Opening your vehicle's door into traffic is dangerous and also against the law. With snowplow banks encroaching into parking spaces, the danger of this action is compounded.
Paragraph 1214 of vehicle and traffic law prohibits opening the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic "unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic". It is also a violation to leave a door open on the side of traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Unfortunately, we are all in a rush to get places, do errands, and get to the next place so rushed are we that we just don't want to wait for traffic to clear before opening our driver's door. Usually we are lucky, and the motorist approaching us from behind just as we open our door reacts quickly enough to avoid a collision. But our luck will eventually run out, and someday we will get our door taken off. If you didn't think you had enough time before, just think how much time a crumpled door will take to fix. And, it will be expensive. Even if you have collision insurance, you will still have to pay the deductible.
Notwithstanding a possible ticket, the next time you are in such a hurry to chance opening your door into traffic, think of the time and money you will lose if another car hits your vehicle's door. It's not worth it!
For more articles on vehicle and traffic law and traffic safety, visit the Traffic Safety Board's web site at: www.franklincony.org/content/Departments/View/24.
Dave Werner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.