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.

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 y…

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 many …

An article 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 …

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.

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 eighth while others not until the 21st. Since schools were closed because of COVID 19 and education was continued virtually with …

Driver mistakes play a role in virtually all crashes. That’s why automation has been held up as a potential game changer for safety. But autonomous vehicles might prevent only around a third of all crashes if automated systems drive too much like people, according to a new study from the Ins…

When spring comes, we can’t wait until the New York State Department of Transportation repaints the lines in the road. It makes driving so much easier. Pavement markings are used to guide and regulate traffic. They can improve the safety of a highway and inform the driver without diverting a…

Every day as I drive in the village of Malone, where there are several miles of four-lane streets and roads, I cannot drive more than a couple of blocks without watching at least one driver change lanes without using his/her turn signal. And, the number of drivers that fail to use their turn…

For those of you that are regular readers of these weekly articles on vehicle and traffic law and traffic safety, you know that my position, like many others in traffic safety, is not to use the word “accident” when referring to traffic crashes. Indeed, they are crashes or collisions, not ac…

In the June 1 “Did You Know” article, I offered readers a chance to send me questions they wanted answers to. Last week’s article dealt with several of those questions. Today, I will address another inquiry that I received about E-ZPass and how it works.

In the June 1 “Did You Know” article, I offered readers a chance to send me questions they wanted answers to. And, I got them. They weren’t all about vehicle and traffic law (VTL) but included questions on several subjects that they were interested in. Although I replied to most of them dire…

Traffic experts know that it isn’t just speed that causes crashes but rather the difference in speed between two vehicles. In Franklin County, two contributors to speed differential are agriculture operations (farms) and Amish families. Both operate slow-moving vehicles on our local highways…

Bicycles with electric assist (“e-bikes”) are now allowed in New York state under Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL), effective April 3. A new VTL section 102-c has been added to define e-bikes as a bicycle which is no more than 36 inches wide, has an electric motor of less than 750 watts, is equ…

I recently had an email from a farm family that asked for clarification on whether Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs), also known as Cargo All-Terrain Vehicles (CATV), could be operated on a town road if used exclusively for farm purposes. The last time I addressed the issue of UTVs was in Novembe…

I have heard rumors that most enforcement agencies, including New York State Police, weren’t stopping speeders and other violators due to COVID-19 and also because some local courts were not handling disposition of vehicle and traffic (VTL) tickets. I have even heard speak of drivers speedin…

The first of these weekly articles on vehicle and traffic law (VTL) and traffic safety was published in the last week of January 2007. At that time I agreed to do an article per week for at least one year and then review the project. Now, after over 13 years and nearly 700 articles, I am now…

It has been said that in Upstate New York there are only two seasons – winter and road construction. Well, winter is over, so it must be road construction season. That replaces snowy and icy roads with work zones, construction equipment, lane closures, flagmen, and delays for drivers.

Last month, two of these traffic safety articles dealt with bicycling – one about the National Transportation Safety Board asking for policy overhauls to increase the safety of bicyclists and stop the ever-increasing fatalities and injuries caused by vehicle/bicycle crashes, and the second a…

With significantly less traffic because of the “stay home” mandates and the “not much is open and no place to go” atmosphere that we are currently living in, you would expect crashes, injuries, and fatalities would be significantly less that pre-COVID-19 times. But, that is not necessarily t…

The COVID-19 virus has put the world in turmoil, with exercise and social distancing both being necessary. Bicycling can accomplish both at the same time. But bicycling (and pedestrian) fatalities have been on the rise nationally for the past decade.

As we move through the month of April, bicycle season is just around the corner. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for a major policy overhaul to combat the rise in bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles, according to an article in the Insurance Institute f…

Last fall, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) challenged residents to make up their own lighthearted safety signs. After receiving hundreds of submissions, GDOT announced the winners, and some of them are really hilarious. They reminded me of the old Burma Shave signs from the ’…

This is part of a story as told by Michael Gartner, now in his early 80s and former president of NBC News.

There’s almost nothing good coming from the COVID-19 coronavirus, but there could be one potential positive thing – we should have fewer automobile fatalities. With schools and colleges closed, restaurants limited to takeout only, public gatherings limited to a handful of people, all major s…

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) crash testing has led to lifesaving improvement in occupant protection since it was introduced in 2003. The program has been so successful that the side ratings for current models are no longer helping consumers distinguish among vehicles o…

On Friday, Feb. 7, there was a major snowstorm in much of upstate New York, with Franklin County getting around 15-20 inches. Most of that Friday saw intense snowfall, with accumulating snow on our roads despite constant plowing by the various highway departments.

Last week’s article touted the safety benefits of roundabouts versus traditional intersection traffic controls such as stop signs and traffic signal lights. Today’s article is based on information found in the Jan. 12 edition of The Villages Daily Sun newspaper, and discusses roundabouts in …

I have written at least a half-dozen of these articles touting the benefits of roundabouts, especially the safety factor. Still, in the five-county area (Lewis, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Clinton) of New York State Department of Transporation Region 7, which has a population of 3…

Last week’s article presented 20 questions on vehicle and traffic law (VTL) and traffic safety. Hopefully you took the test and kept your answers handy. This article repeats the questions and includes the answers. See how you did.

An annual winter feature of the weekly “Did You Know” articles is a 20-question quiz on vehicle and traffic law (VTL) and traffic control devices (TCDs). The first 10 questions are true/false and questions 11-20 are multiple choice. If you follow the weekly Did You Know articles, you should …

Recently, a prominent local resident was telling me that she was recently stopped by a state trooper because she hadn’t turned on her headlights during a rainstorm. Although she was not ticketed, she admitted that she didn’t know it was a requirement to drive with full headlights in rain and…

A regular reader of these traffic safety articles recently contacted me to ask about the use of the four-way hazard lights on vehicles when driving in snow and/or fog. His gripe was that a driver he was following was driving with his/her hazard lights flashing; since these lights are quite b…

We live in the northern part of New York state, and I have never seen a winter when it didn’t snow and, of course, cause roads to become slippery. OK, I’m being facetious, but my point is that if we choose to live in Franklin County, we must drive on roads that are slippery and difficult to …

It’s hard to believe that car systems designed to make driving safer and easier are placing drivers in danger, but a new study by the AAA Foundation finds this is the case. Adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping-assist technologies lull drivers into letting their guard down, which puts the…

I recently had an inquiry from a driver who had purchased a light bar for his jeep. The light bar was composed of both amber and white lights. The white lights were designed for off-road use, and the amber lights consisted of three lights in the center of the light bar plus one amber light o…

Last week’s “Did You Know” article was about the illegality of stopping on a crosswalk. The article included a picture, repeated with this article, of a car stopped right on a painted crosswalk along with the front of another vehicle just prior to the crosswalk. The thrust of the article was…

Note the picture of the green car in the left lane on Main Street (U.S. Route 11) in the village of Malone. This eastbound car is waiting for the red light at Harrison Place, but is right on the crosswalk. This driver is in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) section 1202 (a) 1d, whic…

Last week’s Did You Know article was about those who work in enforcement correcting dangerous or unsafe driving habits, and I used my two speeding tickets in 1967 as what it took to modify my “speed limit plus 10” driving habit. Today, I will tell about what can happen when enforcement fails…

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.

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 da…

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 oncomin…

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 tr…