Because Florida has such warm, beautiful weather, people love to take advantage of spending more time outdoors in the Sunshine state. Many residents and tourists enjoy walking along the beach or walking to a nearby bar or restaurant.
However, in urban areas like Miami, both pedestrians and drivers need to be careful. In a moment, a minor distraction or careless action can lead to a catastrophic pedestrian-vehicle crash. Unfortunately, Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians, according to Smart Growth America. More than 5,890 pedestrians died in vehicle accidents in Florida between 2010 to 2019, more than in any other state. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area also ranked 13th nationwide as most dangerous for pedestrians between 2009-2019.
To avoid a devastating pedestrian crash, Florida drivers can follow these five safety tips:
1. Avoid distractions while driving, especially using your cell phone. You are much more likely to miss seeing a pedestrian entering a crosswalk or intersection if you are distracted.
2. Look for pedestrians, especially in urban areas and near parks and beaches. Stay especially alert for children in residential areas or near schools.
3. Watch for pedestrians before you turn, especially at busy intersections where pedestrians may be crossing.
4. Always give pedestrians the right of away, even if they are jaywalking or not following traffic rules.
5. Don’t pass a car or bus stopped at a crosswalk. Likely, a pedestrian is crossing and you could hit that person by passing a stopped vehicle.
Pedestrians also have to do their part to avoid becoming involved in a pedestrian-vehicle crash. They should:
1. Wear bright, reflective clothing, especially at dawn or dusk so drivers can spot them more easily.
2. Always cross at intersections and crosswalks and follow traffic rules.
3. Avoid crossing the road while using a cell phone or listening to loud music, so you aren’t distracted and miss noticing an approaching vehicle.
4. Try to make eye contact with drivers before you cross, so you know they see you.
5. Watch for cars backing out of driveways or parking spots. It’s easy for a driver to miss seeing a pedestrian while they are backing up.
Being involved in pedestrian accident is terrifying – both for drivers and pedestrians. If you are a pedestrian and get hit, you can suffer serious injuries or die. Yet, with better awareness from both drivers and pedestrians, both groups can avoid a terrible accident and keep the roads safer overall.