Apr 15, 2024

How to Drive Safely Around NYC

blurred yellow taxi speeding past historic Flatiron Building at dusk in New York City

The prospect of driving in New York City can be a dreaded and nerve-wracking task. The constant traffic, jaywalking pedestrians, construction detours, and oversized shipping vehicles can all force you to make panicked decisions.

There is a lot to be aware of when driving in NYC, especially when you are a new driver. However, by following these helpful tips, you might be more likely to survive the treacherous task of driving in New York City.

Watch Out for Pedestrians Jumping Out in Front of You

Pedestrian injuries and deaths from city motorists are up this year, compared to 2015.

In order to prevent any accidents with pedestrians, be aware of your surroundings at all times behind the wheel. Make eye contact with pedestrians who may be attempting to risk crossing the street when you have the light to proceed. You also can lightly tap your horn to warn pedestrians who may be distracted or have their AirPods in their ears.

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero View crash data map, there have been 68 pedestrian deaths and 5,968 injuries from vehicles in 2016 alone.

Don't Panic Around City Vehicles

City vehicles provide various important services for NYC but can also make newer drivers anxious. Sanitation trucks can cause traffic by blocking intersections and streets, which can make impatient drivers try to create their own path around the vehicle or—in worst cases—lash out violently at the sanitation workers. When you encounter a sanitation truck that is blocking traffic, stay in your vehicle and calmly wait until the truck clears the road to proceed.

Ambulances can also impede traffic and even cause accidents with drivers. As of June 2016, there have been 1,056 ambulance collisions compared to 806 in 2015, according to the New York Post. If you are stuck in traffic and there is an ambulance behind you, the first thing you should do is not panic.

Pull to the right as far as you are able to and stop your vehicle to let the ambulance go by. If you are at a red light, and there is an ambulance behind you, pull to the right in the intersection as much as possible as long as you don’t interfere with approaching traffic.

How to Deal With Taxis

NYC taxi drivers can be difficult to deal with while on the road. Taxis stop short on the street to pick up customers as well as dart in and out of traffic in order to get to their destination as quickly as possible which can lead to an accident if a driver is distracted.

If you encounter an impatient taxi driver, do not challenge them. Instead, let them pass. Reduce your speed to allow two car lane’s distance between you and the car in front of you in case a taxi tries to move in front of you, according to the New York City Department of Motor Vehicles.

How to Drive Alongside Buses

NYC has many famous landmarks and sites that tourists from all over the world come to see. Tour buses and double-decker buses provide transportation so that people can see these sites but they can also cause traffic issues. Tour buses move very slowly, especially when picking up people along a route. They also make wide turns, which can frustrate someone driving behind them.

City buses can also slow down traffic flow and cause drivers to make rash decisions in order to get around them. If you are behind a bus, try to remain patient. Move into another lane only when it is safe to do so. Also, do not attempt to dart past buses because you can risk hitting pedestrians or getting into an accident.

No Right on Red

A majority of the 50 states allow right turns during a red light, but in NYC it is illegal unless a sign is posted. An illegal right turn at a red light comes with a hefty fine between $100 to $300, according to the New York City Department of Motor Vehicles. If you find yourself contemplating making a right at a red light, do not do it unless there is a sign that states otherwise.

Driving in NYC can be quite difficult, especially if you are not used to it. But by following these tips, your trips around the city could be safer and easier. However, accidents do occur even when you are being cautious.

If you are injured in a car accident that was the fault of another, you may be entitled to compensation. 

What Should I Do if I Get Involved in a New York City Car Accident? 

Being seriously injured in a New York City car accident can have devastating consequences for your life. It is imperative that you have the support of an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney. Your first priority after being seriously hurt in an accident should be to get medical attention. Most people do not realize that they can sustain severe injuries and not experience any symptoms at the scene of the accident. Because of the substantial risks associated with being hurt in an accident like this, it is critical to be screened by a medical professional to rule out any more serious injuries.

What Is the New York Fault Law? 

