neck in order to avoid neck strain, headaches, backaches, and more permanent neck injuries caused by wind pressure on the face and helmet.

When you purchase a motorcycle helmet, you want to choose a helmet that will protect you (for the type of riding you do) and that will meet state requirements. Key elements to consider are:

  • Safety Features: What is included in the model you like AND what is required by your state?
  • Comfort: Does the helmet fit snugly enough to protect you, yet provide ventilation? Does it feel light and wearable for the type of riding you do, or will your neck, shoulders, and back fatigue quickly?
  • Aerodynamics: Will the helmet’s style allow air to pass around the helmet and your head, or push straight-on causing strain on your neck?
  • Visibility: Do you wear eyeglasses? Motorcycle helmets should fit snugly on your head. Make sure the model you choose can accommodate eyeglasses.  If not an eyeglass wearer, you’ll want to protect your eyes from flying debris. A helmet with a visor will protect your eyes from flying debris (but not your face in the case of an accident). Do you wear sunglasses or purchase a motorcycle helmet with a tinted visor?

So, there are lots of things to think about when purchasing a motorcycle helmet. Check with your state’s motorcycle laws (PDF by NHTSA) regarding helmet use. Read up on How to Identify Unsafe Helmets (PDF by NHTSA). Remember to:

  • ALWAYS try the helmet on before purchasing
  • Never buy a used or damaged motorcycle helmet


If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another person’s actions or negligence, call personal injury attorney Sherrill P. Cline at 978-394-4659 for a free introductory conversation and guidance about how to proceed with your case. Sherrill gets great results for clients who are injured in similar types of accidents. Read the Reviews of Sherrill P. Cline.

Hudson MA Street Sweeper Accident

May 12th, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

Monday, May 5, 2014 friends reported on Facebook (Me on Facebook) hearing helicopters hovering overhead in downtown Hudson, MA.  Turns out they were reporting on/filming the scene of a motor vehicle accident which had occurred earlier at around 7:15 a.m.

Hudson MA accident

Image of Boston Globe report on the Hudson, MA street sweeper accident

How the street sweeper crashed into a house

According to reports in the MetroWest Daily News and the Boston Globe, the street sweeper was traveling up a steep hill (Tower Street) when it no longer had power to continue upwards. The brakes did not stop it from rolling backwards. As it was rolling backwards, the operator made the decision to steer to the side of the road to avoid hitting other vehicles and people walking in the busy intersection toward which the sweeper was headed.


Busy intersection of Tower and Main streets in Hudson, MA

In the course of moving to the side of the road, another vehicle, a parked truck was hit. The street sweeper came to a stop when it ran into the front porch of a house on Tower Street.

A family of 4 was up and preparing for a school day. Luckily, NO ONE WAS HURT. Not the operator of the street sweeper, driver of the parked truck, nor occupants of the home.

It is quite fortunate that the street sweeper operator had the quick wits to avoid going into the busy intersection.  Had someone been injured, it most likely would have been through no fault of their own. Had they sustained serious injuries and missed work, they quite possibly could need the help of an attorney to recover some of their costs.  This is an example of the type of case a personal injury attorney handles.

A personal injury attorney would want to know whether the operator knew or should have known that the hill was too steep for this piece of equipment.  Had he ever driven this vehicle up such a steep hill?  Another question would be about the maintenance history of the vehicle.  Why couldn’t the vehicle continue?  Why didn’t the brakes work?  When was the last inspection of this vehicle?  What was the operator’s experience with this type of equipment?


Sherrill P. Cline is a Massachusetts personal injury attorney with an office in neighboring Marlborough, MA. Sherrill gets great results for clients who are injured in similar types of vehicular accidents. (Reviews of Sherrill P. Cline).  If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another, call the Law Office of Sherrill P. Cline at 978-394-4659 for a free introductory conversation.

AAA Annual Contest: Voting is Open

April 30th, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

Each year, AAA Southern New England runs a Traffic Safety Message Contest.

For more than 50 years, AAA has reached out to students of all grade levels to better educate young people about safety in and around traffic. This annual contest gives students the opportunity to demonstrate proper skills and behavior in regard to pedestrian, bike and school bus safety, seat belt and child restraint use, and safe driving practices.
AAA Southern New England Website (

aaa-2014 traffic-safety-awareness-contest


Years ago, contest submissions were in poster format. The contest has evolved with the times, and the 2014 submissions include video and audio as well. The traffic safety awareness contest is for elementary through high school students in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Submissions were due 4-2-2014 and voting is now open to the public.

This year’s Massachusetts’ contestants represent over 20 different Massachusetts cities and towns, including some of our Central Mass & MetroWest neighbors from Auburn, Blackstone, Foxboro, Hudson, Natick, and Sudbury.

