Upcoming warmer weather in some parts of the country stir thoughts of vacation and travel. For some, the drive takes them from coast to coast; for others, to a neighboring town or upstate New York. Whatever the distance and time span, safe driving to prevent a car accident is the end goal.
You know the drill: the bags are all packed, the auto-reply is set on “out of office” mode, and the GPS is programmed to take you to your ultimate destination, with a few stops along the way. You’re ready for the journey. So far, the drive is smooth… until you hit Manhattan or another big city at lunchtime or rush hour, and traffic merges from every direction by drivers who appear to be making their own rules. Your GPS alerts you to an accident up ahead and you’re sure you’re going to be involved in one yourself.
Driving conditions and safe driving habits are worth repeating over and over. No matter how many times we’ve heard about the rules of the road, they continue to be repeated because some people still don’t pay attention, and traffic accidents still occur on a frequent basis. No accident is ever the same—each one presents a different scenario. As a result, cities, counties and municipalities are constantly assessing parts of town where the potential for accidents is the highest, and they continue to analyze ways to prevent other incidents from happening in the future. They know that certain intersections or highway ramps have a tendency to create pileups or congestion, and signs are implemented well ahead of time to alert the driver of a new driving condition on the road. Natural weather conditions like rain, snow or dust can also make road conditions risky.
Despite the warnings and maintenance of the roads and highways, accidents and the unknown can cause even more anxiety in an area where you are unfamiliar. If you are in a new town and find yourself in traffic heavier than what you are used to, or in a detour because of a diverted route, what should you do? Here are some tips:
- First, continue to pay attention and keep your eyes on the road. If you have a passenger, put that person in charge of the GPS and explore options for an alternate less-travelled route. Bear in mind that if you are on a time-sensitive schedule, a route with less traffic may also take much longer.
- Stay with the flow of traffic, but keep a steady pace in case you need to make a quick lane change or a sudden exit.
- Keep your GPS and your phone charged in case you need to contact anyone about your arrival plans. Carry an extra charger in case you need it.
- Let others know your route of travel. This may not always seem important or necessary, but alerting someone to what you’ll be doing if you are delayed could mean all the difference in those locating you sooner rather than later (or worrying about you at all).
- Remember that eventually the traffic will thin out and you can take a breather. This is a good time to pull off at a nearby exit and collect your thoughts, re-analyze your route and fuel up if your car needs gas. A fresh start will put you well on your way.
If you are involved in a traffic accident in a town other than where you live, you’ll want to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in multi-jurisdiction traffic accident cases. Our New York firm can assist you with your needs.
We can’t always predict upcoming traffic conditions in an un-known area, but being reminded of how to keep calm will make your vacation and final destination that much more enjoyable.