Group of cute little pupils outdoors

Labor Day is early next month (Sept. 5), with public schools starting back up about a week later (Sept. 13). It can be a hectic time of year for NYC drivers, so we will be addressing some of the more pressing concerns in this month’s column.

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend historically sees a spike in fatal and catastrophic accidents, due to people Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Use caution and be prepared to use your best defensive driving skills if you observe an apparent DWI driver.

  • Call 911 to report any apparent DWI drivers. Do not confront one directly.
  • Traffic volume increases after Labor Day so be patient and prepared with alternate routes to get your passengers safely to their destinations in the timeliest manner possible.
  • Be patient if you are delayed in a police DWI checkpoint. You could have been the next victim of a DWI driver being removed from the road.

Back to School

During this time of year, it is essential to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel for the safety of NYC’s children.

  • Watch out for kids standing or walking along the side of the road and crossing streets.
  • Remember to always STOP if you are approaching a school bus with a stop sign or flashing red lights, either from the front or rear. It is the LAW.
  • Make a note and use extra caution at schools, playgrounds, and other locations frequented by children you may pass during a typical shift.
  • Watch out for kids looking at their hand-held devices while walking.
  • Use extra caution this year as Covid masks can limit a child’s vision.

Bicycle Accidents

Always be prepared to take defensive, evasive actions if you see a bicyclist. They are supposed to obey the same traffic laws as a motorist, but often run red lights, stop signs, travel the wrong way on one-way streets, make sudden, unsafe turns, pass vehicles on the right side unsafely, and commit other numerous unsafe and illegal acts.

  • The number of bicycle-related accidents has increased as more people use them as their primary form of transportation, thanks to spiking fuel prices.
  • Always respect bicycle lanes and a bicyclist’s right to ride on city streets.
  • Prior to unloading or loading a passenger, always check rear- and side-view mirrors for bicyclists attempting to pass in a narrow area.
  • BEWARE: For-hire vehicles and taxis are often targeted for fraudulent claims by bicyclists.
  • Always call the police and make a report if you are involved in an incident or accident with a bicyclist. Do not leave the scene or you can be arrested, even if you know your vehicle did not make contact with the bicyclist. If the bicyclist is a delivery person, please obtain their employer’s name.
  • Most bicycle-related accidents occur when passengers open a door to exit a vehicle. Remind passengers before you reach your destination, to check for bicyclists before exiting your vehicle.
  • Make sure your rear and front doors display the proper caution sticker, meant to help educate passengers about the risks.

Extreme Heat Alert

Autumn is approaching, but there may still be plenty of scorching days left this summer, so please heed the following tips:

  • Drink plenty of water – at least two liters a day during a heat wave.
  • Check your vehicle’s fluids and belts prior to your shift.
  • Keep your vehicle cool or risk losing passengers to another form of transportation.
  • BEWARE: Not everyone has air conditioning. Extreme heat can cause road rage in other drivers.
  • Beware of pedestrians acting in an unsafe manner because they are light-headed or dehydrated.
  • Make an extra effort to help senior citizens in and out of your vehicle. Ask them if they are okay or need any assistance.
  • Be careful around children playing in the street at open fire hydrants. Do not lose your temper if your vehicle is sprayed with water from one.
  • Be patient with Con Edison workers disrupting traffic. They provide an essential and often life-saving service to all of us during a HEAT WAVE.