Traffic and automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages two to 18 years.
AAA Southern New England Website (


Let’s provide some positive reinforcement for these students who are educating their peers and reminding their parents of safe driving habits. Pop over to the AAA Traffic Safety Contest Voting page and vote for your favorites today!


The Law Office of Sherrill P. Cline is available to discuss your options when you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another. Call us at 978-394-4659 today for a free introductory conversation.

Both hands on the steering wheel

April 11th, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and, at the start of the month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)  announced the first-ever, national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to combat distracted driving.

Television, radio and digital ad campaigns with the message “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”  will run nationally, April 7 – 15. Running concurrently is a nationwide focused enforcement of distracted-driving laws (specifically, cell phone use) in all states that have distracted-driving laws.

“This $8.5 million national advertising campaign supports the first-ever national distracted driving high-visibility enforcement (HVE) crackdown, which will run from April 10 to April 15, 2014. Thousands of law enforcement personnel nationwide will use traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text and drive. The national campaign builds on the success of two federally funded distracted driving state demonstration programs that took place in California and Delaware, Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other.”
From the U.S. DOT news release: U.S. DOT Launches First-Ever National Distracted Driving Enforcement and Advertising Campaign

While this advertising campaign focuses on hand-held cell phone use, distracted driving also includes activities like putting on lipstick and mascara, drying your hair in the heater vents, shaving, flossing your teeth, drinking coffee or pop, reading a map that rests on the steering wheel, eating a breakfast sandwich or bagel, reaching for a dropped cigarette, and even searching through your CD collection for the perfect music.

New Recommendations for Hands on the Wheel…

There are many ways for us to get our minds off the task at hand. The best thing for us to remember is that we are driving a machine. A machine with deadly force, and each time we are behind the wheel, we have the responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe.


  • Buckle up your seat belt
  • Drive with both hands on the wheel (“10 o’clock & 2 o’clock” are out – watch the video)
  • Avoid temptation by turning off your electronic devices
  • Focus on getting to your destination
  • Drive defensively
  • See the Blueprint for ending distracted driving at

Keeping both hands on the wheel and driving defensively are essential for keeping yourself and others safe on the road. Unfortunately, not everyone will drive as carefully as you. If you have been injured in an auto accident due to another driver’s careless or dangerous driving practices in the Boston, MA area, consult with a lawyer right away. Call (978) 394-4659 to schedule a consultation with the Law Office of Sherrill P. Cline in Marlborough, Massachusetts to discuss your legal options.

What is Personal Injury Law?

March 28th, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

Personal injury is a broad field of legal practice.  The Massachusetts DMV website says…

“If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, and you can prove it was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, payment of or reimbursement for medical expenses or expected medical expenses, and lost wages.

But no one’s going to give it to you. You and your lawyer will very likely need to fight it out in court with the guilty party’s lawyer and insurance company to determine the size of your actual settlement. It’s called personal injury or tort law …”

In this brief video from eHow, Robert Todd takes a closer look at the principles behind personal injury law, the responsibilities of involved parties, and the damages such as medical expenses, loss of enjoyment in life, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other non-economic losses that might be paid in a personal injury case.

Some personal injury lawyers can handle a variety of different cases while others have one or two specialties in which they practice. Regardless of their specialty, a personal injury attorney can help you both in and out of the courtroom. It is important to connect with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident – even if you feel that your injuries are minor. Talk with an experienced attorney while the details of the vehicular accident are most fresh in your brain. The attorney can help you understand the strength of your case, refer you to another attorney who specializes in your type of personal injury, or simply set your expectations regarding what to expect next from the insurance companies.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident in Massachusetts? Are you looking for a personal injury attorney to represent you in your pursuit to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries? If so, call the Law Office of Sherrill P. Cline at (978) 394-4659 to arrange a free initial consultation today! We have years of experience and get results for our clients. Read the reviews of Sherrill P. Cline.

The Importance of Defensive Driving

March 20th, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

Defensive driving is a series of techniques like following the rules of the road, staying aware, and remaining calm while driving that can decrease the number of auto accidents on the road. Here are just a few reasons that defensive driving is so important:

Keep yourself safe. Defensive driving helps you keep yourself safe. Drive the speed limit, use your turn signals, and take time to pay attention to the other drivers. These driving practices will decrease the likelihood of causing or being part of a collision, saving you from the pain of an auto accident. Your safety is the number-one reason you should always drive defensively.

drive defenively on the Mass Pike into BostonAvoid dangerous drivers. Especially on highways, many other drivers engage in unsafe driving practices like speeding, changing lanes unsafely, or tailgating. These driving choices are dangerous and likely to cause an accident. When you take the time to drive defensively, you do not respond to aggressive drivers and can avoid accidents that the other drivers cause.

