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Safety on the Roads, by Dave Werner

Enforcement meant to correct unsafe driving habits

Have you heard people say, “They write tickets only to get revenue”? This is an incorrect perception by many drivers, as the purpose behind enforcement (tickets, if you prefer) is to change bad driving habits that we all have. Speeding is a good example — I have said many times ...

Headlights: Perhaps the second best safety device

If you are a faithful reader of these weekly articles on Vehicle and Traffic Law and traffic safety, you know my position on using headlights. Briefly, unless you conscientiously turn on your full headlights (not parking lights) every time you move your vehicle, then ALWAYS buy a car with ...

Keep wheels straight while waiting to turn left

Last week’s article was about moving into the intersection on a green light if you are turning left at the intersection, even if there is a string of oncoming traffic. Today’s article deals with a very important consideration all drivers should be aware of whenever they must wait for ...

Entering intersection for left turn, explained

Here’s a question for you to think about: You want to turn left at the next intersection, the traffic signal is green, but there is a string of oncoming traffic. Do you stop at the white line (stop bar), or do you enter the middle of the intersection and wait for either a break in oncoming ...

Traffic Signal Operation 101

If we drive in a populated area, like most of our villages, we cannot avoid intersections controlled by three-color traffic signals. But do you know what makes them change? Here’s a brief tutorial on their operation. Let’s start with a simple four-legged intersection, which allows green ...

Can you accept constructive criticism?

Have you ever asked a relative or someone you know to critique your driving? I’ll bet not. I was recently thinking about this and wondering why drivers don’t seem to want to improve their driving skills by requesting helpful criticism from others. The likely reason just might be because ...

What if I brake hard for a deer?

In Franklin County there are deer, and every year deer get hit and injured or killed. Meanwhile, numerous vehicles are damaged. Often drivers crash into trees, guide rails, ditches or other vehicles in a futile effort to avoid hitting the deer. The above is the prologue. What this article is ...

Back seat child under age 2 must be rear-facing

Effective Nov. 1, revisions to Section 1229-c of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law is revised to include an additional requirement regarding child safety restraint in motor vehicles. The amendment requires that all back-seat passengers under the age of 2 be restrained in a rear-facing, ...

Work zone workers may not be what you think

You can’t drive very far between April and October in the North Country and not encounter a highway work zone. The window for doing road work is relatively short. But work zones mean delays, and drivers don’t like delays. In work zones, the most pressing thing is the safety of the workers ...

Comparing drivers with airline pilots is interesting

Although most all of us are drivers, very few of us are airline pilots, but a little knowledge of the “rules of the road” for airline pilots caught my attention. I really wasn’t aware of there being strict rules of the road for pilots, but there are, and the rules and regulations are ...

Stop arm cameras approved in New York

A new law authorizing school districts to install stop arm cameras on school buses will take effect on Sept 5 to deter motorists who pass stopped school buses. For several years, New York Association for Pupil Transportation has advocated for this legislation. It is estimated that ...

Driver courtesy triggers yet another collision

Monday morning, Aug. 5 saw yet another crash caused by a driver who thought he or she was doing a good deed, something Chief of Police Chris Premo says occurs too often in Malone. I have written at least three of these weekly articles based on this problem over the past 12 years. As drivers, ...

System names, instrument cluster play important role

Last week’s article addressed the fact that drivers are not often up to speed on the capabilities and limitations of some of the automation features on today’s cars. Some of the confusion derives from how the manufacturer names the system. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ...

Automation can be confusing to drivers

If you’re a regular reader of these weekly articles, I have tried to keep you abreast of the automation involved in today’s cars, like lane departure and adaptive cruise control, to name a couple. Vehicles are getting increasingly sophisticated, with more and more of them able to stay in a ...

Fatality drop tied to enforcement

Most of you have never heard of Kankakee, Illinois — I hadn’t. But I did after reading an article in the Kankakee Daily Journal in which Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey reported that there had been nine fatal accidents last year, compared with 19 the year before. That’s quite a ...

Turn signals: Why don’t drivers use them?

If you’re a regular reader of these weekly articles, you have read numerous times about using your turn signal — every time, all the time! A great article in the New York Times last month by Norman Mayersohn on this subject was near and dear to my heart. He points out that around the ...

Seat belt reminders as effective as interlocks

The most important safety device available to drivers and passengers in a vehicle is the seat belt. Our nation’s goal is 100% compliance. Currently, we are at about 90% for drivers and front seat passengers. But that’s not 100%, so how do we close the gap? You might think the last 10% ...

Let’s ride bikes

If you’re over 60 and reading this article you most likely rode your bicycle all over town when you were a kid. Other than walking, it was your only way to get around — parents didn’t drive their children everywhere back then. However, times have changed, and we need to get back to when ...

Speed limit 85 MPH

Twenty five years ago the nation’s maximum speed limit was 65 mph. Interestingly, in 1993, a few states, New York included, still had a maximum speed limit of only 55 mph. Over the past two-and-a-half decades, maximum speed limits have been raised in most states, and now the maximum speed ...

How crashes are reported influences attitudes

News stories often play a key role in shaping public understanding of traffic safety. And when news stories victim-blame or fail to convey the larger context in which these crashes take place, they do deep injustice to the victims and the conversation about road safety in general. Two new ...