The Holiday Season starts at the end of this month with Thanksgiving, which means worsening traffic and colder weather that is sure to bring some challenging driving conditions. The following will help you navigate the coming months more safely.

Holiday Safety Tips

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of holiday traffic, with approximately 100,000 extra vehicles entering New York City on a daily basis, so please heed the following:

  • Be patient, courteous and considerate of all motorists to help avoid a road rage incident.
  • Remember that the person driving next to you could park their vehicle in a garage and become your next passenger.
  • Tourists boost the city’s economy. During difficult times we must show them how much we appreciate them by presenting a helpful and positive image.
  • Plan to eat a holiday dinner at the end of your work shift. Eating a large dinner may make you drowsy. Driving while drowsy is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
  • Remember that New York City Traffic Department Agents can issue summonses for “blocking the box.”
  • Historically, more people Drive While Intoxicated (DWI) during the holiday season. Be prepared to use your defensive driving skills.

Holiday Parties

Holiday Parties mean more people will be Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) over the next month or two. Use extra caution during the holiday season.

  • Holiday parties mean that people who have been drinking will often take a taxi or black car, as suggested by public service announcements. Be prepared to be more patient than usual as passengers may be intoxicated. Just remember that they are doing the right thing. By taking your vehicle-for-hire, they are keeping the roads safer for everyone.
  • Passengers are sometimes depressed during the Holiday Season for personal reasons. Spread joy by being extra nice to passengers. You will feel good about it, and it will help them through difficult times.

Winter Driving Tips

Thousands of motorists get stranded on our nation’s roads during the winter months. Some die; others suffer injuries and frostbite; still others endure delays and the inconvenience of waiting for someone up ahead to be towed or pushed out of trouble. Most of these situations could be avoided if people simply followed these suggestions:

  • Stay off the road when traveler’s warnings are issued. When police and weather officials issue winter storm alerts, they mean business and they’re talking to you. Many motorists wind up stranded on highways because they leave home or work after being warned that roads are impassible.
  • If you’re away from home and road conditions suddenly become impassible, stay where you are. As much as you might want to get home, you surely don’t want to get stuck in a snowdrift halfway there. Don’t bet your life (or anyone else’s) on a four-wheel drive vehicle. In a full-scale blizzard, you’re not much better off than someone in a sedan – especially if he’s home and you’re up to your axles in snow.

“Winterize” Your Vehicle

Many motorists find themselves stuck or stranded each winter because of car trouble that could have been avoided by simple preventive maintenance. The following items should be checked before the first snow hits and service stations are jammed:

  • Battery charge and condition
  • Radiator coolant, hoses, thermostat, defroster/heater, wiper blades, washer fluid
  • Spark plugs, engine timing
  • Tire tread
  • Headlights, taillights, turn signals, brakes
  • Use winter-grade oil

Pothole Alert

Changing weather conditions can cause potholes. Always be on the lookout for potholes as the temperature rises following a snowstorm. Potholes can cause severe damage to your vehicle. Hitting a large one can also cause a serious injury to you and/or your passengers.

  • Maintain a slower speed than usual when potholes are visible.
  • If you see a pothole repair crew it probably means there are potholes nearby.
  • If you see a particularly large or dangerous pothole, report the location to the Department of Transportation, and to your base so other drivers can be alerted.
  • Sun glare often accompanies pothole season. When your vision is impaired by sun glare, use extra caution, especially when negotiating a turn in a pedestrian area.


Article by Bertram Merling

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

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