6 tips for pedestrian safety in New York

Pedestrian accidents in New York often result in serious injuries or death, but there are things walkers and joggers can do to help improve their safety.

Unfortunately, motor vehicle collisions involving pedestrians occur all too often on Staten Island, and throughout New York. In fact, there were more than 14,000 pedestrian accidents across the state in 2014, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. These crashes resulted in 269 deaths and more than 15,000 people suffered injuries. Not all pedestrian accidents can be prevented, but there are things walkers and joggers can do to help improve their safety.

Use designated areas for crossing

Some collisions involving pedestrians occur because drivers do not see or are not expecting to encounter pedestrians. In order to help avoid such crashes, it is advisable that walkers and joggers only cross the street at designated crosswalks or intersections. In such areas, drivers may be more attentive, which may reduce their risk of being struck by a vehicle.

Walk in safe areas

When walking or jogging in New York, people are recommended to always use the sidewalk or other designated paths. If there is no sidewalk available, they should walk on the shoulder of the road or as far to the side as possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that pedestrians should face traffic, unlike bikers who are advised to ride with traffic. This may help them increase their visibility, and thus, improve their safety. It is also suggested that walkers and joggers stay in well-lit areas at night.

Wear visible clothing

The more visible pedestrians are to drivers, the less likely they are to be struck by a vehicle. The AAA Exchange advises people to wear clothes that are reflective or lightly colored if they are walking or jogging at night. During the day, it is recommended that pedestrians wear brightly colored clothes.

Avoid distractions

While they are checking their email, sending a text message or are otherwise engaged in distracting behaviors, pedestrians may not see vehicles or developing situations on the road. It is important for people to pay attention to what is going on around them and refrain from using their phones while they are walking or jogging. The AAA Exchange suggests that pedestrians also avoid using headphones so they are able to hear what is happening.

Obey the rules and signals

Traffic rules, signs and signals are implemented and utilized to help maintain order on the roads. Pedestrians are recommended to be familiar with the laws and regulations and to follow them. Having an understanding of the rules may help people anticipate what drivers will do, which may reduce their risk of being hit by an automobile and suffering serious injuries.

Do not drink and walk

According to the AAA Exchange, alcohol consumption by the pedestrian is involved in 34 percent of all fatal or injury pedestrian accidents. Drinking may decrease people's judgment, slow their physical reflexes or cause other impairments. This can be just as dangerous on foot as it is behind the wheel.

Seeking legal guidance

When pedestrians are struck by vehicles in New York, and elsewhere, they may suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and care. This may lead to lost wages while they are recovering and unexpected medical bills. Depending on the circumstances, however, the driver involved may be held liable for those, and other resulting damages. Therefore, people who have been injured in a pedestrian accident may benefit from working with an attorney to understand their rights and options for pursuing financial justice.