The month of May brings warmer weather, more outdoor events and often heavy rain continues as Spring comes into bloom. As a driver in New York City, please take note of the following:

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is Monday, May 27 this year, and the weekend preceding it often presents challenges to drivers.

  • On Memorial Day Weekend, police historically set up DWI checkpoints across the Tristate Area. Please be patient if you are delayed by one – police may be removing dangerous drunk drivers from the road.
  • With the onset of warmer weather and a holiday weekend, use extra caution in areas where children may be playing – including parks, playgrounds, fire hydrants, etc.
  • Warmer weather can sometimes trigger “road rage.” Keep your vehicle cool so you do not react in a negative way to other drivers who may also be feeling the heat.

Parade & Street Fair Season

Parade and street fair season ramps up in May. Always follow the news and make note of parade routes and street closings on days you are working.

  • Predetermine alternate routes that will enable you to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
  • Always explain to your passengers why you are choosing an alternate route.
  • If the stress of working on parade days is too great, consider working when there are no parades or street fairs.
  • Always keep your temper in check so that you do not succumb to road rage when stuck in heavy traffic.
  • Parades and street fairs bring many tourists to New York. Be courteous to out of state drivers and assist them whenever possible. After they park their vehicles, they may be your next passengers.
  • Remember: Parades and street fairs mean extra pedestrians. ALL vehicles must yield to ALL pedestrians at ALL times, regardless of the circumstances.

Slippery Conditions

April is known for heavy rain, but the wet weather often continues through May. Please use extra caution when driving in the rain.

  • Keep a safe distance between you and other cars when it is raining.
  • Go easy on the gas and the brakes. It’s easy to lose traction (or hydroplane) during a torrential downpour.
  • All turns and moves should be slow and deliberate.
  • Be extra cautious on bridges and exit ramps.
  • Do not stomp on the brakes if your vehicle starts to hydroplane. Take your foot off the gas and allow the car to slow by itself and regain traction.

Side Space

It is important to maintain a safe amount of space on both sides of your vehicle, so you have room to maneuver, safely turn or change lanes. Always try to avoid driving next to other vehicles on multi-lane roads.

  • If you are stuck in heavy traffic with cars on all sides of you, be cautious of drivers who crowd your lane or attempt dangerous lane changes. Move ahead or drop behind them.
  • Keep as much space as you can between yourself and oncoming vehicles. On a two-lane road, do not crowd the center line. Always try to drive in the center of your lane.
  • Be courteous and make room for vehicles entering on a multi-lane roadway. If there is not a vehicle in the lane next to you, move over a lane.
  • Keep extra space between your vehicle and parked vehicles. Someone could unexpectedly step out of a parked vehicle, walk into the street between two vehicles or a parked vehicle could pull out without signaling.
  • Give extra space to pedestrians, bicycles and children. They may move into your path without warning.
  • Always try to address hazards one at a time. If you are overtaking a bicycle and an oncoming vehicle is approaching, slow down and let the vehicle pass to give the bicycle extra room.
Article by Bertram Merling

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

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