In the heart of New Orleans, where the rhythm of life matches the beat of jazz echoing through the streets, navigating the city’s pedestrian-heavy areas demands a unique set of driving skills. With so many carefree tourists walking about, drivers must remain vigilant.
Following some practical tips helps keep local streets safer for everyone.
Be alert at crosswalks
Even when you are in a hurry, it is wise to slow down near crosswalks. Pedestrians have the right of way, and drivers must come to a complete stop when people are crossing. Be on the lookout for pedestrians waiting to cross, and yield to them patiently.
Mind speed limits
Part of the NOLA charm is its slower pace. Pay attention to posted speed limits, especially in areas with high pedestrian traffic. Slowing down allows you to react quickly to unexpected situations and ensures the safety of both drivers and pedestrians.
Watch for pedestrian signals
In pedestrian-heavy areas, traffic signals facilitate the safe movement of both drivers and pedestrians. Pay close attention to pedestrian signals and prepare to stop when the “walk” sign is active. Remember, pedestrians may still be crossing during the flashing countdown, so proceed with caution.
Distracted driving poses a significant risk to pedestrians in bustling areas. Put away your phone, refrain from adjusting the radio and focus on the road. By eliminating distractions, you increase your ability to react promptly to the dynamic environment around you.
Be cautious in tourist hotspots
New Orleans is a popular destination, attracting tourists from around the world. Be extra cautious in areas with high tourist foot traffic, such as the French Quarter. Pedestrians may be unfamiliar with local traffic patterns, so anticipate sudden movements and stay alert.
Use turn signals
Communicate your intentions to other drivers and pedestrians by using your turn signals well in advance. This simple practice enhances overall road safety, allowing those around you to anticipate your movements and take necessary precautions.
Accidents involving pedestrians in New Orleans are on the rise, with the most recent data showing a near doubling in fatalities. Being attentive and respectful of pedestrians while you are driving contributes to the safety and harmony of this lively city.