Don’t Become an Accident Statistic: How to Avoid a Car Wreck in NYC

male wolf cut

A lot comes to mind when you think of New York City: bright, neon signs along Broadway, the Empire State Building, and Central Park are a few that come to mind. And don’t forget about the city’s heavy traffic; even postcards and Hollywood movies highlight the Big Apple’s heavy traffic.

The sheer number of vehicles on the road means more than daily traffic jams, so there’s also an increased risk of being involved in a car accident. In fact, there were 100,508 accidents in NYC in 2022 alone. While vehicle collisions are the most common type of car wreck, motorcycle and pedestrian accidents also occur. So, how do you avoid becoming an accident statistic?

Tips on Avoiding a Car Accident in NYC

Pedestrians often behave like they have the right of way at all times in New York City—instead of waiting for the light to change at a crosswalk, it’s not uncommon to see pedestrians jumping out into traffic. Sure, they’re probably holding at least one hand up in a stopping gesture, but this really doesn’t give drivers enough time to slam on the brakes.

Motorcyclists are also known to occasionally ignore traffic laws and this can lead to an accident, and the same is true for bicycle riders When pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders all pay attention to state and city traffic laws, the chances of becoming a NYC car accident statistic dramatically drop. What about vehicle drivers? How can drivers reduce their risk of being involved in a vehicle accident?

Plan Your Route in Advance

You already know NYC traffic is a nightmare between 8 am to 9 am, and the pattern repeats in the afternoon from around 3 pm to 7 pm. This is when most commuters are either heading into the city or trying to get out. Traffic is almost at a standstill, tempers are short, and every driver is looking for an escape route.


While you may not be able to avoid every traffic jam, planning your route can help you miss most of the backup. Sometimes, just getting away from other drivers is enough to dramatically reduce your chances of being in an accident. Even if you’re taking a less traveled route, it’s still a good idea to listen to local traffic updates.

Turn your radio to a local AM station like WCBS 880 and you should be able to stay ahead of any problems on the road, which includes road construction, accidents, and normal heavy traffic delays.

Don’t be an Aggressive Driver

New Yorkers are often celebrated for their brash attitudes and there’s usually nothing wrong with a brief display of boldness on the sidewalk. However, when you’re behind the wheel you want to tamper down any aggression, which means not speeding through a traffic light as it changes from yellow to red or making illegal left-hand turns.

You also want to avoid tailgating the vehicle in front of you—tailgating is a form of aggressive driving and it can be extremely dangerous. If the lead vehicle stops suddenly, you may not have time to react. Now, you’re involved in a vehicle accident with another upset driver, and you’ve also become a traffic obstacle.

Take your time and keep a few seconds of distance between you and the other vehicle. At the least, you should be able to see all of the lead vehicle’s taillights. If you can’t see the taillights, you’re probably guilty of tailgating.

Know Your Blind Spots

All vehicles have blind spots, even motorcycles. A blind spot is an area alongside, behind, or in front of your vehicle where you can’t see, which means if another vehicle or pedestrian is in your blind spot, there’s a good chance you’re not going to know they’re there. You may merge into a vehicle in your blind spot or bump into them when you put your car in reverse.

Before hitting the road, find the blind spots on your vehicle, so this way, you know exactly where to pay extra attention.

Know and Follow All State Driving Laws

Some driving laws are the same regardless of the state: red lights always mean stop and green is the signal it’s time to hit the gas. However, when it comes to turning against the light, laws can vary.


One example is New York’s right turn on red law; some states let you turn on red if there isn’t any incoming traffic. In New York state, turning right on red is a traffic offense. In other words, you can only turn right when the light’s green.

Most New York state residents are aware of the no turn-on-red law. However, it’s a little different for some tourists, especially if it’s legal in their home states. You should always watch for these drivers to avoid a potential accident.

Don’t Cruise in the Fast Lane

Yes, the fast lane is often wide open. Even during rush hour traffic in the fast lane is often at least creeping along. As tempting as it may be to drive to your destination in the fast lane, it’s not the best idea.

The fast lane is for drivers traveling along at the speed limit who aren’t planning on exiting the freeway any time soon. The fast lane is also the passing lane. You hop over to pass a slow-moving vehicle and merge back over when you’re at a safe distance. The downside to staying in the fast lane is it can increase your risk of being in an accident.

If an accident occurs in front, you may not have time to merge over before hitting one of the stopped vehicles. Now, you’re turning the accident into a multi-car pileup.

You Can Avoid Becoming a NYC Car Accident Statistic

With some planning and obeying all state driving laws that include avoiding distractions like cell phones when you’re behind the wheel, you can minimize your risk of becoming a car accident statistic.

If you’re involved in a vehicle accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be able to recover some of your damages from the accident.