Traffic Survival Tips
Words by Kristen Howard
Photos by Francois Portmann
New York City is chock-full of busy intersections and treacherous streets. Mothers with strollers, kids on razor scooters, taxi drivers, packs of tourists, and guys handing out “Free Tan” coupons are just a few of the many obstacles you may encounter on any given corner. As for the streets, expect sewer tops, pot-holes, and giant metal construction plates that can appear without warning. Ultimately, skating in traffic can be perilous, but it sure is fun. Here are several tips to avoid annihilation.
- Make eye contact with drivers. The only way to ensure that a driver/cabbie has seen you is for you to see them seeing you.
- Give them a friendly sign that does not involve your middle finger. The peace sign, or hands together in prayer, makes it much more difficult for drivers to run you over.
- Avoid eye contact with pedestrians. Pedestrians have a tendency to freeze-up, or shuffle left and right, if they see you coming. Better to stay quiet, pick your gap, and take it, stealth-style.
- Look all ways. Left, right, forwards, and backwards. Keep your head on a swivel because knowing what is coming up from behind you is just as important (if not more important) as seeing what lies ahead.
- Use all five senses, and save your Ipod for the subway. Noises like beeping horns, engines revving, whistles from bike messengers, and screeching tires are all important signs to help avoid a collision.
- If you are about to hit a car, think “up”. When you bail from your board, you’ll live a lot longer rolling over the hood of a car versus going under the wheels.
- Last, but not least, always wear a helmet to preserve your most vital organ.
Hopefully, these tips will prove helpful when navigating the city streets. Be aware, be safe, be assertive, and be courteous.