No other big city captures the idyllic spirit of the holidays better than New York City at Christmastime. Whether you are heading into the city, from a couple of hours away, to check out the tree at Rockefeller Center Plaza, visit Santa at Macy’s, pick up a few gifts for the kids at FAO Schwartz, or see a holiday-themed Broadway show, there’s plenty to do with little time to spare and a lot of distractions to catch your eye as you navigate the busy streets. Don’t let a distracted driving related accident ruin your holiday spirit and wintery magic in the big city.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road, Not the Glitz
When entering the city, you may experience the most overwhelming, awesome sight straight out of the movies. Tall skyscrapers, sidewalks filled with people, culture and diversity on every block. Whether you are trying to find the best route to an ice skating rink or playing a family game of “How Many Santas Can You Spot?” it’s important to keep your eyes on the road. The traffic, in the city, moves slowly and unexpectedly and you will most likely be battling with taxis, buses, and delivery trucks for a strip of asphalt. NYC is a pedestrian heavy city so it’s particularly important to look for any pedestrians who might seem to appear out of nowhere. Regardless if they are crossing during a flashing “Don’t Walk”, the pedestrian has the right of way. According to New York’s Department of Transportation, dangerous driving accounts for about 40% of people killed in car accidents in NYC.
Many drivers assume that distracted driving starts and ends at texting/talking while driving and while it is one of the most common and deadly distractions, any activity that takes your attention from the activity of driving is deemed a distraction. The following activities should be done outside of the car, not behind the wheel. If you engage in any of them, you are a distracted driver:
- Eating or Drinking:
Even if you were lucky enough to get the coveted “Cronut”, you shouldn’t eat or drink while driving. Imagine trying to search for delectable pastry flakes on your lap while navigating through busy streets; not a good idea.
- Using GPS:
Thought Katz’s Delicatessen was just down the block? What does GPS say? NYC is big place condensed into a small space, there’s a lot to do and unless you’re a native of the city, a map is required to get around. A GPS is helpful with its “hands-free” feature, but you should always plan out your trip before driving.
- Any Cellphone Use:
You already know that talking or texting while driving is deadly, but how about that handy smartphone camera? Save the Instagram “selfies” for when you get out of the car and actually have an interesting backdrop (not a seatbelt or car window).
Family trips are designed to created memories. Before you hit the streets, kindly remind your kids that you need them to stay quiet, especially when you are trying to keep your cool while merging or getting through an intersection before the light changes. It might be difficult to ignore, “Oh! Oh! Look over there…look at that…no! Over there!” but it’s best, for everyone’s safety, to keep your eyes on the road.
The holiday season in a big city is truly an unforgettable experience, sure to bring a tiny bit of joy to the “Grinchiest” of hearts. Remember your holiday trip for the good memories, not for a tragic accident due to distractions.