Police Chief: Pedestrian Safety in New Canaan


Everyone has different preferences when it comes to transportation, but there’s one that all road users share—everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, pedestrians are one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States. 

In New Canaan, both pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones while walking or driving. In one study, only 60% of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way. 

As a pedestrian, you are at a major disadvantage when crossing streets, intersections and standing on corners. You are not always visible to drivers. Here are some tips that can keep you safe.

Watch Your Walk Ways

Walk on sidewalks and in crosswalks whenever possible. It is important to pay attention to walk signals and keep a safe distance when standing on street corners. 

Know Your No-Zones

Be careful of the blind spots, or “No-Zones,” around cars, trucks, and buses when walking near or around them. Always assume the driver does not know that you are there. 

Stopping Distances 

Use caution when crossing intersections and streets. You may think vehicles will stop for you, but they may not see you or even be able to stop. Remember, trucks, cars, motorcycles and bicyclists, all have different stopping capabilities. 

Make Yourself Visible

Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially when walking at night. Dressing to be seen will make it safer for you and drivers. Carry a flashlight at night.

Pedestrians Should

  • Avoid walking in the dark and during bad weather such as snow, ice, rain or fog. 
  • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
  • Cross only at street corners, preferably those with a traffic light and within marked crosswalks. 
  • Don’t text or talk on your cell phone when walking.
  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street. 
  • Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Pay attention to “Walk/Don’t Walk” signals. 
  • Realize that some roads are not ideal for pedestrians. Roads with blind curves and high speed limits may not be best.
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.

Drivers Should

  • Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path. 
  • Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk. 
  • Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians.

Parents Should

  • Conduct a walkability checklist of your favorite walking routes in your neighborhood. See www.nhtsa. gov/Driving+Safety/Pedestrians/ Walkability+Checklist.
  • Teach young children right-of-way rules and safe pedestrian behaviors.  
  • Visit NHTSA’s Parents Central for information for young children. See www.safercar.gov/parents/ walking.htm

Be better informed, connected, and send anonymous tips to our Department by downloading the “MYPD” application in the iPhone or Android marketplace. After downloading the application search for “New Canaan” and get connected. 

If you have a traffic complaint or request for enforcement please send an e-mail to: trafficsafety@newcanaanct.gov

Follow us on Twitter@newcanaanpolice for crime alerts.

Additional Resources

4 thoughts on “Police Chief: Pedestrian Safety in New Canaan

  1. Re: Pedestrian safety-Drivers need to be more aware of pedestrians using crosswalks. I often cross Park Street at the bottom of Maple Street and watch car after car ignore the crosswalk. Perhaps a temporary police presence at these spots throughout town would make them more user friendly.

    • What happened to the NCPD officer who was assigned to down town in the village?
      an accident waiting to happen is at the new Gofer ice cream store… dozens of kids hanging around out closer than 6 feet and no masks and those wooden chairs from the store down the street clogging the sidewalk as well … so senior citizens like my wife and my self have to go walk out in the street to get through without getting the plague … but maybe getting run over in the street ???

      • Wow I guess we should stay off your lawn also :). Since it opened I’ve been to Gofer twice and have driven by numerous times. It brought a smile to my face to see that area become vibrant again. It was great to see families out enjoying themselves on a nice summer night eating ice cream. I never felt in jeopardy nor had problems passing on sidewalk. If you can eat anything while wearing a mask I’ve yet to learn the technique. If you have a concern with getting “the plague” maybe the best thing to do is isolate.

  2. I don’t quite understand why people walk and jog on South Avenue between the white line and the sidewalk? I’ve seen that recently and also during the winter months when snow is piled up along the street. It makes the roadway narrow, so how about using the sidewalk instead? I understand the social distancing issue, but 9 out of 10 times there isn’t anyone else on the sidewalk in close proximity.
    It makes it difficult sometimes to travel down that road when there is a person on each side of the road because it forces us to drive around you. Maybe it is an attention grabber to be out in the street, or maybe not? Either way, it is dangerous so please try to use the sidewalks if you can. Thank you

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