Unfortunately, Florida is an incredibly dangerous place for people to take a walk. In fact, our state has one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the entire country. A pedestrian accident can occur anywhere – not just while trying to cross a busy street, but even trying to navigate a shopping center parking lot. Here are 5 pedestrian safety tips to stay safe while enjoying a walk along Florida streets.
The Eberst Law Firm has a team of skilled attorneys with a lot of experience representing people who have suffered injuries in pedestrian accidents. If this has happened to you, please get in touch with your law firm as soon as you can. Just use our online contact form, or give us a call at 1-888-CALL-JON to schedule a free evaluation of your case.
Hopefully, you won’t ever have to deal with this horrible type of accident. Here are five tips that will help you keep from becoming a victim.
1. Stay on Sidewalks Whenever Possible
One of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents is someone choosing to walk in the street rather than the sidewalk. Not only is using the sidewalk the law in Florida, it’s also simple common sense. Drivers must always yield to pedestrians, especially when they’re on a sidewalk. It doesn’t matter whether they’re backing out of their driveway, an alley, or they’re anywhere else.
But what if there’s no sidewalk, or the one you usually use is under construction? If that’s the case, you’ll need to always walk facing traffic. That way, you can see what’s coming and take evasive action if necessary.
2. Stay Alert and Sober
Drivers are to blame in the vast majority of pedestrian accidents. But that doesn’t mean pedestrians can sometimes have their fair share of the blame. One of the biggest mistakes people make is taking a walk while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When you’re impaired, you’re not as alert to your surroundings as possible. As a result, you won’t be able to react as quickly should an emergency arise. You could be at risk for a severe, debilitating injury.
Staying alert also means putting your smartphone away. Playing games, texting friends or talking while you’re near traffic is a recipe for disaster. No game, text or conversation is worth putting your health in jeopardy – and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing. Just put the phone in your pocket until you’ve reached your destination.
3. Cross Streets at Crosswalks if Possible
Crosswalks are designed to make it as safe as possible for a pedestrian to cross a busy street. Always look both ways before stepping foot into that crosswalk, and always follow what the crosswalk traffic light says. If one isn’t present, wait until the traffic light turns green.
You have to share the road responsibly just like someone behind the wheel of a car or truck. That means you have to stop for red lights, and always be aware of your surroundings. Always be alert to a motorist preparing to make a turn. They might, for instance, be turning right at a green light. Make eye contact with the driver, or wave to them so they know you’re there.
The worst thing you can do as a pedestrian is to try to dart across a busy street without using the crosswalk. If this happens, and you’re hit and severely injured, it’s going to be very difficult – if not impossible – for you to obtain compensation from the driver’s insurance company. You might not get anything at all, because there’s a good chance you’ll be assigned all of the blame.
4. Wear Reflective Gear When Walking at Night
If you’re going to take a walk after dark, you must do everything you can to make yourself as visible as possible to motorists. One of the common excuses drivers will make after hitting someone is that they didn’t see them. If you’re out at night, and you’re not wearing reflective clothing, you’ll be at least partly to blame if you’re hit. While that might sound harsh, that’s a fact.
Never leave home without first putting on bright, reflective clothing. If you don’t have any, you can get a vest with a huge reflective stripe that will be much easier to see. Sure, it won’t be that attractive, but who really cares? It will greatly increase your chances of being safe. Carry a flashlight if you need to, and use it whenever motorists are anywhere close to you.
5. Don’t Rely Solely on Pedestrian Signals
As stated in Tip No. 3, it’s important that you only cross when the signal tells you to. But even then, don’t assume that you’re automatically going to be safe. The “Walk” signal, for example, may not be set correctly, and it will start flashing “Don’t Walk” while you’re still in the middle of the intersection. If this happens, don’t try to go back – just get across as soon as you can.
Also, pay close attention to any vehicles approaching the intersection. Whether you have a green light or a “Walk” light, that doesn’t mean all motorists will comply. They could be distracted on their phone, or in such a hurry they really don’t care what – or who – is in their way. If you have any reason whatsoever to think a driver isn’t going to stop, just stay where you are and wait for the next “Walk” or green light.
Contact Eberst Law Firm if You’re Injured by a Motorist While Walking in Florida
A pedestrian accident attorney with The Eberst Law Firm is standing by to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been hit by a motorist and suffered a severe injury, get in touch with us as soon as you can. We’ll be here to answer whatever questions you may have, and we’ll always keep you informed throughout your case.
You can give us a call at 1-888-CALL-JON or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. The earlier you get in touch, the earlier we can get to work building the strongest possible case on your behalf.