This month, we address ways to better navigate New Year’s Eve, along with tips that often arise during the Holiday Season. At this time of year, passengers often visit shopping malls, and sometimes need help carrying packages. Snow is also likely. Make sure you stay safe!


New Year’s Eve

  • Check multiple news sources to find out about street closings and detours caused by special New Year’s Eve events that will affect your work shift.
  • Be patient with passengers who may be intoxicated. It is better that they requested a ride from you, rather than sitting behind the wheel of their own car, driving while intoxicated.
  • Always be familiar with area police precincts. Do not take the law into your own hands if an intoxicated passenger threatens you or becomes abusive.
  • Wear your seatbelt and urge your passengers to do the same – it’s the LAW. Large crowds tend to jaywalk on New Year’s Eve, causing sudden stops.
  • Use local streets, as opposed to highways. It is easier to take defensive driving actions, and there will be fewer speeding, intoxicated drivers.
  • Be extra pleasant to your passengers on New Year’s Eve. You will be pleasantly surprised with gratuities reflecting their appreciation. They know it is a difficult and dangerous evening to work.


Safe Lifting Practices

  • Lift close to your body. You will be stronger and more stable if the object is held close to your body, rather than at the end of your reach.
  • Make sure you have a firm hold on the object you are lifting and keep it balanced, close to your body.
  • Avoid slippery surfaces when preparing to lift a heavy object. Wear shoes with rubber soles to help avoid slipping when lifting.
  • Feet shoulder width apart. A solid base of support is important while lifting. Keeping your feet too close together will be unstable, too far apart will hinder movement. Shoulder width apart is just right – and take short steps.
  • Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Practice lifting ahead of time to ensure proper technique. Focus on keeping your spine straight and head up – raise and lower to the ground by bending your knees, not your back.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles. This will engage your entire core and help you maintain a good lifting posture, helping to prevent excessive force on the spine.
  • Lift with your legs. Your legs muscles are larger and much stronger than your lower back muscles. Again, lower to the ground by bending your knees, not your back.
  • Never bend your back to pick something up. It’s just not worth the damage that an improper lifting technique can cause.
  • If you’re straining, get help. If an object is too heavy or oddly shaped, ASK FOR HELP. Doormen and hotel bellhops can often be helpful.
  • Wear a “back-support” belt. This will add support to your core and help you maintain a better lifting posture.
  • Don’t twist or bend while holding the object. Face in the direction you are walking. If you need to turn stop, turn in small steps, and then continue walking.


Parking Lot & Shopping Mall Accidents

  • Always anticipate unsafe moves by motorists exiting, entering or driving in a parking lot or shopping mall.
  • Anticipate vehicles traveling in the wrong direction.
  • Yield to vehicles backing into a parking space.
  • Remember: Vehicles in parking lots or shopping malls may have their rearview window vision obstructed by packages.
  • Anticipate that vehicles will make unsafe moves to obtain a parking space.
  • Beware of children, strollers and bicycles moving unsafely.
  • Always use caution when you or your passengers open a car door in a parking space.
  • Always scan the area prior to loading your trunk. Avoid bending over unsafely as a motorist backing up may not see you.
  • Always use caution when passing a double-parked vehicle. Even if the occupant of the vehicle waves you on, you will be held accountable for your actions.
  • Use extra caution when picking up at a remote parking lot or mall. Criminals often call from an isolated area. Don’t become a victim of a robbery or car-jacking.


If You Get Stuck in the Snow or a Storm

If you find yourself stranded, remember the following:

  • Do not panic. Think before taking any actions.
  • Stay with your vehicle unless there is a house, building or store in sight.
  • Use your emergency kit. Wear additional layers of clothing, as needed, but try to avoid perspiring excessively. Your body may need the water, depending how long you are stranded, and where you are stranded. Wet clothing can also make you colder.
  • Tie a red cloth to your vehicle’s antenna.
  • Make sure your exhaust pipe is not blocked with snow. Check periodically to make sure it stays clear.
  • Run the engine for only 15 minutes at a time to conserve fuel. Keep a downwind window cracked slightly to provide ventilation.

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.

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