FULTON, NY – With winter weather approaching and the snowy and slippery road conditions that go with it, the Fulton Police Department wants to remind motorists to follow the rules of the road.
Some of the following reminders should be common sense, others may be confusing or unknown to some motorists.
The most obvious of those rules in bad road conditions is to make sure motorists leave enough space between vehicles when driving.
There is no clearly defined distance or formula to determine what a safe distance is, but a number of factors need to be weighed.
The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law states, “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the roadway.”
In other words, drivers are expected to leave more room when the speed of traffic is faster, when the volume of traffic is heavier and when the road conditions are more hazardous such as wet or snow and ice covered roads.
The combination of slippery road conditions and being distracted, especially by talking on a cell phone or texting, greatly increases the chances of being involved in a crash, especially rear-end collisions.
Another obvious rule is, when stopped at a traffic signal only begin moving again when your light turns green and the vehicles in front of you begin moving.
At multi-lane intersections, the turning lane sometimes receives an advanced green arrow while the straight lane still has a red light.
It is too often seen that a motorists sees the traffic begin to move beside them and they instinctively begin to move as well only to find that their light has not turned and they have run into the back of the vehicle in front of them.
This is a particular problem for northbound traffic on State Route 481 at State Route 3.
One of the rules that motorists are sometimes unaware of is that when turning at a multi-lane intersection you must turn into your closest lane.
This seems to be a particular problem again at State Route 481 at State Route 3 and also for traffic turning onto the Broadway Bridge.
Turning into the closest lane, instead of making a wider turn into the further lane, allows for vehicles to turn from opposite directions at the same time and helps facilitate smoother moving traffic.
The other rule that has been found to cause traffic backups and hazards is motorists proceeding into an intersection controlled by a traffic signal when the traffic in front of them is not moving.
When this happens vehicles can become trapped in the middle of an intersection blocking traffic in all directions.
This had been a big problem during the Broadway Bridge construction when traffic was more congested; but it still continues to be a problem.
A vehicle may have a green light however if the traffic is not moving ahead of them and they enter the intersection they may block the intersection when the light for the other direction of traffic turns green.
This can completely block the intersection and no traffic can move.
Signs have been put in place on State Route 481 and Oneida Street stating “Do Not Block Side Roads” as a reminder to motorists however the problem continues there and at other intersections in the city.
These four examples are all violations of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law however more importantly they are driving behaviors that increase the chance of vehicle crashes and injuries.
These are especially dangerous behaviors when the roads are slippery with snow and ice and vehicles have worse steering and stopping capabilities.
As always, please take your time on our roadways and drive carefully.