In some states, “comparative fault” may apply, meaning that if you are found partially responsible for an accident, your potential recovery in that accident may be reduced in accordance with your level of fault. However, New York is a no-fault insurance state, which means that insured parties are typically reimbursed by their insurance carrier for damages, regardless of who caused the accident. Someone who has been hurt in an accident can be reimbursed for medical costs and any other losses associated with that accident. These no-fault benefits are paid by the insurance company of the vehicle you were driving, or the vehicle in which you were a passenger or were struck by as a pedestrian, regardless of fault. This can include payments such as lost wages, medical bills, housekeeping, and transportation.

When Can I File a Lawsuit for a New York City Car Accident? 

Even if you have made safety your utmost priority, you may still end up suffering the serious consequences of a car accident in New York City. When this happens, it is important to get medical attention and then have your legal case evaluated as soon as possible by an attorney. This is because of a rule known as the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations refers to the official time period in which you must file a lawsuit in order to recover compensation for your injuries. Each state has its own rules about these time limits and in New York, the statute of limitations is three years for personal injury accidents. This is explained under New York Civil Practice Law and Rule Section 214. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this time period, you may be ineligible to recover compensation, even if you were not responsible for the accident. 

What Will I Need for a New York City Car Accident Lawsuit?

If you wind up in an accident with someone else in New York City, it is important to gather evidence as quickly as possible in order to best prepare yourself for moving forward with a personal injury lawsuit. It can be difficult to keep all of these details straight at the time that you go through the accident, but the support of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can be instrumental in helping guide you through this legal process and protecting your legal rights.

Starting a personal injury claim may be a possibility for you or anyone else who has been seriously injured because of someone else's negligent actions. In these circumstances, it is imperative to get legal counsel as soon as possible to protect your interests. The support of an attorney can help you get through this process that much easier and ensure your legal rights are protected. Before starting a personal injury claim you should take up the offer of an initial consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal rights and whether or not you have grounds to move forward with a case. There are a number of different steps you can take early on in this situation to preserve your right to file a claim for personal injuries. There is no right order to take certain steps, however, these should all be accomplished early at the outset of your personal injury suit.

If you believe you were harmed in a vehicle accident or as a result of a defective product, you may need to collect evidence as to who caused the accident as well as any damage caused by the accident. Photographs and videos are the most helpful forms of evidence, but you can also supplement this with testimony from eyewitnesses who saw the accident, security camera footage, or even reconstruction of the scene of the accident so that you are more easily able to tell the story of what happened. It is also helpful during this phase in your case to write down everything that happened to you after the accident. This can include totaling up medical bills, hospital visits, lost wages, problems experienced during your daily life and more. Any names and contact information for witnesses who might have observed the accident can also prove helpful at this point in the case. 

If you speak to anyone else who is also involved in the accident, keep notes about your conversation and tell anyone that you may file suit against that you are intending to pursue a claim for property damage as well as injuries.

It is important during this time not to sign any paperwork presented to you by the insurance company or any other parties involved in the accident. This is to preserve your legal rights and ensure you do not make any mistakes that compromise your ability to recover compensation. At this point in time, it is also good to work directly with your physician to learn more about the medical conditions with which you have been diagnosed and the potential treatments that may be required in order for you to recover from these or learn to live with them. You may have more than one medical condition and your life may be significantly changed as a result of the accident.

Because you will also be focusing primarily on your medical treatments during this time, you will want to consult with a personal injury attorney so that you are clear on what you should and should not do during this period. The sooner you consult with a personal injury attorney, the better as this will be instrumental in helping you to file a claim to recover maximum compensation. Every state has specific laws on the statute of limitations and furthermore, these kinds of cases can be very complex. You'll want to engage a personal injury attorney who has extensive experience in this area of the law and someone who is well prepared to understand all of the different parties who may be liable.

A statute of limitations may also apply in your case. This refers to the time period in which you must file a claim for compensation. Otherwise, you lose out on your opportunity to recover any compensation at all. Because of the difficult circumstances involved in pursuing personal injury and defective product claims, you'll want to identify an attorney who has navigated through these before and who has helped other victims recover compensation for the injuries they have sustained. There is a lot at stake for your future with a personal injury claim and you want to be sure you are working with someone who understands each aspect of these cases.

Get Started With Morgan & Morgan

If you’ve been subjected to an unfortunate injury or have vehicle damage due to a New York City car accident, reach out to the experts at Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to take your first steps toward getting the compensation that you rightfully deserve.