Driving in Manhattan is not for the faint of heart. Drivers with bumper guards often joke about people who parallel park by bumping the cars to the front and back before settling in the middle. Traffic fatalities also paint a dire picture. In the first quarter of 2022, traffic fatalities rose by 44% compared to the previous year for that same period. So, what can you do to protect yourself from injuries and prevent car damage?
Attend Defensive Driving Courses
Defensive driving courses provide a comprehensive overview of safe maneuvering. These courses also provide an understanding of Manhattan’s rules and regulations and teach drivers how to identify and react to potential dangers before they become a problem.
A defensive driving course will help you become more confident and competent. This, in turn, can save you from costly damages to your vehicle. Completing these courses can also provide discounts for your car insurance policy, freeing up some dollars for better coverage.
Be Prepared for Unexpected Stops
Manhattan is known for its unexpected traffic stops and unpredictable speed limits. Always be prepared to stop abruptly without skidding or spinning out of control. Ensure your brakes are in good condition and you have enough distance between the car in front and behind you.
You are more likely to experience sudden stops while driving behind cabs, buses and other forms of public transportation. Be aware of the vehicle in front and maintain a three-second following distance, so you have time to respond.
Drive Safely During Rush Hour
Manhattan’s streets are always congested with traffic during rush hour. During these times, remain calm and focus on safety. Try not to speed while driving through busy intersections or narrow streets, as this can lead to an accident or even a ticket if caught by law enforcement officers. Here are some additional tips for rush-hour driving:
- Avoid using your cell phone while driving.
- Keep both hands on the wheel and be alert to sudden changes in traffic conditions.
- Plan an alternate route, as you may get stuck in rush-hour traffic for an extended period.
- Use caution when changing lanes, as other drivers often do not pay attention.
- Stay out of the center lane to avoid congestion and increase your field of vision.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Manhattan’s weather can dramatically change throughout the day, making driving more difficult. Knowing the weather conditions before hitting the road makes it easier to adjust your driving plans. For example, if it is raining or snowing heavily, try to avoid driving and wait until conditions improve.
Similarly, in the winter months, keep an eye out for snow and ice, as they can cause problems with visibility and slippery roads. During heavy rainstorms, be mindful of puddles that may form in low-lying areas, as these can cause hydroplaning and loss of control.
Watch Out for Pedestrians and Cyclists
New Yorkers are always on the go, so there are often pedestrians and cyclists crowded in narrow streets. Always be mindful of your surroundings and watch for pedestrians crossing, cyclists and other people sharing the road.
When in doubt, yield to pedestrians and remember they have the right of way in marked New York crosswalks. This can help you avoid a tragic accident or injury involving someone crossing the street without looking.
Follow Road Rules
The road rules of New York City help ensure the safety of all drivers, pedestrians, bikers and cyclists. Always pay close attention to the signs posted along highways and streets in Manhattan and any other reminders from law enforcement officers.
Following these regulations will help you remain compliant with city ordinances and stay safe while driving around town:
- Be aware of designated turn lanes and use them properly.
- Do not park in restricted areas or block traffic.
- Pay attention to stop signs, red lights and other traffic signals.
- Respect pedestrians, even when they step into traffic but do not have the right of way.
Check Your Mirrors Regularly
Check your side-view mirrors when maneuvering through tight spots or navigating busy streets in Manhattan. Make sure that your mirrors are in good condition to accurately view who’s behind you when changing lanes or making a turn.
Use your rear-view mirror to check for pedestrians or cyclists before turning. If you have sensors or cameras installed on your vehicle, use these when driving, especially when backing up. This can help you avoid a potential accident and ensure everyone on the road stays safe.
Reduce Street-side Parking Use
Parking on the streets of Manhattan can be difficult, especially during busy times. You can also avoid leaving your parked car to the mercy of traffic jams and accidents by reducing your use of street-side parking. This will help keep traffic flowing smoothly and reduce the risk of collisions.
Vehicles often sustain damage while parked on the side of the street, so choosing a parking lot or garage parking may be worth the cost. For example, a biker might take out a side mirror or another driver could clip the rear end of your vehicle when pulling out of a tight spot.
Install Anti-Theft Devices
Theft is common in large cities like Manhattan. Whether they break into your vehicle or take the whole thing, thieves cause damage. Take the necessary precautions before leaving your car. Additionally, try to park your vehicle in well-lit areas and look for signs of suspicious activity before walking away.
Invest in anti-theft devices such as an alarm system or a GPS tracker and ensure you lock all the doors when you leave. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see whether it will give you a discount for anti-theft devices.
Complete Vehicle Maintenance On Time
Regularly servicing your vehicle can ensure that all components function correctly. This can prevent unexpected breakdowns or malfunctions while you’re out on the road. Checking the oil levels, brakes, tires, steering wheel alignment and other parts of your car will extend its lifespan and ensure that all these components work as they should when you’re behind the wheel.
Properly inflated tires provide better grip on slippery roads and worn brakes may take longer to stop a moving vehicle, both of which increase the chances of a collision if left unchecked. Additionally, regularly changing engine oil helps reduce friction within its components, keeping them running at peak performance for extended periods without hiccups.
Do Not Drive While Impaired
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is highly dangerous and illegal in all states, including New York. Even if you don’t feel impaired, it’s important to remember that these substances can hinder your ability to make decisions quickly and safely while on the road.
Avoid using your cell phone when driving, as this can increase your risk of causing an accident. If you need to make a call, pull over to the side of the road and park in a safe spot before doing so.
Hire an Experienced Attorney After a Crash
Even the best attorneys cannot prevent an accident from taking place that could damage your car in Manhattan. However, experienced attorneys can help you pursue maximum compensation for injuries, property damage, income loss and other expenses. Contact Cellino Law to see how we can help.