As Spring arrives and the weather warms, you can expect rain storms, along with more pedestrians and bicycles on city streets. The following tips will help you avoid accidents and stay safe.

Beware of Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning is a dangerous phenomenon that occurs when water gets between your tires and the road. You will feel your car gliding and experience a loss of control. If that happens, please do the following:

  • Get a good grip on your steering wheel.
  • Take your foot off the gas pedal.
  • Do not step on the brake pedal, let the car slow down by itself. This will prevent skidding and help you regain control of your vehicle.
  • New York State Law requires headlights in all inclement weather.
  • Always adjust your speed according to road and weather conditions. Slow down.
  • Maintain more distance between you and other vehicles in the rain. You need more space and time to be able to safely stop on a wet, slippery road.
  • When it rains, it’s important to drive more carefully. Move slowly and deliberately.
  • Be extra cautious on bridges and exit ramps.

Bicycle Accidents

  • Always be prepared to take defensive, evasive actions if you see a bicyclist.
  • The law says that bicyclists are supposed to obey the same traffic laws as motorists, but it doesn’t mean that they do. Bicyclists are notorious for running red lights, ignoring stop signs, traveling the wrong way on one-way streets, making sudden unsafe turns and unsafely passing vehicles on the right, among other things.
  • Respect bike lanes and a bicyclist’s right to the same streets you travel on.
  • Always check your side-view mirrors prior to loading or unloading a passenger. Bicyclists often attempt to pass cars in a narrow lane.
  • For-hire vehicles and medallion taxis are often targeted for fraudulent claims by bicyclists.
  • Always call the police and make a report if you are involved in an incident or an accident with a bicyclist. Do not leave the scene or you can be arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, even if you know that your vehicle did not make contact with the bicyclist.
  • If you are involved in an accident with a bicyclist working as a delivery person, obtain the name of the bicyclist’s employer for your insurance company.

Motorcycle Accidents

  • An accident between a motorcycle and a motor vehicle can result in a serious, or even a fatal injury for the motorcyclist. Always try to be courteous to motorcyclists.
  • Motorcycles can often be heard from a distance, giving you a warning that one may be approaching.
  • Like bicyclists, motorcycles often attempt to squeeze through narrow spaces and make unsafe moves to avoid stopping for red lights.
  • Use EXTRA caution in inclement weather as a motorcyclist’s vision will be impaired.
  • Use extra caution when roads are slippery.
  • Do not let an unsafe act by a motorcyclist trigger a road rage incident. Let a motorcycle pass you, even if they appear to be driving unsafely.
  • Always anticipate that a motorcyclist may jump in a different direction than the motorcycle is heading in the event of an accident.
  • Keep a safe distance from motorcycles on highways, as they often travel at a high speed.
  • Never assume that a motorcyclist will cooperate when you need to suddenly change lanes to respond to a street hail. Motorcyclists have many other things to focus on and may not realize the motives for such actions.

Parade and Street Fair Season

  • As the weather warms, there will be more parades and street fairs. Always read newspapers and make note of parade routes and street closings before your shift begins. Predetermine alternate routes that will help you avoid getting stuck in traffic.
  • Always explain to your passengers why you are choosing alternate routes.
  • If the stress of working on parade days is too stressful, consider working at times when there are no parades or street fairs.
  • Always keep your temper in check so that you do not succumb to road rage during the times you are stuck in heavy traffic.
  • Parades and street fairs bring many tourists to New York City. Be courteous to out-of-state drivers and assist them whenever possible. After they park their vehicle they may become your next passenger.
  • Parades and street fairs mean more pedestrians. ALL vehicles must yield to ALL pedestrians at ALL times, under any circumstance.
Article by Bertram Merling

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

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