They say that April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring dangerous road conditions and more pedestrians, motorcycles, and pedicabs.

April Showers Bring Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning occurs when water gets between your tires and the road.

  • If your car feels like it is gliding and possibly out of control, 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.
  • Always control and adjust your speed according to road and weather conditions.
  • The distance and amount of time you need to safely stop your vehicle on a wet and slippery surface will increase.
  • New York State Law requires headlights in all inclement weather.

Pedestrian Accidents

All vehicles must yield to all pedestrians at all times at all locations.

  • In New York City, millions of pedestrians are crossing intersections 24-hours a day.
  • Always avoid frightening (by blowing your horn) or angering pedestrians by moving at an excessive speed towards them unnecessarily. Such actions often lead to a pedestrian banging on the hood of your vehicle or falling down and making a fraudulent claim.
  • Always call the police and make a report if you are involved in an incident or an accident with a pedestrian. 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 pedestrian.
  • Always anticipate an unsafe act by a pedestrian observed talking on a cell phone, talking to another pedestrian, eating, or just not paying attention to their surroundings while crossing an intersection.
  • Always use extra caution when pedestrians are senior citizens. Their hearing and/or vision may be impaired.
  • Always anticipate pedestrians crossing in between double-parked vehicles.
  • Always anticipate that a pedestrian may jaywalk in front of a bus in the process of loading passengers.
  • Please use extra caution in the after-dark hours of your shift when visibility is diminished.

Motorcycle Accidents

An accident between a motorcycle and a motor vehicle usually results in a serious injury and is often fatal for the motorcyclist.

  • Motorcycles can be heard from a distance, giving you a warning that one may be approaching.
  • Always anticipate an unsafe move by a motorcyclist.
  • Always remember that motorcycles may attempt to squeeze through a narrow space or make an unsafe move to avoid stopping for a red light.
  • Always use extra caution when the weather is inclement as a motorcyclist’s vision will be impaired.
  • Use extra caution whenever roads are slippery and a motorcycle is nearby.
  • Never let an unsafe act by a motorcyclist trigger a road rage incident.
  • Let a motorcycle pass you, even if it is an unsafe passing.
  • Always anticipate that a motorcyclist may jump from the motorcycle in a different direction than the motorcycle is heading in the event of an accident.
  • Always stay 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 your motives.
  • Always try to be courteous to motorcyclists.

Pedicabs

  • Always anticipate that a pedicab could make an unsafe maneuver to respond to a potential passenger.
  • We can eliminate excessive numbers of pedicabs by giving personalized service to your passengers. That means talk to your passenger instead of talking on your cell phone (which is illegal) – assuming they want to talk.
  • Point out the sights of New York to your tourist passengers.
  • Show your passengers that you are as helpful, courteous, and as charming as the popular pedicab operators so that next time, they will want to ride in your vehicle, which is safer, more comfortable, and cheaper than a pedicab.
  • Use special caution and be prepared to use your defensive driving skills in areas frequented by pedicabs, such as Times Square, Central Park South, and Central Park.

Remember: You must treat pedicabs as pedestrians and bicycles by 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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