Summer is fast approaching, which means there will be more pedestrians and bicycles on the street… so be extra vigilant. It’s also the time of year to watch out for potholes and make sure that your seasonal preventative vehicle maintenance is done before the weather gets too hot.

Memorial Day Weekend is May 31

  • Memorial Day Weekend means police will be setting up DWI checkpoints across the tri-state area. Be patient if you are delayed by one. The police may be removing a drunk driver from the road, who could have endangered you and/or your passengers.
  • Warmer weather and a holiday weekend mean you should use extra caution where children may be playing (parks, playgrounds, fire hydrants, etc.).
  • Warmer weather can trigger road rage incidents. Keep your vehicle cool so you do not fall victim to road rage. Other drivers are feeling the heat, too.

Bicycle Accidents

  • Always be prepared to take defensive, evasive actions if you observe a bicycle. There are more bicycles on the street than ever before, which means more accidents – so be extra careful.
  • Always respect bicycle lanes and a bicyclist’s right to use city streets.
  • Bicyclists are supposed to obey the same traffic laws as motorists, but they often attempt dangerous maneuvers. They may run red lights or stop signs, travel the wrong way on one-way streets, make sudden, unsafe turns, or pass vehicles on the right unsafely, among other unsafe and illegal acts.
  • Always check your side-view mirrors prior to unloading or loading a passenger to make sure a bicyclist isn’t attempting to pass in a narrow area.
  • Black cars, medallion taxis, and FHVs may be targeted for fraudulent claims by bicyclists. Always call the police and make a report if you are involved in an incident or accident with a bicyclist. Do not leave the scene or you can be arrested, even if you know your vehicle didn’t make contact with the bicycle.
  • If you are involved in an accident with a bicyclist working as a delivery person, please obtain the name of their employer.

Pothole Alert

  • Always be on the lookout for potholes as temperatures rise, especially following a heavy rain. Potholes can cause severe damage to your vehicle or even injure you and/or your passengers.
  • Maintain a slower speed than usual if you see potholes. If you see a repair crew, there probably are a large number of potholes nearby. Report the location of any particularly large or dangerous potholes to the Department of Transportation and your base, so other drivers can be alerted.

Preventive Maintenance

  • Preventive maintenance saves you money and helps prevent accidents.
  • Always visually inspect your vehicle prior to starting your work shift. Check for any loose metal, sharp edges or other unsafe items – and fix them.
  • Maintain the tire pressure recommended in your owner’s manual to avoid blowouts. Do not attempt to get record mileage out of tires; it’s too dangerous.
  • Always check your fluids (antifreeze, transmission, oil, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid) prior to your work shift. A breakdown in an unsafe area (highway or one-way street) can lead to a catastrophic accident.
  • Check your emergency blinkers and headlights prior to your work shift.
  • Always keep a flashlight, screwdriver, and extra cell phone battery in your glove compartment.
  • Always keep an extra set of dry clothing, water, a blanket, and canned food in your trunk.
  • Have your brakes checked with every oil change.
  • Always check your hood latch prior to your work shift. If your hoods flies open while you are driving, it can lead to a catastrophic accident.
  • Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle. Open it periodically to make sure you know what each item is for and how to use it.
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Article by Bertram Merling

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

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