How to stay safe as a pedestrian in New York

Being a pedestrian anywhere in the state of New York can be a harrowing and dangerous experience. You may have to deal with large crowds of other walkers or traffic that can be in too much of a hurry. Maybe those drivers are more interested in their phones than the road you are trying to cross. Since parking in one place and walking is more convenient than driving from place to place, you are likely to find yourself walking a lot as a resident of New York.

In the state of New York, there is an average of 312 deaths a year due to pedestrian and vehicle-related accidents. It is estimated that there are also more than 12,000 hospital visits each year due to traffic-related accidents with a pedestrian.

To help you stay safe, here are the basic laws to remember as a pedestrian in New York:

  • Obey all signs, traffic lights and markings on the pavement as you are crossing a street.
  • Drivers must always yield right-of-way to pedestrians, even if there is not a traffic light and especially if there is a crosswalk.
  • As a pedestrian, you are never allowed to be on an interstate or expressway.
  • Drivers must yield right-of-way to people using canes or using the assistance of a guide dog at intersections and crosswalks.
  • Pedestrians must yield to traffic if they are in the middle of a block with no crosswalk or traffic signals.
  • Traffic coming out of alleys, driveways or a private road must yield to pedestrians on a sidewalk.
  • If there is a sidewalk for pedestrians, they should use it. If there is not a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.

One of the most important ways to stay safe as a pedestrian is to be alert at all times. You should not assume the intentions of drivers or assume that you can be seen. You should also be extra careful while crossing the street during inclement weather. Not only will it take drivers longer to stop, but if you are holding an umbrella, your ability to see oncoming traffic can be hampered. Even if the weather is not bad, it can take a vehicle going 30 mph up to 125 feet to stop, so this means darting out into the street to cross can be dangerous.

The easiest way to stay safe while walking is to stay alert and always obey traffic laws. Injuries sustained when a car hits a pedestrian can cause lifetime ailments or even death.