We are all too aware of the fact that the pandemic has (at least temporarily) changed practically everything about NYC, including traffic flow – but the following tips are still useful for keeping drivers safe as summer approaches.

July 4th Holiday

  • Please use extra caution during holidays like the 4th of July, when there is always a spike in the number of motorists under the influence of alcohol and/or other illegal substances, often going to and coming from parties.
  • If you attend a holiday event, make sure to get your rest before and after it, and definitely before you take to the road. Driving while drowsy puts you at the same risk as driving while intoxicated.

Extreme Heat Alert

  • Drink plenty of water (at least 2 liters a day) during a heat wave.
  • Check your vehicle fluids and belts prior to your shift.
  • Keep your vehicle cool for passengers.
  • Remember: Not all drivers have air conditioning and the extreme heat can easily cause road rage.
  • Beware of pedestrians that may be light-headed or dehydrated, who may act in an unsafe manner.
  • Watch out for children playing in the street at open fire hydrants.
  • Do not lose your temper if your vehicle is sprayed with water from an open fire hydrant.
  • Be patient if Con Edison workers disrupt traffic. They are providing an essential and often life-saving service to all of us during a heat wave.

Gas Station Accidents

  • Always enter and exit a gas station cautiously. Motorists often use gas stations to avoid a red lights, recklessly and illegally attempting to pass through them.
  • Beware of motorists that may cut in front of you to get to a gas pump.
  • If entering a gas station at night in a rural or sparsely populated area, scan the area before filling up and always have the exact amount of cash to pay at self-service gas stations. Do not approach a cashier with a wad of cash in your hand. There may be a thief or armed robber watching, and then waiting outside the station to rob you.
  • Be on the lookout for oil or gas patches that can make the road slippery.
  • Always check your tires and fluids at a gas station. Preventive maintenance can prevent your vehicle from breaking down in an area that has no shoulder, leaving you in a dangerous position.
  • Never top off your gas tank, allowing excess gas to spill down the side of your vehicle.

One Final Tip: Never leave your keys in your car in an area where children (especially teenagers) can get to them. There have been instances where teens have taken FHVs for joy rides, resulting in accidents and serious injuries.

Article by Bertram Merling

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

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