Pedestrian Safety Tips for South Florida

South Florida, with life built around car ownership and use with its many freeways and roads, is not among the more pedestrian-friendly metropolitan areas in the country.  Indeed, as anyone who has ever tried to get around South Florida without a car knows, a person’s options can be very limited in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties.  Safety is also a particular concern for any pedestrian in the South Florida area as well, given that Florida is consistently ranked the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians and several area cities appear on the list of deadliest for pedestrians as well.  Many South Florida roads lack even rudimentary pedestrian safety features, such as well-marked crosswalks or pedestrian walk signals at every intersection, which are common in more pedestrian-friendly areas like New York City.  To make matters worse, South Florida motorists also often do not drive in the careful manner required by Florida law when pedestrians are present.

South Florida pedestrians thus face the double dangers of roads that are designed around motor vehicles without pedestrians in mind, as well as motorists who either don’t know or don’t care what their obligations are when pedestrians are present.  Therefore, it is paramount that, if you are a pedestrian in South Florida, you take whatever steps you can to keep yourself safe. Set forth below are some of the best ways to stay safe as a pedestrian in South Florida from the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley.

Florida Law for Vehicles That Are Sharing the Road with Pedestrians

Florida does have laws meant to ensure the safety of pedestrians on Florida roads.  For example, Florida state law expressly provides that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.”  This means that motorists are required to do everything they can to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.  This is important given that drivers rather than pedestrians are in a better place to avoid a collision.

Key Steps for Pedestrian Safety

 The truth of life as a pedestrian in South Florida is borne out by annual rankings of both the most dangerous states and cities in the country for pedestrians.  Even though the Sunshine State does have laws in place meant to protect pedestrians, those laws often are not followed when motorists are on the road and pedestrians are present.  Therefore, pedestrians should take affirmative steps to protect themselves when they are out on the roads.  Below are some of the most important steps to take:

  • Always pay attention to walk signals.

Crossing against the signal is not just against the law in Florida, but it is also simply not a smart move for a pedestrian.  The cars are coming at you, likely well above the speed limit of whatever road you are attempting to cross, and this is just asking for trouble.  Therefore, always wait until you have the signal to cross the road.

  • Always cross the road at marked crosswalks.

Crosswalks are there for a reason.  They are meant to indicate where pedestrians are supposed to be crossing and are located at the safest points for pedestrians to cross a particular road.  They also are more predictable for motorists, because the motorist knows to expect a pedestrian at a marked crosswalk, rather than in the middle of the road at some random location.  Therefore, only cross the road in marked crosswalks for your own safety as a pedestrian.

  • Do not be on your mobile phone while walking.

One of the greatest dangers faced by pedestrians is not paying attention when they are out walking.  This is particularly true when a pedestrian may be on his or her mobile phone.  You may have the right of way when you first enter a crosswalk, but the light may change before you have even made it across the street. Unfortunately, you have no idea because you are on your phone.  Drivers run red lights all the time or a motorist may be texting and may not even know that he or she is approaching an intersection, so staying off your phone will at least give you a better chance to react if a motorist makes a poor decision. Staying off your phone may be what saves your life.

  • Always walk against traffic.

Particularly when you are traveling on a road where there are not sidewalks or the sidewalks are very close to the road, walking against traffic will give you the opportunity to know what vehicles are approaching and the speed at which they are approaching.  You can then adjust your behavior according to whatever the vehicles that are approaching you are doing.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.

Pedestrian accidents in Florida occur with dangerous regularity.  Unfortunately, the Sunshine State consistently ranks as the most dangerous in the country for pedestrians.  Often a pedestrian may be doing nothing wrong and is obeying the law, following all applicable traffic signals and walking in designated crosswalks, when a motorist operating his or her vehicle negligently hits the pedestrian.  At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of pedestrian accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents in Florida. If you are a pedestrian who has been injured due to the negligence of a Florida motorist, you have the right under Florida law to receive compensation for your injuries, including the payment for any medical treatment you need to undergo as a result of those injuries, compensation for your pain and suffering as a result of those injuries, and other damages. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured or killed by a motor vehicle while walking on a Florida road, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.