School lets out this month, and early next month July 4thwill be celebrated across the city. In this column, we offer tips to help you better navigate these challenges, along with some pointers on serving customers who require a wheelchair.

Summer Driving Season

  • Once school lets out, it’s essential to be extra alert for children at all hours of the day.
  • Air conditioning is for the passenger’s comfort, keep it on. Your passengers will expect a cool vehicle. Do not wait for people to request it. By the time your car reaches a comfortable temperature, many passengers will have already arrived at their destination.
  • Remember: New York City’s buses and subways are air conditioned and offer their services at a lower cost than you.
  • While you will burn more fuel using your air conditioner, average gratuities should increase at a rate that will more than offset the additional cost.
  • Driving a comfortable vehicle in the summer reduces your chances of getting involved in a road-rage incident.
  • A comfortable vehicle will allow you to work your normal shift without becoming irritable or exhausted quicker than you would without air conditioning.
  • During prom season, teenagers will be getting in and out of limousines to take photos. Please use extra caution and be patient; allow them to enjoy their special evening.
  • Be courteous to all tourists – they rely on you for helpful hints/information and provide a tremendous boost to New York City’s economy.

Summer Vehicle Tips

  • Inspect your radiator if your vehicle is more than a year old.
  • Change fan belts and always check your fluids.
  • Replace or remove your winter thermostat.

July 4th Holiday

  • Please use extra caution on July 4, when there will likely be increased traffic and people attending holiday parties and barbeques, who may be driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other illegal substances.
  • If you attend a holiday party, make sure you get your rest before and after the event. Driving while drowsy places drivers at the same risk as driving while intoxicated.

Wheelchair Etiquette & Safety

  • All NYC For-Hire Vehicles must service passengers with wheelchairs.
  • Always assist a customer who uses a wheelchair into your vehicle and make sure they properly secure themselves in the vehicle.
  • Ask wheelchair passengers whether they prefer to secure their wheelchair in the vehicle (if you drive a WAV) or have it placed in the trunk.
  • Travel at safe speeds and try to avoid making unnecessary or abrupt stops. Make the trip as pleasant and comfortable as possible for your passengers.
  • All ambulate and special access wheelchair taxis must secure the wheelchair and passenger safely and securely prior to starting a trip.
  • For additional information on Wheelchair Safety, please visit the TLC website at http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/home/home.shtmland search for wheelchairs.

IMPORTANT NOTE: NYC’s Taxi/FHV industry has changed dramatically in recent years. Competition is tough and the long hours can be grueling. If you are a driver struggling with depression or thoughts of self-harm, please know that you are loved and appreciated by so many, including your family and friends. You are not alone. If the struggle has become too much for you, help is available 24-hours a day at the NYCWELL hotline: 888.692.9355. There is no shame in asking for help.

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Article by Bertram Merling

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

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