Spring’s warmer weather brings rainy days and a flood of people to city streets. Drivers should be extra careful in inclement weather and beware of the often-unpredictable and dangerous actions of pedestrians.

April Showers Bring Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning occurs when water gets between your tires and the road.

  • If your car feels as if it’s gliding and you are losing control, get a good grip on your steering wheel and take your foot off the gas pedal. Do not step on the brake pedal, let the car slow down by itself. This will prevent skidding and help you regain control.
  • Always control and adjust your speed according to road and weather conditions. The distance and amount of time you need to safely stop your vehicle on a wet and slippery surface increases dramatically.
  • New York state law requires headlights in all inclement weather.

Pedestrian Accidents

In New York City, millions of pedestrians are crossing intersections 24 hours a day. All vehicles must yield to all pedestrians at all times at all locations.

  • Always try to avoid blowing your horn and frightening pedestrians or angering someone by racing toward them unnecessarily. Such actions can lead to a pedestrian banging on the hood of your vehicle or falling down and making a fraudulent claim.
  • Always call the police and make a report if you are involved in an incident or an accident with a pedestrian. Do not leave the scene or you can be arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, even if you know your vehicle did not make contact with the pedestrian.
  • Always anticipate unsafe acts by pedestrians talking on a cell phone, talking to another pedestrian, eating, listening to music on headphones or just not paying attention to their surroundings while they cross an intersection.
  • Always use extra caution with senior citizens – their hearing and vision may be impaired.
  • Always anticipate pedestrians crossing in between double-parked vehicles.
  • Always anticipate that a pedestrian may jaywalk in front of a bus in the process of loading passengers.
  • Use EXTRA caution in the hours just after dark, when visibility is diminished.

Pedicabs

As the weather warms, use special caution and be prepared to use your defensive driving skills in areas frequented by pedicabs, like Times Square, Central Park South and Central Park.

  • Always anticipate a pedicab will make an unsafe maneuver to respond to a potential passenger.
  • Give your customers personalized service and you will help reduce the number of pedicabs crowding city streets. Be kind and courteous to your passengers, be patient, offer helpful information when they ask you questions, point out the sights of New York to tourist passengers. Show them you can be as helpful and charming as the popular pedicab operators, so they will hire a cab or FHV the next time they need transportation. Your vehicle is safer, more comfortable and generally cheaper than a pedicab.
  • Remember: You must treat pedicabs the same way you treat pedestrians and bicycles. You must yield at all times to pedicabs, regardless of the circumstances.

Tips for Senior Drivers
By Dr. Todd Mitchell

  • Stop smoking, exercise and nourish yourself with proper nutrition.
  • Involve family members and friends in your health care.
  • Seek assistance from a doctor for preventive maintenance.
  • Read to stimulate your brain.
  • Sleep to rejuvenate your body.
  • Regularly practice safe driving skills.
  • Understand any medical conditions you may have and the side effects of any medications you take.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – you will feel better and live longer.
  • Ensure good vision and hearing through regular eye and ear exams.
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Article by Bertram Merling

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

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