Florida has the unfortunate distinction of having a higher-than-average rate of fatal accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. In the past few years, the state has gotten serious about making the roads safer for all users – including those on foot and on bikes – but progress will not happen overnight.
In the meantime, pedestrians and motorists both have a responsibility to prevent pedestrian accidents in Hollywood and across Florida. When walking, you can stay safer with these safety tips in mind:
1) Even when you have right of way as a pedestrian, don’t assume cars will stop.
If you’re in a crosswalk and have the green light or if you approach a non-lighted crosswalk first, you have the right of way. However, even when you have the right of way, look both ways. Not everyone obeys traffic laws and some drivers do run red lights.
2) Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Look around you and be aware of any dangers. This includes not only cars but bicyclists and even other pedestrians.
3) Don’t walk drunk or distracted.
It may seem safer to walk home rather than drive if you’ve been drinking, but walking home when you’re under the influence isn’t so safe, either. Your motor skills may be affected and your decision-making may not be ideal. You could end up blundering into traffic or becoming a target for muggers. Rely on a safe ride home with sober friend, instead.
Like drinking, distracted walking is a serious issue. People who text or look at their mobile devices instead of looking both ways can easily find themselves in a pedestrian accident in Hollywood or their community. Distracted walking can even make you vulnerable to trip and fall accidents and other injury-causing accidents.
4) Look for safer areas to walk.
Try to walk on sidewalks when possible. Not every area in Hollywood has them, but sidewalks keep you separate from road traffic and therefore safer. Pick routes that are well-lit and don’t have excessive traffic. Areas with plenty of pedestrian traffic and crosswalks are ideal, since drivers expect pedestrians in these areas and are more likely to be looking out for people on foot.
5) If you’re walking for fitness, look for pedestrian-only areas.
If you want to walk mostly for fitness, consider walking along walking trails or in green spaces where you won’t have to share the road with drivers. Better yet, take a friend so you can chat and relax together. You’re more likely to stick to your fitness goals if you exercise with a partner and you can stay safer with someone else.
Walking in green spaces and pedestrian-only areas is important if you’re walking for fitness because it’s easy to get distracted. You may want to listen to music or let your mind wander. This is unsafe in areas where you have to share the road with motorists.
6) Make yourself visible.
Avoid walking when it’s dark, unless you wear reflective clothing. Try to generally wear clothes that are easy for drivers to see and allow for maximum mobility. When crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers to be sure they can see you.
Even if you are responsible as a pedestrian, not all motorists obey the rules of the road. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Hollywood or anywhere in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation.