Making smart choices that help avoid accidents is an important part of the job for any professional driver. This month, we are offering advice on how to avoid accidents at airports, repair shops and intersections heavily trafficked by pedestrians.

Airport Accidents

  • Remember that airports are frequented by travelers who may not be familiar with individual terminals. Always anticipate an unsafe move or sudden lane change by a motorist reading airport directory signs.
  • Airports have restricted areas that do not permit vehicular traffic. Familiarize yourself with all cargo and low-flying aircraft areas.
  • When loading or unloading passengers, pull as close to the curb as possible.
  • Always obey an airport employee or Port Authority police officer directing traffic. You may need to detour from your intended terminal for security reasons.
  • Prior to loading or unloading items from your vehicle’s trunk, always scan the area to make sure it is safe.
  • Try to have passengers use the curbside door to enter/exit your vehicle.
  • Never speed through an airport to help a passenger make a flight.

Car Washes and Repair Shop Accidents

  • Beware of slippery surfaces in a car wash or repair shop.
  • Obey all safety signs and area restrictions in a car wash or repair shop.
  • Always wait for an authorized employee to guide you onto a rail or lift.
  • Never stay in your vehicle while it is being lifted for service.
  • Be alert for unsafe actions from employees when removing your vehicle from the rail at a car wash.
  • Use caution and be alert for employees crossing in front of your vehicle in a car wash or repair shop.
  • After a car wash, make sure the floors of your vehicle are dry, so passengers do not slip when entering or exiting your vehicle.
  • Check your vehicle when leaving a repair shop. Oily rags and tools are sometimes left under the hood by mechanics.
  • Use extra caution in the immediate areas surrounding car washes.
  • If you choose to wipe your vehicle down after leaving a car wash, beware of other traffic.

Pedestrian Accidents

  • All vehicles must yield to all pedestrians at all times, at all locations.
  • In New York City, millions of pedestrians cross intersections daily, at all hours of the day.
  • Try to avoid frightening a pedestrian (by honking your horn) or angering them by approaching at an excessive speed. The pedestrian may grow angry, bang on the hood of your vehicle or fall down and make a fraudulent claim.
  • Call the police and make a report if you are involved in a pedestrian-related incident or accident. Do not leave the scene or you can be arrested, even if you know your vehicle did not make contact with the pedestrian.
  • Always anticipate an unsafe act by a pedestrian talking on a phone, chatting with other pedestrians, eating or not paying attention to their surroundings.
  • Use extra caution around senior citizens; their hearing and vision may be impaired.
  • Always anticipate pedestrians crossing between double-parked vehicles.
  • Beware of pedestrians that may jaywalk in front of a bus loading passengers.
  • Use extra caution in the hours just after darkness falls; visibility is diminished.

General Tips for Avoiding Accidents

  • Aggressive driving is a factor in 56% of fatal motor vehicle crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Aggressive driving can also lead to road rage, which can result in accidents or assaults by angry drivers.
  • Always drive defensively. Some drivers lack experience and may not be familiar with the general rules of the road.
  • Drivers under the influence of alcohol, prescription medication or illegal drugs can create extra hazardous conditions.
  • As a professional driver, it is your responsibility to maintain the proper demeanor, drive safely and have a clear understanding of the important role you play in keeping our city safe.
Article by Bertram Merling

Bertram Merling is the Loss Control Coordinator for the Hereford Insurance Company.

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