According to the New York Department of Health, nearly 300 pedestrians die in accidents involving motor vehicles in New York State annually. Another 15,000 pedestrians are injured by motorists each year. Pedestrians don’t have seat belts. They don’t wear helmets when they walk across the street to grab coffee. There is nothing protecting them from the devastating impact of a car crash, and as such, they are particularly vulnerable in the event of a collision.
While pedestrians and motorists must follow all New York traffic laws to prevent accidents, there are proactive ways drivers can help reduce pedestrian accidents in New York. At Finz & Finz, P.C., our legal team has seen first-hand the catastrophic effects of pedestrian accidents in our community. As such, we want to help educate drivers and give them tips to help protect themselves and vulnerable pedestrians on New York streets.
How Drivers Can Reduce Pedestrian Accidents in New York
The best way to help reduce pedestrian accidents in New York is to avoid distractions and remain aware of your surroundings. Many pedestrian accidents are caused by driver error. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second is all it takes to cause an accident that changes someone else’s life forever.
The state has laws on the book to protect pedestrians by dictating right-of-way and controlling traffic flow. Learning and following New York traffic laws can go a long way in helping to prevent pedestrian accidents on local roadways. Here are some specific tips to keep in mind the next time you get behind the wheel:
- Avoid all distractions – Safely operating a vehicle is hard work that requires complete focus. Do not text or use a cell phone, and avoid eating, drinking, grooming, loud music, and other potential distractions. Data from the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee shows that distracted driving is the number one contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes in New York.
- Don’t try to beat the light – It’s tempting to hit the gas and make it through a yellow or even red light when you are in a hurry or want to avoid traffic. However, for your safety and the safety of your fellow New Yorkers, never try to beat the light. Slow down and stop.
- Never block intersections or crosswalks – Do not block crosswalks or intersections with your vehicle. Doing so means pedestrians have to walk further into the street to avoid your car, which can lead to accidents with other drivers.
- Proceed with caution in school zones and neighborhoods – Use extra caution when entering school zones and areas where children frequently congregate. Slow down and avoid distractions. Never attempt to pass school buses when they deploy their stop sign and flashing lights.
- Slow down – Obey all posted speed limits, especially in school zones and near playgrounds and public parks. A report from NYC Health suggests that children are at a particularly high risk of death in car-vs.-pedestrian collisions
- Use caution when entering or exiting roadways – Pedestrians have the right of way when entering or exiting a road. Vehicles entering or exiting alleyways, private roads, and driveways must yield to approaching pedestrians. Always look both ways and stay aware of your surroundings.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections – According to New York traffic laws, pedestrians have the right of way in all marked crosswalks and intersections with marked or unmarked crosswalks. Drivers must stop for pedestrians even when they have the green light. They should exercise additional caution at crosswalks and intersections by looking both ways, especially when attempting to turn right on a red light.
Many pedestrian accidents in New York happen in part because the driver did not see the pedestrian until it was too late. Motorists must remain vigilant, and pedestrians should do their best to stay in sight.
What Can Pedestrians Do to Protect Themselves?
Pedestrians can also take steps to help prevent disastrous collisions with motor vehicles by:
- Avoiding distractions – Like drivers, pedestrians should also avoid distractions when negotiating traffic, such as loud music and cell phones. These distractions make it harder to notice and react to motor vehicles around them.
- Look before you walk – Always look in each direction before crossing the street. Follow the left, right, right rule and check over your shoulder for turning vehicles.
- Make eye contact – Always make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road. Making eye contact lets you know the driver can see you before entering an intersection or crosswalk.
- Obey New York traffic laws – New York traffic laws also apply to pedestrians. Learn when you have the right of way and when to use additional caution. Only cross the street at intersections and designated crosswalks.
- Stay visible – Another common cause of pedestrian accidents is poor visibility. Wear light-colored or reflective clothing if you’re out walking in unusual places after dark. Stick to sidewalks whenever possible.
Common Injuries Related to New York Pedestrian Accidents
New York drivers must do their part to help prevent pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accidents can cause catastrophic and life-altering injuries, leading to physical impairments, mental health issues, and financial instability. Some of the most common injuries related to New York pedestrian accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Internal injuries
- Organ damage
- Road rash
- Soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
Unfortunately, these injuries can also prove fatal, especially for small children.
Contact an Experienced New York Pedestrian Accident Attorney for Help
Pursuing compensation after a New York pedestrian accident can be challenging. Working with a knowledgeable New York pedestrian accident attorney can increase your chances of recovering the money you deserve. The legal team with Finz & Finz, P.C. knows what it takes to build a strong New York pedestrian accident case, and we look forward to putting our experience and skills to work on your behalf.