We all want to be safe when we're out walking. This time of year, shorter days mean it's harder to see-and be seen-when you're walking in the early morning or evening hours.
While the number of pedestrian deaths is down from 2017, New Jersey sees a high number of pedestrian fatalities. There were approximately 180 deaths in 2018, so both drivers and pedestrians need to be vigilant and aware when on the roadways.
New Jersey pedestrian law
Road safety is a concern for all of us and New Jersey has tough laws to protect pedestrians. The law states:
- The driver of a vehicle must stop and stay stopped for a pedestrian crossing the roadway in a marked crosswalk.
- A vehicle needs to yield for a pedestrian crossing at an unmarked intersection.
- When a vehicle is stopped to let a pedestrian cross, another vehicle coming from behind is not allowed to pass.
- If a pedestrian enters the roadway at any other point than a marked or unmarked crosswalk, they must yield to vehicles.
Drivers violating these laws face steep fines, points on their driving record and potential community service. Pedestrians are also required to obey traffic signals and cross at intersections. Pedestrian violations come with a $54 fine.
Stay safe when walking
While there are tough laws for motorists regarding pedestrians, pedestrians need to be proactive and look out for themselves. The state wants the community to know that pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility between both drivers and pedestrians-we all play a part in keeping the roadways safe.
When you're out walking, be cognizant and follow these tips:
- Cross at corners and marked crosswalks when available.
- Obey traffic signage and crosswalk "Walk/Don't Walk" messages.
- Make eye contact with drivers before you cross to ensure they see you.
- Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.
- Look left, right, then left again before entering the roadway.
- Pay attention. Don't use your phone and/or headphones.
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable of road users. If you're out enjoying a walk, follow the rules of the road and proceed with caution.