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The Most Dangerous Roads on Long Island

Anyone who lives on Long Island is familiar with Long Island traffic. All of those cars and all of that traffic is often accompanied with motor vehicle accidents. Long Island is a unique area in that it has higher amounts of traffic because of its proximity to the city, as well as more serious accidents because it has more highways and higher speed limits than the city. News 12 stated that seven out of the ten most dangerous roads in the state of New York are on Long Island. This is not surprising.

While New York City is packed with cars and people, the cars move pretty slowly due to heavy traffic. In fact, many who live in the city seldom own a car due to the availability and practicality of public transportation. Only very popular roads, such as Broadway, really pose a threat as being dangerous due to the sheer number of pedestrians populating the streets. The rest of the state of New York is far more widespread, and much less populated. So although Upstate has many highways, it is not heavily populated. Long Island however, has that perfect combination of dense population and an abundance of major roads.

What Makes Long Island Roads Dangerous?

The most dangerous roads on Long Island include Jericho Turnpike, Sunrise Highway, Wicks Road, Hempstead Turnpike, Middle Country Road, Route 110 and Merrick Rd. Jericho Turnpike (Route 25) is reported to be the most dangerous for pedestrians (based on a 2014 report), with approximately half of all pedestrian accident deaths occurring between Centerreach and Ridge. The reason a road like Jericho Turnpike has so many pedestrian accidents is due to the fact that its purpose is designed to serve as a high volume road for residential and commercial areas.

Notice that many of these roads, including Jericho Turnpike, aren’t highways. While a road like the Northern State Parkway has a higher speed limit at 55mph, it is a straight highway with only entrances and exits (and no pedestrians). Roads like Jericho, Wicks and 110 however, have stoplights, crosswalks, sidewalks, parking lots, shopping centers, center turning lanes, and many intersections. Because these roads are very commercial, they are very busy and have higher speed limits. All these factors play into why more accidents occur on these roads. Ultimately, drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists all need to exercise caution when driving on these roads. Here are some safety tips for each.

Safety Tips for Drivers:

  • Never use your phone while driving – eliminate all distractions as these types of roads require the most focus
  • Observe the speed limit – these high activity roads are hectic enough, makes you unprepared for unexpected stops or pedestrians.
  • Avoid Tailgating – cars will often be slowing down to make turns into a business parking lot so having a safe braking distance is vital
  • Be Cautious at  Shopping Centers – these areas are high activity, and many cars slow down to turn into them. Additionally, pedestrians could be walking around.
  • Be extremely careful when passing a bicycle
  • Slow down at every crosswalk
  • Slow down at bus stops – Sometimes pedestrians will run across the street to get to a bus stop.
  • Use caution at middle lanes – Some of these roads have merging lanes in between the flows of traffic to allow cars to enter or exit a business or parking lot safely. Don’t use them to pass other cars, be very careful when merging back into the main road and don’t merge into these lanes to get into a turning lane faster.

Safety tips for Bicyclists & Motorcyclists

  • Avoid these roads if possible – These roads are the most dangerous for Cyclists. They are very chaotic and very dangerous for both bicycles and motorcycles.
  • Make yourself predictable for motorists by riding with the flow of traffic, by staying on the right side of the road and by not weaving in and out of parked vehicles.
  • Avoid wearing headphones – you lose your ability to hear approaching vehicles.
  • Slow down and check for traffic before entering an intersection or street
  • Ride defensively – even if you have the right away, some drivers don’t know how to share the road with bicycles.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

  • Always walk on sidewalks – if no sidewalk is present, walk against the flow of traffic
  • Be visible when walking in parking lots – avoid walking behind cars that are backing up
  • Use crosswalks when crossing the street – keep your eyes on the road as you cross and follow the instructions of the crosswalk lights
  • Avoid looking at your phone especially when walking in parking lots or crossing the street
  • Refrain from wearing headphones as they serve as distractions

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.