Today is Election Day. While municipal elections generally experience lower turnout then state and local elections, there are still moments in time when polling places can be quite busy and there can be issues with traffic flow which could lead to a New Haven auto accident. If you’re heading out to perform your civic duty today, you will want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to remain safe.
Most polling places are not designed to contain the amount of traffic that they see on Election Day as many are schools or libraries or other municipal buildings that usually only house elections once every year. For this reason, there is often congestion and poor traffic flow in these areas which can lead to dangerous situations for you to be put in. While city officials try to do their best to encourage a positive traffic flow and keep the polling places moving to avoid major delays, there is only so much that they can do with the buildings that are being used for this purpose.
You may hear politicians talk about making a plan for Election Day and they are mainly talking about making sure you are planning to come out and vote. The plan we are talking about is to make sure you have a plan to get to and from the polling location safely and without incident. A good plan with steps that can keep you safe will make your voting experience a positive one instead of leaving a bad taste in your mouth after you get into an accident that causes property damage or an injury.
Here are some steps you should take to make sure your plan keeps you as safe as possible when you’re voting.
1.) Avoid polling places at peak times of the day. Voting often follows patterns with a large rush of people right when the polling place opens in the morning, a smaller rush of people at lunch time and a final rush of people between 5p-7p. The reason for this is of course that many people have to vote before or after they go to work or on their lunch break. If you can avoid these times it would be ideal. If your job will allow it you should head to the polling place around 10a when the early morning crowds have died down and the lunch rush has yet to take shape. If you can miss the crowds you will likely minimize your risk of getting into an accident.
2.) Slow down. Polling places are not just busy with other voters, but they are also often littered with signs from politicians who are seeking your vote and poll standers who are there to greet you and encourage you to vote for their candidate. This can make the entrance to the polling place quite crowded and cause confusion, especially when you are first arriving to try to find a place to park before you head in to place your vote. As with most situations, the faster you are traveling the more likely it is that you will get into an accident. You may want to get in and out of the polling place as fast as you can, we won’t blame you for that one, but take your time and drive slowly so you can make it in and out of the polling place without incident.
3.) Park further away from the entrance. While it can be tempting to park as close as you can to the polling location’s entrance you may want to park a few aisles over in the parking lot. Because parking lots for polling places are not designed to hold a full lot of vehicles they can often get crowded and especially if you’re trying to park next to a bigger vehicle you may be more likely to get into an accident while you’re parking your vehicle. If you’re able to walk a few feet to the polling place, you will be putting yourself in a much safer way if you can park a few aisles over where there may be fewer cars parked so you can comfortably fit into your spot and feel safe getting in and out of your vehicle.
Getting out to vote can be quite exciting as you’re helping guide the future of our city, but it can also present challenges as well. It would be a real shame if you were heading into a polling location to do your civic duty and you wound up getting into a New Haven auto accident. If you have a plan on how to stay safe when you visit your neighborhood polling location you will be in good shape to make sure you are able to cast your vote and then get home safely without any incidents.
If you go out and cast your vote today on Election Day and you take all of the precautions listed above but you still get into an accident and get injured you may need to speak with an attorney who has experience working on situations just like the one you are experiencing. Contact our office and one of our attorneys will review your situation and work with you on protecting your long-term interests.