With our year-round sun and scenic views, Florida is a wonderful place to get outside and go for a walk. The flip side to this is that the Sunshine State is among the most dangerous places in the country for pedestrian accidents. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Florida is 1 of the top 4 most dangerous states in the United States for pedestrian accidents and fatalities.
Understanding Florida pedestrian safety tips may help to reduce the chances that you or a loved one will become involved in a serious pedestrian accident in Clearwater. In the interest of providing helpful safety advice for those who travel on foot in the Clearwater and Tampa areas, we have provided an overview of Florida pedestrian safety tips below.
Florida Pedestrian Safety: The Tried-and-True Basics
Regardless of whether you have heard it 100 times before, everyone who travels by foot should have a refresher course in basic Florida pedestrian safety. These are the basic principles that you should teach your children at an early age and reinforce on a regular basis.
Below are the “tried-and-true” tips for pedestrian safety:
- always look both ways before crossing a street (this applies even if you are moving into a crosswalk with all the appropriate traffic signals telling you that it’s OK to go);
- never dart into traffic (this is particularly important to ingrain into a child’s memory);
- never walk at night and if it is necessary, be sure to wear bright colors and a flashing pedestrian safety light;
- never run across a road;
- do not wear headphones or write and send text messages as you walk, as this will impede your awareness of your surroundings, which may result in a pedestrian accident in Clearwater; and
- become familiar with Florida pedestrian laws concerning rules for right-of-way and crosswalks.
If despite following the rules for Florida pedestrian safety, you become the victim of a pedestrian accident in Clearwater, a personal injury attorney can talk to you about your options for seeking compensation in an injury claim.
Florida Pedestrian Safety: Sidewalk Use
Always use sidewalks when they are present and it is possible. Sidewalks are intended to provide pedestrians a “safe haven” from moving vehicles. However, in some areas, sidewalks are not available or may be impassable because of construction, debris or other hazards.
Listed below are pedestrian safety tips for those times when you are unable to use a sidewalk:
- walk on the shoulder of the road;
- walk facing traffic; and
- be as “predictable” as possible, meaning, walk in a straight path and be particularly cognizant of your surroundings.
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident in Clearwater that was a result of your having to navigate an area with blocked sidewalks, or sidewalks in disrepair, try to return to the site to get pictures of the walking hazard. This may prove to be valuable evidence in a Florida injury claim.
Florida Pedestrian Safety: Crosswalks and Right-of-Way
Florida pedestrian law dictates that pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks. This includes marked and unmarked crosswalks, as well as crosswalks that occur at intersections and those that are found mid-block.
A marked crosswalk can be defined as any crosswalk that has been clearly designated with appropriate markings on the pavement. An unmarked crosswalk is most often located at an intersection, between curbs and can be presumed to be in the same area that would otherwise be marked at any other intersection.
When approaching a crosswalk, a driver must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians, particularly when the pedestrian is on the same side of the road as the vehicle. In addition, approaching cars must stop when the car ahead of them yields for a pedestrian. They may not go around the stopped vehicle, as this will place a pedestrian in great danger.
Listed below are a few Florida pedestrian safety tips on how to use marked and unmarked crosswalks:
- follow the pedestrian signs rather than traffic lights (even if the traffic light is red, it’s not safe for you to cross a street until the pedestrian light indicates it is safe to do so);
- don’t enter a crosswalk after the pedestrian light turns yellow or begins flashing; and
- make eye contact with drivers as you cross the street, particularly those who are waiting to turn right as you are in the crosswalk.
If you have suffered an injury due to a pedestrian accident, contact Jim Dodson Law at 888-207-0905.