Pedestrian accidents are more common than you think. In fact, according to a study conducted by Smart Growth America, a pedestrian-safety organization, Florida ranked as the most deadly state for pedestrians.
As a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, our team takes great care in educating our clients and community members on common personal injury topics.
In this blog post, we’ve outlined the basics of pedestrian safety to help protect yourself and others while walking or driving.
Common Types of Pedestrian Accidents
Every accident is unique. However, there are pedestrian accidents that are more common than others. Here are three of them:
Back-up accidents – Though backup cameras are standard in newer vehicles, many people are still driving cars without them. For the latter, blind spots and not paying close enough attention can lead to pedestrian accidents when pulling out of a driveway or parking space.
Distracted driving – The Florida State Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reported that in 2021 there were 56,000 distracted driving crashes throughout the state. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”
Turning – When a driver is making a turn on the road, they’re often focused on making sure other vehicles are stopped. Because of this, they tend to lose sight of pedestrians crossing the street.
Florida Pedestrian Safety Tips
A pedestrian in the state of Florida is considered anyone who’s traveling on foot, in a wheelchair, on a skateboard, and/or on rollerblades.
Cyclists are not considered pedestrians as they have their own set of unique laws they must follow on a roadway.
Below are safety tips for pedestrians and motorists:
Tips for pedestrians
- When walking at night, always wear reflective gear and/or use a flashlight.
- Always walk on a sidewalk or dedicated walking path.
- Always make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street
- Avoid using headphones or airpods while walking in high traffic areas
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and/or intersections.
- Exercise caution and always assume drivers don’t see you.
- Avoid distractions. Do your best to keep your eyes up and off your phone while walking along the road.
Note: Though jaywalking isn’t technically considered illegal in Florida, pedestrians should always cross the street using a crosswalk or intersection. Crossing the street in places where motorists expect pedestrians is a way to reduce the chances of being involved in an accident.
Tips for drivers
- Always yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
- Keep your eyes on the road and avoid any distractions while your vehicle’s in motion.
- Turn on your headlights at dusk.
- Look before turning to ensure a pedestrian isn’t in the roadway.
- Never pass a stopped school bus with its lights flashing.
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