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Safety on the Roads, by Dave Werner

Traffic death increase may be a result of COVID-19

A recent article (Jan. 1 by Christina Goldbaum) in the New York Times spoke to a deadly consequence of the pandemic — a significant increase in traffic deaths. When the pandemic hit New York City, cars seemed to disappear from many streets as the lockdown brought urban life to a halt and ...

Support for standardized vehicle and traffic laws

In early December, I proposed in my weekly article on Vehicle and Traffic Law and traffic safety that we should consider standardizing vehicle and traffic laws nationwide. In that article I described numerous traffic laws that differed from state to state and asked how drivers could possibly be ...

Know consequences of borrowing, lending vehicles

Have you ever borrowed someone else’s car? Have you lent your car to someone else? If so, are you aware of potential requirements and potential consequences? I had someone recently ask me who is responsible for the ticket if someone driving a borrowed car is ticketed for an expired ...

DWI could be a thing of the past

Alcohol has been a factor in 30% of U.S. roadway deaths every year for the past decade. Meanwhile, police arrest about 1 million people a year for alcohol-impaired driving. Systems that can detect the percentage of alcohol in the driver’s blood and prevent the vehicle from moving if it is ...

Santa has decided to deliver on Christmas Eve

It was nip and tuck, but in the end, Santa has decided that a virtual Christmas just wasn’t good enough. So, after contacting the best health experts he could and presenting his plan to deliver Christmas gifts around the world in spite of COVID-19, his plans have been approved and he has ...

Workshop updates snow, ice control

In late October and early November, two of these weekly articles explained the difficult decisions that were necessary for our various highway departments to deal with snow and ice control on our highways, and some of the factors that lead to using abrasives or salt. Complicating this dilemma ...

Vehicle and traffic laws should be standard nationwide

Passing a stopped school bus with red lights flashing is against the law in New York state, as it is in all states. We know this, but are you aware of the differences in other states? For instance, it’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus even if it is stopped on the other side of the ...

Predictability — great safety asset for drivers

If you’re a poker player, being predictable is the worst thing you can be. But if you drive a vehicle, being predictable is probably the best thing you can be. If you could communicate to drivers around you exactly what you intended to do, it would make life so much easier for other drivers, ...

Amish buggies remain road hazard with early darkness

We have many Amish and Mennonite families in Franklin and St. Lawrence counties. Amish buggies have been granted an exception to the requirement to display a “Slow Moving Vehicle” symbol on the rear of their buggies and wagons for religious reasons. However, after dark and when visibility ...

Front crash prevention works for large trucks

Most automobile drivers don’t like driving on highways with a lot of large trucks. In our rural North Country, there are many tractor-trailer trucks on our state highways, and for those who drive on interstate highways, a largepercentage of traffic is large trucks. Drivers of large trucks ...

Finally, seat belts are mandatory for all passengers and driver

Effective Nov. 1 of this year, everyone in all vehicles must be either in a child restraint seat or belted in no matter where you are sitting or your age, and it’s about time. State law has previously mandated driver and front seat passengers must be belted or in a child restraint seat, ...

Sanding roads may cost more than salting

Last week’s article discussed some of the things to consider when deciding whether to use salt on roads for snow and ice control or abrasives, such as sand. Most people would guess that using abrasives is far cheaper than using salt. Maybe not! Here is some information that most citizens ...

Sand versus salt — difficult decisions

There has been much discussion on whether to use sand and other abrasives or salt to treat slippery roads during winter. This is not an easy decision to make. There are pluses and minuses for both. More recently there is significant opposition to salt, but sand and abrasives also have a ...

Highway departments are not liable for mailbox damage

As winter approaches, and if you are among the many residents in Franklin County with a rural mailbox along the side of the road, pay attention to the rest of this article, as fixing your box in the middle of the winter is not much fun. If a property owner places his or her mailbox in the ...

Winter driving — are you ready?

Like it or not, winter driving is about to hit us, and so is the usual increase in crashes as we all but refuse to drive more slowly and carefully, or leave in time to get there without driving faster than we should. And every year we read or hear about safe driving tips in the media, and yet ...

Traffic laws to ponder

“You are sentenced to $150 fine and 15 days in jail!” “For what? I had the walk signal when I crossed Main Street.” “For not walking upon the right half of the crosswalk!” This could happen. Section 1155 of Vehicle and Traffic Law requires that pedestrians move, whenever ...

Following too closely is a dangerous practice

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety previously reported that 40% of all automobile crashes involve tailgating — or, more formally, following too closely. What driver hasn’t been annoyed by the driver behind riding right on his/her tail? Answer: no one! But the flip side is how ...

Paint is cheap, or is it?

A column last month discussed how centerline and edge line markings on our highways make driving easier and safer. That article explained the requirements that mandated pavement markings, where they were optional and where they were not recommended without a compelling engineering reason for ...

Pedestrian safety is no accident

Pedestrian safety is a two-way street: Drivers must be aware of pedestrians and what they might do, and pedestrians must be aware of drivers and what they might do. If both driver and pedestrian are aware of the other and obey the basics of vehicle and traffic law, vehicle-pedestrians crashes ...

School speed limits return after prolonged absence

As I write this article, it looks like students will be physically returning to our schools sometime during September, with some schools beginning as early as the 8th while others not until the 21st. (Editor’s note: Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Lake Placid public schools begin classes on ...