In 2018, there were more than 9,300 pedestrian accidents in Florida, which resulted in 699 deaths. It’s a clear sign that there’s more that pedestrians and drivers can do to make the roads safe for everyone. Here are five tips from the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. on how to avoid being involved in a pedestrian accident.
Drive Safely at Crosswalks
Crosswalks are the sections of the road that are designated for pedestrians. Drivers can significantly reduce their risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident by exercising extra caution when they’re at a crosswalk. Since the lion’s share of pedestrians will use these sections of the road, it’s smart to always slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk. Drivers should yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Even if the person is jaywalking, hitting a pedestrian is a substantial legal hassle that it’s better to avoid. Drivers should also stop well back from the cross-walk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians. Similarly, never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk since they may be stopped to allow pedestrians by that you can’t see yet.
Pedestrians Should Make Themselves Easy to See
As one would imagine, most pedestrian accidents are the result of a driver not seeing a person who is walking. For this reason, pedestrians should dress and take actions that make them easier to see. If you plan on walking, try to wear brightly-colored clothing. This advice is especially true at night when it’s harder for drivers to see something darkly colored. Pedestrians should consider wearing something reflective or holding a flashlight at night. Similarly, pedestrians should cross the street and walk in well-lit areas. While this isn’t always possible, try to make eye contact with drivers before you pass in front of them.
Both drivers and pedestrians should avoid things that may distract them from driving or walking. For both groups, smartphones can become deadly distractions when drivers and pedestrians can’t take their eyes off the screen. Pedestrians can’t meander around roads while playing Pokemon Go, assuming that drivers will see them and stop in time. And we realize that the “fear of missing out” makes it hard to put your smartphone down, but it only takes a moment’s distraction for tragedy to strike when you’re driving a car.
Obey the Speed Limit
Many drivers treat speed limits as suggestions, but that’s a habit that leads to more accidents and pedestrian deaths. Speed limits are designed to ensure that traffic is flowing at a safe speed for a particular neighborhood. Going 35 MPH may feel slow, but you’ll be grateful for the extra stopping time when you need to stop to avoid a child. This advice is even more pertinent when driving in select areas like school zones and construction areas.
Exercise Extra Caution For Off-Road Dangers
Pedestrians need to remember that they need to be mindful of cars even when they aren’t on a road or crosswalk. Many pedestrian accidents occur because someone wasn’t paying attention to off-road dangers. For example, pedestrians need to watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, as well as vehicles that are backing up in parking lots. Similarly, the entrances to businesses can be problematic if drivers aren’t paying attention when they turn in.
Preventing pedestrian accidents is everyone’s responsibility. Following the tips listed above will help pedestrians and drivers avoid costly accidents. And if you are involved in a pedestrian accident, if you were following these tips, you will have less to worry about when it comes to liability. If you need help with an issue related to a pedestrian accident, the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help. Send us a message online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.