The Matzav Shmoooze: These Accidents Need to Stop


 accident-2Dear Editor,

We are all aware of the tragic accident that happened on Madison Avenue in Lakewood with the youngbochur who got hurt. Unfortunately, this is a story that happens every couple of years. I personally know of many circumstances of tragic accidents happening to friends of mine.

Let us examine some of the reasons for this. Most of us dress in black, which makes it extremely difficult for drivers to see pedestrians crossing. At the same time, the cars are very fast on those roads, which makes it extremely difficult for drivers to stop in time.

We need to spread awareness before other people get hurt. For years, Hatzolah and community doctors have stressed that pedestrians need to wear reflectors at night. There are a lot of people who move in to the community each year and might not be aware of the importance of these reflectors. Everyone should know of the life saving abilities of these reflectors and wear them, even if the bright yellow reflectors might not be “cool” or whatever.

Also, pedestrians should only cross at traffic lights or stop signs. Even if they don’t see any cars coming, beware. Cars are coming, and a lapse of judgment, or an untied shoelace, can chas veshalom cause a terrible tragedy.

Also, the importance of driving carefully, especially at night, has to be stressed. The speed that some of these cars are moving, especially on dark roads, is crazy. I know that people want to get to their job or seder on time, or they are in a rush for other reasons. However, leaving two minutes earlier and driving safely will solve that problem. A car is a dangerous machine and should be treated as such. If there are people out there who feel that they are incapable of driving slowly or carefully, then they should take a defensive driving course or simply let someone else drive. Human life is at stake!

Let’s stop these accidents from happening.

Meir Cohen


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. Thank you for an important letter Mr. Cohen. (I would not have mentioned a specific fresh case though.)

    “pedestrians should only cross at traffic lights or stop signs”

    This is so true. We have to do it, and then do it with our little kids. What type of message do we send our six year olds when tell them the rules of crossing, but don’t follow it ourselves?

  2. i agree! at night, while driving, i never sit back in my seat, i always grip the steering wheel and sit forward being extra vigilant, as I know there are people in black that cannot be seen. i often see a ‘figure’ running across the street ahead of me ( he judged correctly, i was further away ) however i hope he never judges ‘incorrectly’. Besides for the person who gets hit ch’v, what about the driver???? What guilt does he have to live with always because of the lax attitude of the pedestrians!

  3. Talking on a cell phone while crossing should also stopped.I see many people crossing streets while talking on the phone They arent very alert of whats going on around them.

  4. All the above is true. But in addition our kids and ourselves need to be taught not to assume drivers see you. Cross cautiously. Never rely on the brakes of a driver. This is true about people opening car doors onto driven roads at night as well!

    Also please be aware that on slippery days such as post snows please be aware not to assume that the driver will be able to stop even at a stop zone.

    Even at lights, again, don’t assume the driver making a turn can see you. Cross with caution and assume he doesn’t.

  5. Also on Clifton Ave.

    When I was in the Irvington dorm, I cant tell you how many accidents took place at the corner of 9th and Clifton as well.

  6. People must also not step into the roadway to wait to cross. In NY there are parked cars on the side of the road, but not on Madison Ave.

  7. In Lakewood I saw someone walking on Forest Ave without a reflector. I stopped to pick him up. He said it’s all right “i’m only going a few blocks”. I said “without a reflector”?, come in the car.

    Everyone must wear a reflector,

  8. the situation has gotten so bad already, that it comes to the point that if C”V someones neighbor or friend got hit because of not wearing a reflector C”V he still will not start wearing a reflector & learn from it.

    unless you make something happen to ME C”V you can’t get me to learn my lesson & start wearing one….

    SAME WITH talking/texting while driving C”V how many accidents have happened already R”L? Have we learned our lesson? or are there still thousand talking while driving….?

  9. i heard that this particular driver was going at a slow speeddue to the weather. wearing black is extremely unsafe. May the bochur have a rifuah shliema.

  10. How about this one: Last week I was driving down Madison Ave. at approx 9:30 a.m. and I had to slow down because there was a mother crossing at seventh street, where there is no light or crosswalk, with a baby in the stroller, and a two or three year old child walking alongside, with her hand on the stroller. Is this how you value your children’s life–to cross a busy highway with them instead of walking a block so that you could cross with the signal at sixth street? Not to mention the Chillul Hashem–what do you think people think when they see this? And this is not the first time that I have seen such an occurrence.

  11. they don’t want to wear reflectors because it isn’t cool. And honestly, shouldn’t the adults be showing them by example? I truly never get it when a mother pushes the stroller in front of her as she checks to see if it is safe to cross – with the baby sticking out into the street?????

  12. I am not saying that wearing something white is as good as a reflector- but it does help. My kids and I all have white scarves, gloves and or hats.
    Make sure that you have some outer wear that has a significant amount of white on it. Why are we not teaching our kids to wear white at night? I never hear this simple basic safety message anymore. Every parent and spouse should make sure that the family has some white items incorporated into their routine outerwear so they wear white without even thinking about it because many times, people leave the house when it is still daylight but then come back at night ( think shabbos mincha -maariv). Wear White at night!