The Florida economy thrives on tourism. The huge influx of vacationers also contributes to fatal traffic accidents. Floridians deal with this year round, but no other time compares to the month of March, when the state is flooded by spring breakers. Little kids heading to theme parks with their families and college kids looking to party on the beach all flock to the Sunshine State.
For many of our spring breakers looking to escape from the cold northern weather, a little alcohol and sunshine are just what the doctor ordered. However, too many vacations fall short of expectations when a friend or a loved one is injured or killed on the trip.
In contrast with our beaches that rank among the best and most beautiful in the world, Florida’s traffic record for pedestrian safety is downright ugly. Even though pedestrian accidents account for only 1% of all accidents, they result in 22% of traffic related deaths.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are fatally wounded at much greater rates than people in cars. Because many tourists travel by foot, they need to be extra careful on their daily trek to and from the beach. Although crossing at a crosswalk or signal may not be enough to absolutely ensure safety (see our video experiment), the odds of being hit in a crosswalk are much lower than being hit while crossing the street in the middle of the block or against traffic. Always use crosswalks where they are available!
Here are Some Other Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind While Vacationing in Florida:
- Don’t assume drivers see you walking in or near the road. Never assume they will stop just because you are in a crosswalk.
- Take advantage of Taxi cabs, Uber and Lyft rides if you are unfamiliar with the area or plan to drink.
- Make sure you can be seen when walking during the day and night. Brightly colored and reflective clothing are ideal. Walking in areas lit by streetlights also helps.
- Only cross the street when the lights and signals tell you it is safe AND you are capable of crossing in time.
Although many people blame elderly drivers for the numerous accidents in Florida, people between the ages of 20 and 30 alone make up nearly 30% of the drivers in fatal crashes. Twenty-somethings also demonstrate a higher rate of alcohol use at the time of accidents than other age groups.
Traffic accidents are an unfortunate reality for many vacationers. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe in Florida. If you or someone you care about is injured in a Florida accident while on vacation, we are here to help.
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