Although the calendar says that summer officially ends September 21, it really ends for most people much earlier in the month when kids go back to school. For that reason, we are going to review “back to school” tips, red light accidents and protocols on what to do in the event of an accident.


Back to School

  • Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel.
  • Watch out for children standing or walking along the side of the road and crossing streets.
  • Always remember to STOP if you are approaching a school bus with a stop sign or flashing red lights, either from the front or rear. It is the LAW.
  • Make a mental note of all the schools, playgrounds and other locations frequented by children that you may be passing during your usual work shift.
  • Watch out for children walking and looking at their hand-held devices.


Red Light Accidents

  • Drivers approaching an intersection should use their peripheral vision and look in all directions, regardless of the color of the traffic signal.
  • Use extreme caution on roads that may appear to have light traffic (a frequent target for red light violations).
  • Use extreme caution during the hours that drunk driving is most common (8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.), and during holidays.
  • Decreasing your speed when approaching a green or amber traffic signal will allow you to take defensive and evasive actions should a vehicle approaching from another direction run the red light.
  • Be on the lookout for vehicles traveling at high speeds approaching intersections.
  • Always anticipate For-Hire Vehicles may run a red light to pick up a fare.
  • If you are anticipating a turn at an intersection, try to be sure you can complete the turn, prior to the traffic signal turning red. Do not proceed to make an unsafe turn when there are pedestrians crossing. In New York City, pedestrians cross with the same traffic signal as turning motorists in most instances.


In the Event of an Accident, Please Obtain the Following:

  • All involved drivers’ and passengers’ names, addresses, license numbers and phone numbers.
  • Owner name, address and phone number (if different from the driver).
  • Insurance company name or 3-digit code, policy number and expiration date.
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses.
  • Obtain the phone number and precinct number of all responding police officers, as well as the accident report number.
  • Obtain the name, address and phone number of any medical facility that anyone involved in the accident is taken to from the scene by ambulance.
  • Obtain the name, address and phone number of any tow trucks responding to and removing vehicles from the scene.
  • Take pictures and videos of all people (drivers/passengers) and of all the vehicles involved. Make sure you get the point of impact and all sides of all vehicles involved from all angles. Take photos of any skid marks, traffic signals and other any related factors that may have caused the accident. Take photos of the scene from up close and from a distance. Photograph nearby buildings and stores as witnesses may have seen the accident from inside and were unable to come forward at the scene.
  • Under no circumstances should you attempt to settle the accident at the scene by offering to or accepting cash from any involved driver or passenger.
  • Special attention to all drivers working for Transportation Network Companies: Please obtain your passenger’s contact information prior to them leaving the scene so we can contact them on your behalf, if necessary.


Bertram Merling is the Loss Control Coordinator for Hereford Insurance Company. He welcomes your questions and comments, and can be reached at 718.361.9191 ext. 7235, or via email at

Article by Bertram Merling

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

See All Articles