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You're not allowed to run over pedestrians, and other rules of the road
September 18, 2012 - Liz Skoczylas
Let me preface this blog by saying that I, in no way shape or form, consider myself to be a good driver. I just do my best to follow the rules of the road.
In my profession, I spend a lot of time in my car, driving to interviews, meetings, events and appointments. I can also be found walking to many appointments, because the exercise is welcome after sitting at a desk most of the day, and paying for parking downtown annoys me.
Recently, New York state approved putting a crosswalk on Washington Street, near Chadakoin Park. Additionally, City Council approved putting a crosswalk on Allen Street near the Hospital's employee parking lot and Starflight.
Since I walk around downtown so much, I'll start with crosswalks.
According to dmv.ny.gov, "As a driver, you must use extra caution to avoid colliding with pedestrians. Regardless of the rules of the road or right-of-way, the law specifically requires you to exercise great care to avoid striking pedestrians."
This means... You aren't allowed to run over pedestrians. One time, as I was driving downtown, a very sweet young lady stepped off the curb, nowhere near a crosswalk or light, and crossed in front of my car while giving me a one-fingered wave. Although running her over was tempting, I did not, and I waited for her to cross.
Pedestrians have rules, too. They are required to obey pedestrian signals and traffic officers, use sidewalks when available and never stand in the road.
However, according to that first law I mentioned, where you aren't allowed to run them over, even if pedestrians don't follow their rules, you're still not supposed to hit them.
"Remember also that pedestrians legally crossing at intersections always have the right-of-way. Do not pull in front of or behind them or to "hurry them along" - wait until they are out of the intersection. Elderly and disabled pedestrians may require extra time to complete their crossings."
This is one of my favorites about crosswalks. The person using the crosswalk correctly should be on the opposite sidewalk before a vehicle crosses that crosswalk. I understand that people are busy and in a hurry, but coming within inches of a pedestrian just isn't safe.
Ok, moving on to driving a car. I used to text and drive all the time. However, back in June, I was lucky enough to attend an assembly at Clymer School about distracted driving. (Full article, here: http://www.post-journal.com/page/content.detail/id/605112/Plan-Of-Action.html)
For my job, I learn a lot every single day. And, honestly, being at that assembly really influenced me to put my cell phone down while I'm behind the wheel. According to a texting and driving campaign, "The average text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for nearly five seconds. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field. The message being conveyed is that texting while driving isn’t multitasking, it’s essentially driving blind."
There are a ton of other facts and figures about being safe on the road. But, all sarcasm and joking aside, we need to start looking out for each other while we're on the road. Getting to your destination 3 minutes quicker just isn't worth the cost of someone else's life. Pedestrians shouldn't be risking their own lives by not following the laws.
The facts and figures are scary. The number of distracted driving and car/pedestrian incidents we have in the city is devastating. Individuals are the ones that will have to make these changes.
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