When you are out walking, you should feel relatively safe and protected from harm as long as you obey the New Jersey statutes that apply to pedestrians.
Of course, the flip side of that situation is that you are only as safe as the drivers around you. If they flout the safety laws, you could be in real jeopardy.
You may not realize that our state has a great deal more pedestrian deaths and injuries per capita from auto accidents than most other states. There are a trio of high-risk groups whose members are most vulnerable to these incidents:
- The elderly
- Non-English speaking people
Drivers must follow pedestrian safety laws
If you are a pedestrian here in New Jersey, you have certain rights as well as responsibilities. New Jersey drivers have to stop in the road and let pedestrians proceed in the crosswalk if it’s marked on the road. Even if there are no markings on the road, traffic still must yield when pedestrians are crossing the intersection.
The cars and trucks behind the first vehicle at the intersection are also prohibited from overtaking the lead car and passing when someone on foot is attempting to cross.
Pedestrian responsibilities keep them safer
Pedestrians must remain proactive about traffic safety. As such, they cannot exit the sidewalk or curb into moving traffic where the drivers can’t stop. Also, unless you are a pedestrian at a crosswalk or crossing at an unmarked intersection, you have to yield the right of way to all traffic. That’s why it is so dangerous to cross the street mid-block. Just walk the few feet to the corner and cross legally and safely.
Pedestrians also need to remain aware of their surroundings while walking. That means putting away the cellphone and watching where you are walking. Also, only attempt to walk to your destination when sober. Many of the fatal pedestrian accidents happen when a pedestrian is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
What happens if a driver breaks these traffic laws?
Most cases are resolved by paying a fine of as much as $200. But you also could wind up having to do as many as 15 days of community service and get two points against your New Jersey driver’s license.
If a driver is negligent and winds up striking you with their vehicle, your injuries could be extensive and perhaps leave you permanently disabled. You have the right to turn to the New Jersey courts for civil justice after a pedestrian accident.