We know it seems a little early to bring up the end of summer, but early next month drivers in NYC will face the challenges presented by the Labor Day weekend, as well as kids returning to school. We also included some additional tips for your safety.

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day is Monday, September 2, and the weekend leading up to it always has its challenges if you are driving in NYC

  • During Labor Day Weekend, the number of fatal and catastrophic accidents increases due to more people Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Use caution and be prepared to use your best defensive driving skills if you observe an apparent DWI driver.
  • Please call 911 to report any apparent DWI drivers. You could be saving lives.
  • Do not confront any DWI drivers.
  • Traffic volume increases after Labor Day so be patient and be prepared to plan alternate routes to help your passengers arrive safely to their destinations in the timeliest manner.
  • Be patient if you are delayed in police DWI checkpoints. You could have been the next victim of the drunk driver being removed from the road.
  • If you are transporting an obviously intoxicated and potentially abusive passenger, please try to be patient. At least they had the sense not to drive.

Back-to-School Time Again

On September 5, NYC schools will re-open and children will return to class.

  • Please keep your eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel and pay extra attention, particularly in school zones and during the first few weeks of September.
  • Watch out for children standing or walking along side of the road and crossing the streets.
  • Always STOP if you are approaching a school bus with a stop sign and/or flashing red lights, whether you are approaching from the front or behind. IT IS THE LAW!
  • Make a mental note of all the schools, playgrounds and other locations frequented by children that you pass during your usual work shift. Be extra cautious.
  • Watch out for children who are not paying attention to what’s going on around them, and instead are focused on their hand-held devices.

Avoid Alcohol, Drugs and Nicotine

  • Never consume alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs that can make you sleepy while operating a vehicle.
  • Always carry a doctor’s note if you require insulin for diabetes. Familiarize yourself with TLC prescription drug policies.
  • Never consume beer (even on a hot day) with lunch, if you are driving. Even one beer can impair your judgment and could put your blood alcohol level over the legal limit.
  • Take part in community efforts to strengthen laws against DWI repeat offenders, and always spread the message that help is available for people with addictions in need of counseling.
  • Do not self-medicate as a means of treating fatigue or anxiety – both of which are common among drivers operating black cars, medallion taxis or other vehicles for hire. Consult a physician for help instead.
  • Nicotine is considered a drug by the National Safety Council. Studies have shown that nicotine use by drivers may cause anxiety, mood changes and the desire to speed up. Motorists craving nicotine may become irritable or impatient, and more likely to be involved in a road rage incident than a non-smoker.

Pedicabs

  • Always anticipate unsafe maneuvers by a pedicab responding to a potential passenger.
  • The number of pedicabs can be reduced by giving personalized service to your passengers. Talk to your passenger, if they want to engage in conversation. DO NOT talk on the phone; it is illegal anyway. Point out the sights of NYC to tourists. Show your passengers that you can be as helpful, courteous and charming as popular pedicab operators so they choose to ride in your vehicle, rather than a pedicab. An FHV is safer, more comfortable, and cheaper than a pedicab.
  • Use special caution and be prepared to use defensive driving skills in areas frequented by pedicabs, such as Times Square, Central Park South and Central Park.
  • Remember: You must treat pedicabs as you would pedestrians and bicycles, yielding to them at all times, regardless of the circumstances.
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Article by Bertram Merling

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

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