Florida is famous for its tourist destinations but it is infamous for heavy traffic – and with heavy traffic comes pedestrian accidents. U.S. News and World Report reports that pedestrian fatalities surged in 2015. This is due to a host of factors including low gas prices and driver distractions such as smartphones. This is a surprising statistic not only because other traffic fatality statistics decreased in 2015 but also because of the many safety measures that have been added and improved within vehicles in recent years.
If you have been the victim of a pedestrian accident – whether you were struck by a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or any other vehicle – it is important to protect your legal rights by consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. The aggressive attorneys at the Dolman Law Group have extensive experience in protecting the rights of New Port Richey area accident victims.
So Why is Summer So Dangerous in Florida?
The increase in summertime accidents is a combination of many factors. Some are due to drivers, some are due to pedestrians, and some are simply forces of nature:
- Any time there is an increase in traffic, there is an increase in traffic accidents. Summer is statistically the busiest time on the road due to summer holidays and road trips. In addition, summer sees an increase in young drivers on the road, and this makes it the most lethal time of year for drivers between fifteen and twenty years old. The period between Memorial Day and Labor has been nicknamed the “one hundred deadly days of summer”.
- Florida’s infamous hurricane season (typically June through November) also falls during the summer months. Slick roads and poor visibility cause an increase in traffic accidents.
- Summer brings many tourists to Florida. This causes an increase in pedestrian traffic around shops, restaurants, and beach crossings.
- Florida simply experiences more pedestrian fatalities than many other states. In fact, the National Highway Transit and Safety Association reports that in 2013, Florida was second (only to California) in the highest number of pedestrian fatalities.
- Environmental conditions contribute greatly to the likelihood of being involved in a pedestrian accident. According to a 2012 national survey, the six most common sources of pedestrian injury were:
- Tripping on an uneven or cracked sidewalk
- Tripping or falling
- Being hit by a car
- Accidents involving pets or wildlife
- Tripping on a stone
- Stepping in a hole
As you can see, the majority of these factors involve some external hazard that the pedestrian failed to see and respond to.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Like drivers, pedestrians should be careful not to become so engrossed by a smartphone that they fail to watch out for traffic. Pedestrians should also be careful when wearing headphones – this can prevent you from hearing oncoming vehicles and other hazards.
- Never assume that a vehicle will yield the right of way to you (even when they are legally obligated to do so). Check traffic in all directions. Wait for a signal from oncoming drivers to ensure they do see you and do intend to stop.
- Use particular caution at unmarked intersections and parking lots, which have higher rates of pedestrian accidents. Drivers in parking lots have greater difficulty seeing pedestrians because they are focused on parking.
- Stay visible! Statistics show that most pedestrian accidents occur at night when drivers have more difficulty seeing pedestrians in the roadway. Wear light-colored clothing and use flashlights as appropriate.
- Help drivers anticipate your movements so they can avoid a collision. Cross in marked intersections when possible, and never cross against a traffic signal. Unpredictable movements increase the chances that a vehicle will strike you.
- Carefully prepare your teen driver for risks on the road. Many teens look forward to unfettered driving privileges once school lets out. Make sure that your new driver has ample experience driving in difficult situations such as highway driving, nighttime driving, driving in rain and inclement weather, and driving in heavy traffic.
- Alcohol isn’t just a risk for drivers. National Public Radio reports that over a third of the pedestrians killed in 2015 had a blood alcohol concentration above .08.
- Alcohol reduces a pedestrian’s ability to identify and respond to hazards on the road.
- When a sidewalk or crosswalk is not available, the Center for Disease Control recommends walking on the shoulder of the road, facing traffic.
- Speed remains a factor in many pedestrian fatalities. When you are driving, do not assume that the posted speed limit is safe for your current conditions. Slow down in areas with heavy traffic (whether it is pedestrian traffic, bicycles, motorcycles, or other cars).
- Drivers should also use particular caution when backing up or parking. These tasks can divert your attention and make it more difficult to see pedestrians in your path.
- Driveways and alleys can be dangerous for pedestrians, as drivers are not always expecting pedestrians in these locations. Watch carefully before crossing such areas and make sure you are visible to drivers nearby.
- Teach children safe pedestrian protocol, and supervise them carefully when they are playing near a roadway. Children tend to make unpredictable movements. This makes it more difficult to avoid them in the roadway. Children, being smaller, are also more difficult for drivers to see. Make sure our children are visible and safe. Drivers should be especially cautious when passing areas with children nearby (such as parks, playgrounds, school zones, day care centers, etc.)
Contact an Experienced New Port Richey Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pedestrian accident, contact the Dolman Law Group today to learn how we can protect your legal rights. Our New Port Richey personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in aggressively pursuing personal injury claims. Call our office at (727) 853-6275 to schedule your free consultation.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652