Watch out for special summer driving hazards, St. Lawrence County traffic safety officials warn
Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 6:34 pm

With summer well underway, the St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Program is reminding motorists to avoid some of the special hazards they will encounter on the road during the summer months.

Officials say planning ahead and making sure vehicles are well maintained are two of the most important aspects of long trips.

In New York State, information can be found on 511NY.org for travel and transit information.

Programming GPS coordinates and adjusting the seat, temperature and tunes ahead of time can allow for more focused driving, a release from the traffic program says.

It can also help drivers avoid tickets since hand-held electronic device while driving is illegal in New York State.

Officials say drivers should make sure all passengers are buckled up and children are properly restrained.

Traffic safety officials say drivers should never operate vehicles while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines can also affect driving, so always read labels and consult doctors or pharmacists about any potential side effects.

Remember that New York State law requires motorists to slow down and move over when passing either an emergency vehicle with red flashing lights or a utility vehicle with flashing amber lights.

This law protects first responders and service vehicle operators who have stopped on the side of the road to perform their duties.

Drivers must use due care and reduce speed when passing such vehicles. Motorists must also move from the lane adjacent to the stopped vehicle if the lane is clear and it is safe to do so.

Drivers should also:

• Stay alert and minimize distractions.

• Follow signs and signals as soon as possible. Merge lanes as soon as possible to avoid bottlenecks.

• Use your headlights to help you to see and be seen. Some states require use of headlights in work zones.

• Follow the speed limits. Fines are doubled in work zones. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, at 50 mph. the stopping distance on a dry roadway is 300 ft.

Sharing the Road:

Drivers will be sharing the road with pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, and slow-moving vehicles. Remember that they have the right to be on the road, so watch for them.

• Don’t tailgate bicycles, and pass with care. Allow at least 4 feet between your vehicle and the cyclist when passing.

• Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and at corners, and watch for them when turning right on red.

• Look twice for motorcycles at intersections and when changing lanes. Motorcycles may be traveling faster than they appear, so allow plenty of room for them to maneuver.

• Large vehicles have blind spots directly behind them and along both sides. If you are driving behind a tractor-trailer or bus and you can’t see the side view mirrors, the driver can’t see you.

For more information about safe summer travel, please contact Mary Davison via phone at 315-379-2306, or via e-mail at mdavison@stlawco.org