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Staying safe while behind the wheel

With thousands of cars traveling New York roads every day, it is imperative that people understand how to react in situations where their safety is compromised by the unanticipated actions of others, environmental hazards and even weather conditions. When drivers are educated about what steps to take to stay safe on the road, they can better protect themselves, their passengers and other motorists on the road. 

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, one of the most important preventative measures that drivers can implement to stay safer, is to drive defensively. However, people who are good defensive drivers are effective because they participate in several responsible behaviors including the following: 

  • They never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • They always wear their seatbelt and ensure that their passengers do the same. 
  • They are constantly scanning their surroundings for signs of danger or potential hazards. 
  • They make sure their vehicle is properly maintained and repaired as needed. 
  • They use their turn signals and follow the rules of the road. 
  • They make sure to maintain an adequate following distance between them and other cars on the road. 

In instances where attentive drivers are put at risk because of an aggressive driver, they should do the following:

  • They should do their best to move out of the way quickly and safely.
  • They should contact authorities and report the aggressive driver along with an accurate description of the person's car and license plate. 
  • They should avoid making eye contact and do their best to remain calm.  

The New York State Department of Health reports that on average, 1,098 deaths are the consequence of motor vehicle accidents each year in New York.  

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