Navigate unfamiliar routes and bad weather. Driving a new route, especially at night, can be a recipe for disaster if you are not careful. Streets and highways can turn or end without warning, and other cars may assume that you have experience driving in the area. Taking your time and practicing defensive habits can help you stay safe in these situations. In bad weather, even the most familiar routes can become difficult to navigate. Many drivers neglect to take proper precautions like slowing down or allowing more space between other drivers, which increases the likelihood of accidents. Defensive driving practices can protect you in these situations.

Save money on insurance. Every accident you are in could raise your insurance premium, but taking a defensive driving course and driving safely could actually lower your rates, saving you a lot of money. See also, Defensive driving for teens – audio, video, links.

Related reading…


Defensive driving is key to keeping yourself and others safe on the road, but not everyone is as careful. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident because of another’s careless or dangerous driving practices in the Boston, MA area, consult with a lawyer right away. Call (978) 394-4659 to schedule a consultation with the Law Office of Sherrill P. Cline in Marlborough, Massachusetts to discuss your legal options.

Harwich Fatal Car Accident

March 3rd, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

Sadly, an 18-year old Massachusetts driver died in a car accident last weekend, and if preliminary reports are correct, his death was totally preventable. Massachusetts State police and Harwich police believe that he was drag racing prior to the crash.

Photo of Harwich single-vehicle car crash from

The operator of the vehicle with which he is believed to be racing, another 18-year old from Hyannis, Massachusetts “has been charged with reckless operation of a motor vehicle, speeding and racing a motor vehicle.

Police say that speed caused the young driver to lose control and end up in the woods, where he crashed into a tree. Police continue to look for the driver of a third car who is believed to have witnessed the car accident.

As an experienced personal injury attorney who works for victims of car accidents caused by the negligence of others, it is particularly disturbing that, if preliminary reports are true, his death could have been avoided had he made other choices that night.   Although this is an extreme example, the fact is that the choices we make every day while driving affect our own safety and the safety of those around us.  The law requires that each of us “exercise due care”  while operating a car, both for our own safety and for the safety of others.   Please be careful when driving.


If you or a loved one need help after being injured in a car accident caused by another, please  call us at 978-394-4659. We are a Massachusetts-based personal injury law firm that serves clients throughout Massachusetts.  We handle all types of personal injuries, with a focus on auto accidents. Read the reviews of The Law Office of Sherrill P. Cline to learn how we get results for our clients.

How to Drive near Snowplows in Massachusetts

February 24th, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

Driving in snowy conditions is a common occurrence in Massachusetts during the Winter months. Encountering snowplowing equipment while on the way to our jobs and homes along the 495 corridor is bound to happen. Here’s some information and safe driving tips from the Mass DOT for driving near snowplows on Massachusetts’ snowy roads.

Who determines when the snowplows are called out?

Under Mass DOT policy, the local Highway field personnel determine when and how to respond to a storm. The Highway Foreman stationed at the nearest maintenance yard is typically responsible for calling out the crews.


Am I allowed to pass a snowplow?
There are no Massachusetts  laws that prohibit a driver from passing a snowplow. However, passing a snowplow can be extremely dangerous as the pavement conditions are different in front of, beside, and behind the truck.  Some snowplows are equipped with wing plow blades that can extend anywhere between 2 and 10 feet beyond the width of the truck. This wing plow blade is often not seen because of the snow cloud being kicked up by the snowplow. These wing plows can often weigh as much as a compact car.

Things to keep in mind…







  • Plows will typically travel under 35 miles per hour and there is always a temptation to pass them. For your safety, it is recommended that you stay a safe distance behind the snowplows.
  • Snow plows have blind spots. Drivers cannot see you unless you are 4 car lengths (70 ft.) behind.
  • Remember that the road in front of the plow is usually in much worse condition than the roadway behind the plow. If you feel you must pass a snow plow, slow down and drive according to the conditions.  Allow plenty of room when passing. Do not cut back into the lane ahead of the plow too quickly since the blade extends several feet ahead of the truck.
  • Some snowplows are equipped with a “wing plow,” a 10-12 foot extension off the side of the truck. Be aware that the hazard exists.
  • During plowing operations, visibility can be reduced by blowing snow and plow operators may need time to stop or move over to avoid stranded vehicles. Remember that plows are heavy vehicles and will take longer to stop. Travel a safe distance away from a plow.
  • When you see an approaching snow plow on an undivided roadway, move as far away from the center line as you safely can since blowing snow may obscure the actual width of the snowplow’s blade.
  • Turn on your lights- to see and be seen.
  • Brush the snow off your headlights and taillights frequently.
  • Winter driving requires motorists to be careful and alert, but the most important tip for winter driving is: SLOW DOWN






If you or a loved one has experienced an car accident while driving in Massachusetts, and you believe the wreck was caused by another driver, please contact me, Sherrill P. Cline at 978-394-4659. The Law Offices of Sherrill P. Cline has many years of experience representing victims of auto accidents caused by another driver’s negligence. Read the reviews of Sherill P. Cline, and call me today.



