Tens of thousands of pedestrians are injured and several thousand are killed in auto accidents each year in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts, many of these accidents involve adults over the age of 65 and children under 15, accounting for approximately 27 percent of fatalities and 34 percent of injuries. Drivers are responsible for being aware of their surroundings and whoever is walking on the sidewalk or street, but there are a few factors that increase the likelihood of a pedestrian accident such as using unmarked crosswalks, improper lane use, wearing dark clothing and vehicles making left turns.
As a driver on Florida roadways, there are steps you can take to avoid hitting a pedestrian including:
- Defensive Driving: Use defensive driving tactics and take special notice of men, women and children walking, running, riding a bicycle or in a wheelchair. Seniors and young kids are more likely to ignore traffic safety and veer out of marked crosswalks, and these age groups are also especially vulnerable to catastrophic injury or death.
- Be Diligent Between 6 pm and 9 pm: In 2014, about 26 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred between 6 pm and 8:59 pm. Be careful driving during these hours to avoid an auto accident with people traveling on foot.
- Have Patience: “Road rage” and driving in a hurry increase your risk of crashing into another vehicle or motorcycle, but also pedestrians. Have patience and give pedestrians room and time to keep everyone on the streets safe.
- Stay Away from Distractions: Driving distracted can mean texting while driving, messing with the navigation or radio, talking on the phone, or even daydreaming. Keep your mind alert and focused on the road.
- Don’t Drink and Drive: This doesn’t stop with drivers. Around 37 percent of pedestrian deaths involved someone walking with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher.
If you’re an avid walker and often travel by foot to work or school, you can avoid serious injury by paying close attention to the vehicles near you, wearing bright colors at night, and staying away from texting, talking or using your phone while you walk.
Our attorneys at Canter Law in South Florida specialize in auto accidents involving pedestrians and other motor vehicles. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact us in Boca Raton today at561-447-4500for a FREE consultation. We serve clients in Ft. Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Florida.