Anyone who has spent even a little time in New York City knows it’s a city where getting through the crowded streets is a challenge. Cars, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, taxis, motorcycles, electric scooters and pedestrians all navigate busy Manhattan roads, making it no surprise when you see an accident on the way into work.
If you drive in the city, you’ll be glad to know that the number of traffic deaths is down in New York—reaching the lowest level in 2018 in more than a century. Yet the number of pedestrian deaths is up—from 107 in 2017 to 114 in 2018. While some of that increase may be due to the number of pedestrians walking while also paying attention to their cell phones, it could be for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, it never hurts for drivers and pedestrians both to review some safety tips about sharing the road.
Pedestrian safety tips
Here are a few of them for pedestrians:
- Obey all traffic signals and only cross the road at sidewalks, where drivers are expecting pedestrian traffic.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Do your best to make eye contact with a driver before you start to cross the road.
- Always stay alert. Don’t have headphones on with blaring music. You need to hear the traffic around you. Also, don’t be glued to your cell phone—you most likely will miss noticing a car that isn’t stopping to let you cross.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting parking ramps, parking lots, driveways or alleys.
- Stay in well-lit areas, especially at night, so motorists can see you.
- Avoid alcohol consumption. According to AAA, almost half of pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption—when judgment and decision-making skills are impaired.
Driver safety tips
Here are safety tips for drivers to follow:
- Always watch for pedestrians, especially at intersections and crosswalks.
- Follow posted speed limits, especially in school zones. Driving slower gives you more time to react if a pedestrian appears suddenly.
- Have your lights on in bad weather so pedestrians can see you.
- Pull in and out of driveways or parking entrances carefully—watching for pedestrians who may not realize you are entering the roadway.
- Do not pass any vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. Most likely, they are stopped for a pedestrian who is crossing.
- Don’t drive drunk or drive distracted by your phone—you easily can miss seeing a pedestrian or having enough time to avoid a pedestrian if your reaction time is impaired.
Following these guidelines will make an accident less likely—something both drivers and pedestrians will be grateful for.