When you stop to think about it, driving is actually an extremely dangerous activity. Combine these with fast speeds, quick turns, and heavy machinery, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Luckily, New York drivers can avoid a great deal of danger simply by staying alert while behind the wheel.
When it comes to staying safe behind the wheel of a New York car, most experienced drivers have developed a sense of trouble and uncertainty. For example, a good driver knows that construction zones are worthy of caution or that wet roads can offer up some tricky driving conditions. But identifying trouble is just one part of the solution. The more important question is how to handle these driving danger zones.
The next time you encounter a problematic portion of the road, consider the following tips and tricks from the New York car rental experts at Action Car Rental.
Danger Zone #1 – School Zones
Whenever you encounter a school zone, it’s crucial that you hit the brakes. A school zone sign signals that it’s time to slow down; the speed limit around schools is normally 15-24 miles per hour. And that includes weekends and summer holidays. Just because school is no longer in session doesn’t mean kids aren’t still hanging out on the playground.
If you’re dropping off or picking up a child at school, you’ll want to exercise great caution. Leave a few minutes early so you’re not in a rush or battling increased traffic near the school. Park a street away from the school and walk your child back to your car to keep the road in front of the school free of traffic. And never, ever park or stop your car in the school bus loading zone.
Danger Zone #2 – Construction Areas
Road work is an unavoidable frustration for many New York travelers. And while those orange pylons might cause your stomach to turn with impatience, it’s important that you keep your cool when caught in construction congestion.
Since road construction zones often funnel cars into a single-file lane, drivers are often overcome with impatience, zipping up to the front of the line and forcing a merge at the last minute. Not only is this frustrating to other drivers, but it’s also an extremely dangerous practice. What is a road maintenance worker happened to be working close to the lane, and you accidentally clipped him or her as you gunned your vehicle forward? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 669 road-work-zone fatalities occur annually. So show some restraint while behind the wheel. It could save someone’s life.
Danger Zone #3 – Animal Crossing Areas
Animal collisions can result in serious damage and injury for drivers and passengers (not to mention the animal). Luckily, there aren’t that many oversized animals out roaming the streets of NYC. Even so, if you see a cat or raccoon dart out in front of your vehicle, you’ll want to make sure you react in a way that won’t risk your safety or the safety of other road users. To help steer clear of animals on the road, lower your speed, especially during the hours around dusk and dawn. Keep your eyes peeled for “Animal Crossing” signs, and don’t be afraid to use your headlights or horn to scare off timid animals.
Danger Zone #4 – Parking Lots
Just because you’re off the road doesn’t mean the danger has disappeared. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a surprising 52 percent of back-over injuries (accidents involving a vehicle backing into a pedestrian or cyclist) occur in nonresidential parking lots. So keep your guard up searching for a spot. Always remember to check the blind spot, use your turn signals, and always obey standard traffic laws
Danger Zone #5 – Driveways
You read that right. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, roughly 39 percent of back-over fatalities happen in driveways. So take a moment and adjust your mirrors before making your way out of a laneway. Turn your head and look behind you while in reverse, and keep the windows down and the radio off so you can listen for animals, children, and pedestrians.
Danger zones exist around every corner. Make sure that you and your passengers are safe by exhibiting caution behind the wheel of your vehicle.
The importance of defensive driving cannot be overstated. Defensive driving means being aware of your surroundings, anticipating potential hazards, and being prepared to react quickly in an emergency. Defensive driving is crucial for all drivers, especially those new to driving or frequently driving in high-traffic areas.
Defensive driving involves being aware of the limitations of your car and its capabilities. This includes knowing how your car handles different weather conditions, how much braking distance you need to stop your car safely, and how to react to unexpected obstacles on the road. Defensive driving also means being aware of other drivers and their behavior on the road and being ready to react to their mistakes or unexpected actions.
Maintaining a safe following distance is one of the most important aspects of defensive driving. This means keeping enough distance between your car and the car in front of you to allow sudden stops or unexpected turns. It also means being aware of other drivers who may be tailgating you and taking steps to avoid getting into a dangerous situation.
By practicing defensive driving, you can reduce your risk of accidents and keep yourself and others safe. Defensive driving is not just a skill; it’s a mindset that can help you stay alert and focused while on the road. So always remember to be aware of your surroundings, anticipate potential hazards, and react quickly in an emergency.
How to Respond if You Encounter a Dangerous Situation
It’s important always to be prepared for any dangerous situation that you may encounter while driving your car. Here are some tips on how to respond:
- Stay calm: The first and most important thing to do in a dangerous situation is to remain calm. Panicking can lead to poor decision-making and can make the situation worse.
- Assess the situation: Take a moment to assess the situation and determine what action you should take. This will depend on the type of danger you are facing.
- Take action: Once you have assessed the situation, avoid the danger. This may mean slowing down, changing lanes, or even pulling over to the side of the road.
- Use your car’s safety features: If your car has safety features such as anti-lock brakes, traction control, or stability control, make sure they are in working order.
- Stay alert: Always be aware of your surroundings and anticipate potential dangers. This can help you avoid dangerous situations before they occur.
Remember, being a defensive driver is the best way to avoid dangerous situations while driving. Stay alert, obey traffic laws, and avoid distractions such as texting or talking on the phone while driving. By being prepared and staying focused, you can help keep yourself and others safe on the road.