It is widely recognized that regular walking is a good thing for one’s health, except maybe in New Jersey, where it turns out that more pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents than in any other state except for New York and, oddly enough, Hawaii. As a regular walker, this troubles me, but it does not surprise me in the least.
Unlike states like California (at least in Los Angeles) and, I presume in other states as well, where the rule is that a driver must stop if he sees a pedestrian at an intersection waiting to cross, in New Jersey pedestrians are fair game.
Stopping is out of the question. Indeed, drivers in this state routinely do the mental calculus necessary to determine whether it’s even necessary to slow down when a pedestrian is crossing the street in the driver’s path. ”Why show down? He’ll be outta da way by the time I get there.” Of course, if the computation of the relative speed of the pedestrian and vehicle is incorrect, the pedestrian who began walking across the street will have to break into a life-saving sprint to reach the other side. Similarly, if the driver miscalculates and the pedestrian is unable to do the emergency sprint or is unlucky enough to stumble, the pedestrian and vehicle collide, with “victory” always going to the vehicle.
Therefore, I would advise anyone who visits the Garden State and decides to take a stroll not presume that you have the right-of-way. Better to assume that you are in the crosshairs.
Jersey – Only the Strong Survive.