Massachusetts Winters and Safe Driving

February 19th, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

Winter in Massachusetts can be beautiful with a layer of pristine white snow covering the ground, and, when the sun is out, the glisten of the snow has a gorgeous sparkle! But, when it comes to driving in Massachusetts in the snowy winter weather, well, it takes some skills. Boston, Massachusetts snow covered street

Here’s 9 tips from Massachusetts DOT website for safe winter driving in Massachusetts.

  1. Clean the entire vehicle before driving. Even though you can see through the holes you clear, the uncleared snow on your vehicle, especially, on the roof and trunk become a hazard to drivers behind you.
  2. Fasten your seat belt!
  3. Drive according to the conditions. Slow down and do not drive at the posted speed limit if the conditions warrant a slower pace. Posted speed limits are for dry roads.
  4. Do not use “cruise control” in wintery conditions. Tapping the brakes to exit cruise control while on black ice or a slippery roadway will have scary consequences that can put you in more danger.
  5. Know the current road conditions. Call 511 from your cell phone, the following from a cell phone or landline phone:
    • Metro Boston: 617-986-5511
    • Central Mass: 508-499-5511
    • Western Mass: 413-754-5511
  6. Use brakes carefully. Brake earlier than usual knowing that it will take longer to stop.
  7. Bridge decks and exit/on ramps freeze quickly: Be on the lookout for black ice and refresh your memory on How to Drive in Black Ice Conditions
  8. Look further ahead in traffic than you normally do. Watch for clues about the roadway conditions ahead from observing the behavior of the vehicles in front of you.
  9. Measure extra room when changing lanes. Remember trucks and plows take longer to stop.

These are the top 9 tips for diving in wintery conditions in Massachusetts. Read more tips on the Mass DOT website. Check them out at: Safe Winter Driving Tips.

If you or a loved one has experienced an auto accident while driving the Massachusetts roads, and you believe the crash was caused by another driver who wasn’t heeding the advise above, please contact me, Sherrill P. Cline at 978-394-4659. The Law Offices of Sherrill P. Cline has many years of experience representing victims of auto accidents caused by another driver’s negligence. Read the reviews of Sherill P. Cline, and call me today.

Are you a Responsible Driver?

January 31st, 2014 by Sherrill P. Cline

Sharing the Massachusetts’ roads with other motorists means that you have a responsibility to drive in a reasonably safe manner. Many auto accidents can be avoided by paying attention to the road and the drivers around you.
Responsible driver

Double check your driving habits with the links below.

To avoid a potential car collision and its detrimental aftermath, AOL Autos offers 8 valuable defensive driving tips in its article “How to Drive Defensively“.

“Someone got cut off. They bleeped their horn. You bleeped back. They gesticulated, you gesticulated. And now you’re stuck with a lunatic on your back, tailgating and swerving, keeping up with you with a crazy grimace on his face …” (How to Drive Defensively)

Forbes reports that there are better times to drive than others. For example, did you know that Saturday is the most dangerous day to be driving and that August is the most dangerous month for driving? And the most dangerous times to be driving are between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm (IIHS)?  Learn more by reading this article on Forbes,

But since fatal crashes happen in “ones and twos” scattered across the country, the general public doesn’t realize their collective toll–about 110 people per day, nationwide.

“If a hundred-seat airplane were crashing every day in the U.S., the air transportation system would be shut down with demands for the government to do something,” Rader says. “But that doesn’t happen with auto crashes.” (Most Dangerous Times To Drive)

Distracted Driving

We’ve talked about distracted driving before. Please remember that hands-free cell phone conversations are as dangerous as handheld cell phone conversations, and review the previous posts for statistics and laws and other general information regarding the dangers of distracted driving.

You as the “Responsible Driver” Role Model

Being a responsible driver will rub off on your kids. After all, it is the model that you set that will be mimicked. If you are teaching your teenager to drive, State Farm suggests these 5 Tips for exhibiting responsible driving habits. (Included on that page is a downloadable handbook with more information and driving tips.)


If you’ve experienced an auto accident in Massachusetts that resulted in a personal injury, you may be eligible for compensation. To discuss your injury with an auto accident lawyer in the Worcester and Marlborough area, contact the Massachusetts-based Law Office of Sherrill P. Cline at (978) 394-4659.