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Driving on Long Island is not always easy. Suffolk County is so diverse that the conditions of the road can vary greatly. You have old New England communities mixed with new developments and construction, resulting in an interesting environment for drivers. You may find windy, hilly roads in the north shore,and densely populated roads on the south shore. In addition you’ll find narrow highways, potholes, and heavy traffic. Add to that an island full of aggressive New York drivers and you will notice the need to drive defensively to stay safe. Here are the top 5 biggest road hazards when driving in Suffolk County.
If you live or drive on the north shore of Long Island, you may encounter some very narrow roads. Some roads in older towns such as Northport or Huntington, are so narrow that two way traffic is barely possible without one car pulling over to make room. The best advice in handling these roads is to drive slowly and be observant. The only time to take your eyes off the road is to check your mirrors. Otherwise pay special attention at intersections and when an oncoming car is approaching.
Potholes are everywhere on Long Island. They seem to appear in great numbers in the winter, are repaired in the summer, and then reemerge on our roads in the winter. Therefore, drivers need to be constantly looking out for them. Not only do potholes damage tires, but they can cause cars to swerve or momentarily lose control. The best thing to do is to try to avoid them at all cost. If you can safely maneuver around a pothole it is in your best interest to do so. Additionally, regardless of whether or not you are able to maneuver around a pothole, you should always slow down if you see one in your lane. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and be careful when driving through puddles as they could hide potholes.
Aggressive drivers on Long Island are unavoidable. The only thing you can do to protect yourself is to drive defensively. When you encounter an aggressive driver on the road, it is important to stay calm. Staying calm will keep you alert so that you can safely anticipate what the other drivers are trying to do. If an aggressive driver challenges you, just be courteous and let them by. It is better to be safe than to try and teach them a lesson on the road.
Especially in New York, we have a tendency to always feel we are in a rush. Traffic can be so frustrating especially when it is unexpected. The best thing to do is to be patient. Getting upset or trying to make unsafe driving maneuvers is not going to make the traffic go away. It will only increase your chance of getting into an accident; which is a way more inconvenient situation. It’s also important to not let bumper to bumper traffic tempt you into getting distracted on the road. This isn’t a time to try and eat your food or to look at your phone. Staying patient and alert is essential to staying safe during traffic.
After a certain point in the year, a snowstorm could happen at any given moment. Driving in the snow or on black ice can be extremely dangerous. When the weather is especially bad, we recommend just staying home. If that is not an option, remember to drive as slow and as cautious as possible. Drastically increase your braking distance at intersections and stay a good 5 second distance behind cars. If someone in your family has a car with four-wheel drive, see if you can use that one if you are the only one driving.
About the Author
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.