In any accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more likely to be injured than the driver or passengers in the vehicle. As a driver, knowing that you struck and injured a pedestrian can be devastating, even if the accident was not your fault. As a pedestrian, one lapse in concentration could lead to significant or permanent injury. Both drivers and pedestrians can reduce the chance of accidents by following some safety tips.
New York Law requires all vehicles to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Although pedestrians are required to observe traffic signals when crossing a street, they may not do so. Extra caution should be taken whenever approaching a crosswalk, even when no pedestrian is immediately visible.
Vehicles on both sides of any road, even a divided highway, must stop when a school bus has its flashing lights on and STOP sign deployed. Even after the bus turns its lights off and begins moving, drivers should be aware that children may be darting out into the road. Whenever a school bus is nearby, assume that children may make unexpected and sudden movements.
Drivers should also be aware of the presence of children and animals in residential neighborhoods. The 25-mph speed limit may even be too fast in some circumstances, especially when parked cars line both sides of the street in icy or wet weather and after school buses have dropped off children.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way in designated crosswalks but are required to observe traffic signals. If there is a “walk” sign, wait until it is lit to cross. If there is no “walk” signal, wait until there is ample time for you to cross the road before proceeding.
Do not assume that traffic will stop for you, even in a crosswalk. Always be on the lookout for vehicles.
Do not use your phone for texting or web browsing while walking.
Even if you have the right-of-way, do not cross in front of oncoming traffic. Drivers may be distracted and not see you; it is more important to be safe than to be right.
What to Do After an Accident
If you strike a pedestrian, DO NOT leave the scene, even if the person appears uninjured. If the person leaves the scene, try to get their name and contact information before they leave. Take down the names and contact information of any witnesses if the person leaves the scene.
If you are struck by a vehicle, even if you believe you are not injured, get the contact information of the driver.
If the driver leaves the scene, get the car’s license number if possible. If not, note as many details about the vehicle as you can.
Get checked out by a doctor, even if you do not immediately feel hurt. Some injuries do not show symptoms right away.