Warm weather is here, which means that New Yorkers will be spending more time outside in parks, beaches, and on the roadways. While summer is time to kick back and enjoy the sun, there are also increased risks and hazards that drivers should be aware of.
Stay safe on the roads this summer by reading up on the top 5 hazards you should be aware of while behind the wheel and how you can avoid a potentially fatal accident:
Road Construction and Increased Traffic
It’s no surprise that most construction happens during our summer months. This can cause roadblocks, traffic jams, delays, and unexpected detours to occur. According to NYSDOT’s Work Zone Safety Awareness webpage, there were 203 reported crashes in work zones on state roads and bridges in 2021. Just three years prior, in 2017, NYSDOT reported 660 crashes in construction work zones that resulted in 160 injuries and 10 fatalities.
To ensure the safety of yourself and road workers while driving through construction zones:
- Follow all posted signage for reduced speeds and lane closures.
- Avoid known work zones, or give yourself extra time to account for traffic delays.
- Avoid switching lanes often in heavy traffic, and merge early if there is a posted lane closure ahead.
- Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you to avoid potential fender-benders.
Motorcycles on The Road
As the number of motorcycles on the roads increase, so do the chances for motorcycle accidents. According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, fatal motorcycle crashes are on the rise. In 2021, the committee released that there were 198 fatal motorcycle crashes, representing 18% of crash fatalities in New York.
Drivers should take the following precautions when sharing the road with motorcyclists:
- Be extra aware of your surroundings as motorcycles can disappear into your blind spots more easily than a car.
- Follow motorcycles at greater distances.
- Be sure to use your blinkers to indicate any lane changes or turns.
Bicyclists In Urban Areas
With bicycling becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation, especially in urban areas, there is an increased risk for drivers to collide with bicyclists on the roadways. The NHTSA reported 938 total bicycle fatalities across the US, with 79% of all reported deaths occurring in densely populated urban areas.
To keep bicyclists safe, drivers should:
- Understand their local laws when it comes to bicyclists. Most states, including NY, give bicyclists the same rights as motor vehicle operators.
- Give bicyclists space, especially on roads with no marked bicycle lanes.
- Look both ways for bicycle riders at intersections and in your blind spots before making a turn.
- Treat bicyclists the same as slow-moving vehicles. Give them 3 feet of space while passing.
These rules should also apply to mopeds, electric scooters, and other forms of micro-transportation.
Pedestrians, Children and Animals Near Roadways
Summer time means more outdoor activities for adults and children alike. From distracted pedestrians to animals or children unexpectedly darting into the road, drivers should be extra aware of these increased risks. On average, New York sees about 300 pedestrian fatalities annually.
To avoid a potentially fatal collision with any pedestrian or animal, drivers should:
- Always stop at a crosswalk to let pedestrians pass and never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk.
- Stay alert while driving, especially during dusk and evening hours.
- Look more than once when making turns, especially on city and residential streets.
- Watch for pedestrians who may be distracted while walking, as they may not obey signals or road signs.
Young and Distracted Drivers
Whether it’s young drivers out of school or adults looking to get out and enjoy summer activities, roads during warm weather months are filled with inexperienced or distracted drivers more so than usual. Distracted driving has been the leading cause for all motor vehicle accidents in New York State, with almost 400 fatal crashes resulting from texting and driving alone. On average, 38% of American teenagers reported that they drive distracted, specifically texting and driving.
Here’s what to do if you witness a distracted or reckless driver on the road:
- Assume the driver does not see you at all and give them more space.
- Try to pull ahead of the distracted driver, or slow down to let them pass.
- If you are unable to get away from the driver, report the behavior of the driver to proper authorities by calling 911.
We hope these driving tips help to keep you and others safe from the major potential hazards you can encounter during the summer months. However, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced attorneys at Cellino Law. Whether you’ve been injured in a bicycle, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident, our team is here to help. Call us today at 800-555-5555.