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Pedestrian Safety During a Pandemic

The weather is getting nicer and nicer, and with the majority of New Yorkers being quarantined in their houses, many are spending a small part of their day going outside for a walk to get some fresh air. In fact, in some areas, it seems there are more pedestrians on the streets than before the pandemic. Additionally, many are walking their dogs at various times throughout the day rather than before and after work. While it is good to be outside, and to get some physical activity, it is very important to still be cautious. It would be wrong to assume that since most people are home, that there is no reason to be careful when walking around the neighborhood. Here are some safety tips for pedestrians this Spring.

Practice Social Distancing

We have stressed this before and we will stress this again, we all need to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus. As time goes on, we can’t allow ourselves to be more lenient with these, as the virus is still spreading especially here in New York. If you are going out for a walk, remember to stay far away from everyone else. Six feet is the recommendation, but if you can distance yourself further, that is in your best interest. Wearing a mask is also recommended, especially if you think you will run into other pedestrians.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

Use Sidewalks. Always walk on sidewalks if available. If possible, only walk on streets with sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk present, walk against the flow of traffic so that you are visible to drivers. Stay as far off the road as possible in these instances.

Use crosswalks when crossing the streets. If there is a crossing light, follow its instructions. When you do cross, even if the crossing light says it is safe to cross, keep your eyes on the road as you do so.

Avoid Distractions. Avoid looking at your phone, especially when walking in parking lots or crossing the street. Refrain from wearing headphones so you can hear when cars are present. Avoiding distractions also allows you to stay a safe distance away from other pedestrians.

For Drivers

Drivers are especially responsible for being observant of pedestrians. They should not think that just because there is less traffic, that there are less reasons to drive defensively.

Be observant. Look out for pedestrians throughout the day, remembering that everyone is home. Take extra caution when around residential areas. Always slow down when approaching a crosswalk.

Observe the Speed Limit. It is the driver’s responsibility to follow these posted speed limits. If a pedestrian unexpectedly crosses the street and you are speeding, you do not have the time to react and prevent a pedestrian accident. Many crosswalks in Long Island do not have a crossing guard or light, so it is up to the driver to follow the laws of the road.

Do Not Rush. It is much easier to drive defensively when you aren’t running late. If you are still going to work, there is likely less traffic on your commute. Use that extra time to be a safe and defensive driver. If you are going out to run an errand for your family, there is no reason to rush either.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.