Blurred image of people moving in crowded night city street. Art toning abstract urban background. Hong Kong

Thanksgiving is coming up this month, and although it will likely not be a typical holiday, we wanted to include a few reminders that could prove helpful for drivers. We also examine loading and unloading clients at their destination, as well as tips for staying safe if you find yourself in at a mall or a parking lot.

Thanksgiving Holiday Safety Tips

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of what has traditionally been “holiday traffic” in NYC. Historically, about 100,000 additional vehicles enter he city on a daily basis during this time of year.

  • Be patient, courteous, and considerate of all motorists to reduce the chances of inciting road rage.
  • Remember that other drivers – particularly those from out of state – may turn out to be potential customers once they park their vehicles in a garage.
  • Tourists boost the city’s economy. During difficult times we must show them how much we appreciate them by being helpful and friendly.
  • Have your holiday dinner at the end of your work shift. Eating large meals can make you drowsy. Driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
  • Remember: New York City Traffic Department agents have the authority to issue summonses for “blocking the box.”
  • The number of people driving while intoxicated rises during the holidays. Be prepared to use your defensive driving skills and keep a watchful eye.

Parking Lot & Shopping Mall Accidents

Parking lots and malls can be dangerous for drivers, so please heed the following if you find yourself taking a passenger on a shopping excursion.

  • Always anticipate unsafe moves by motorists exiting or entering a lot or mall.
  • Beware of vehicles traveling in the wrong direction.
  • Always yield to a vehicle backing into a parking space.
  • Remember: The rearview windows of other vehicles may be obstructed by packages, so be extra careful.
  • Beware of people behaving unsafely to get a parking space in a crowded lot.
  • Watch out for children, people with strollers and bicyclists behaving unsafely.
  • Use caution when you or a passenger opens a car door to exit a parking space.
  • Scan the area prior to loading your trunk. Avoid bending over unsafely to load the trunk; other motorists backing up may not see you.
  • Use caution when passing a double-parked vehicle. Even if the driver waves you on, you will be held accountable for your actions.
  • Use extra caution when making a radio dispatched pickup in a parking lot or shopping mall. Criminals have been known to call from an isolated area. You could be the victim of a robbery or carjacking.

Loading/Unloading Passengers

Loading and unloading passengers can be tricky, particularly if your passenger is impatient or careless. Please consider the following:

  • Pull as close to the curb as possible when loading luggage in your trunk.
  • Scan the area behind you prior to using the trunk.
  • Never stop in a spot to pick up a passenger that leaves you at high risk of being rear-ended by traffic, particularly if there is curb space nearby.
  • Pull into a passenger loading area without impeding the flow of traffic.
  • Do not delay traffic when a passenger enters your vehicle at a red light. Be prepared to proceed and pull over to the nearest curb space, if necessary. Delaying traffic can lead to road rage incidents or rear-end collisions.
  • Do not negotiate with passengers in the middle of the street.
  • Always signal and pull as close to the curb as possible when responding to a street hail or arriving to load or unload a passenger.
  • Remind passengers their safety is your primary concern. Ask them to allow you to open the door for them when you arrive. This is to ensure their safety.
  • When possible, ask passengers to sit on the side of the vehicle that will be curbside when you arrive (applicable if you have only one passenger).
  • Check rearview and side-view mirrors prior to exiting your vehicle to assist a passenger. Also: Check mirrors to determine when it is safe for a passenger to depart the vehicle, if they do not want you to open the door for them.
  • Assist passengers to the sidewalk before retrieving items from the trunk.
  • Before unloading the trunk, scan the area behind to ensure no vehicles are driving toward you in an unsafe manner.
  • If you arrive for a passenger at a pickup spot or respond to a street hail, try to wait for another FHV to leave, so you can pull into the vacated spot.
  • Try to avoid loading or unloading passengers or trunk items while your vehicle is double parked.
  • Do not leave cash or other valuables openly exposed in the front seat, while you are assisting a passenger or attending to the trunk.
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Article by Bertram Merling

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

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