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Getting to work or school safely as a pedestrian

New York City is a great place to live, work and have fun, but it does have its risks. One of the risks is the heavy traffic in the city. Whether you're in a vehicle or walking, there's a real chance that you could be involved in a crash.

There are approximately 300 pedestrian fatalities each year in New York. How can you avoid getting into an accident? Here are three tips to consider.

1. Create a path to school or work

Get a route that you know and know well. It's a good idea to create a path with as few crossings as possible. Many accidents happen when people cross the road at intersections. Avoid crossing unless you absolutely have to. If and when you do need to cross, it's a good idea to cross with a group and only when the crossing signal makes it clear that you have the right of way. Look both ways before crossing, even if you have the right of way.

If there is no crosswalk, it's best to cross mid-block. If you plan to cross, make sure you signal to drivers that you intend to cross. It's best to wait until there is no traffic, but if that is not possible, be quick about crossing and make yourself visible to drivers.

2. Avoid walking at dawn or dusk

It's hard to see people in dim lighting, so avoid going to work or school when it's dawn or dusk, if your schedule allows. The sun sits low in the sky at these times, making it hard for drivers to see well. Additionally, these are busy times of the day when people are attempting to drive to work or come home, making them a greater hazard to you.

3. Use the buddy system

Although it seems like it wouldn't matter much, it's always a good idea to walk in pairs or with more people. Drivers are more likely to see pairs of people or groups than they are to see individuals. They're also more likely to slow down or brake if a group makes an error than if only a single person does, since it is perceived as a greater risk.

Walking with a group is also good because of the help you could receive if an accident does happen. With more people at the scene, there's usually at least one who can call for help while others assist the victim(s).

These are a few tips to help you stay safer when you're walking in New York. The city has the potential to be dangerous for pedestrians, but by crossing safely when you can and making yourself as visible as possible, it's less likely that you'll be involved in an accident.

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