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Safe Driving: New York Drivers Beware!

by on December 1, 2012 >> No Comments
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Driving on the streets here in New York can be anything but pleasant! Everyone is in a hurry to get to somewhere “important” and the basic rules of the roads, along with courtesy, is way out the door. This behavior puts motorists as well as pedestrians in grave danger.

Below are a few tips citing the many things I observe on the streets while driving around that could really enhance the driving experience and keep more people alive. They are not meant to bypass the driver manual! There are tips for general driving and some especially for the rainy days, and wintery, snowy weather. If you feel that you need a refresher driver course, please contact the DMV for a class. We need to observe the rules of the road, and exercise patience and common courtesy. They could save a life, and that life could be your very own, or your loved ones.

Tip#1: Put The Phones Away

Let’s face it! Not everything is for everybody! And no one knows you, like you do! If you know you are not very good at multi-tasking, please put the phone away while driving! Even if the phone is hands-free and you are talking while driving, you are multi-tasking! Your time is divided between the street and your phone. If you are not very good at handling more than one thing efficiently at the same time, talking while driving is not for you. Engaging someone in a conversation while navigating the streets is downright dangerous, especially if you are not very good at multi-tasking; it limits your ability to maneuver the street in an active, alert, attentive manner.

Tip#2: Give Your Fellow Motorist, Ahead of You, Some Space

I know the 5 boroughs are small, congested, and blah, blah, blah; however, when it comes to controlling a huge moving machine on the street where there are other huge moving machines, we have to exercise caution and create ample space where necessary. Tailgating is dangerous! According to AAA,” if you are traveling at a speed of 30 miles per hour, it takes 4 seconds – about 44 feet, or 5 car lengths – to stop.” You can try this! I have, and they are absolutely right! 44 feet or 5 car lengths is the amount of space you should allow between you and the car in front of you; as your speed increases or decreases, so do the time and distance required to brake to a stop.

Tip#3: When The Red Light Change To Green, Inhale, Exhale, Count to Three

Driving off as soon as the red light turns to green at an intersection is not the safest thing to do. There are sometimes late-comers, people who started out thinking they could get across before the light changes, but could not. There are also some pedestrians, mostly elderly, who walk a little slower and need just a little more time to cross the street. Either way, they are not in the right, but these situations exist and as users of the streets, we have to exercise caution as well as consideration for each other. Of course this will likely get the motorist behind you very upset, but it’s the only way to ensure the street is entirely clear to go, especially at huge intersections where there are more than two lanes of traffic.

Tip#4: When it rains, snows, or sleet, please slow down

Rainy, snowy, sleety days are not days to be in a hurry! Fender benders are very common in these types of weather, but they do not have to be. It is easier to skid when the road is wet, in any way, and driving at moderate speed is imperative.

Tip#5: Turn Your Stereo Down! Please!

You not only endanger yourself with the extremely loud music, you endanger other motorists and pedestrians as well. You have to be able to hear emergency vehicle, and allow others their right to hear it too! It is your prerogative if you want to play your stereo, just make it audible enough for you, with a tiny speck of ability to hear what’s going on in your immediate surroundings.

Tip#6: Have the right timing and speed, when rejoining traffic

When you are moving out of your parked position into oncoming traffic, do so safely at the right time, and with the right speed. Too many times motorists cut in out of nowhere and at a very slow pace. This is a very dangerous tactic! You may be able to get away scotch free, but the motorist you cut off may have to choose to swerve to avoid a collision with you, and may end up hitting other innocent motorists and possibly taking lives. Just imagine all the other motorists behind the one you are cutting off! Could be a deadly, horrific scene!

Tip#7: In changing lanes assess, reassess, before taking the step

When changing lanes – especially on the highway, use caution and your sense of measurement before making the move. Put your indicator on, but please, if you do not see a viable opening, do not attempt to switch lanes. Many accidents, on highways as well as local roads, are caused by improper changing of lanes. The indicator is meant to notify the motorist behind that you intend to change lanes, it does not give you the right to just go, even if it is not safe to do so.

You may not be breaking all these rules, but let’s be honest with ourselves, if you are breaking any – own it, acknowledge it, and start working on changing it. As the old saying goes, “To thine own self be true”. Be true to yourself, and fix what is broken in the way you drive. If each of us fix our own shortcomings, all of us will benefit. New York can be the safest place to drive.

So, please reach for a glass of wine, juice or water and let’s toast to safer driving, and showing more courtesy on the streets. We can do this – together. Cheers!

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