As Florida drivers, we all see the signs warning us to yield to pedestrians. While we all know that is what we are supposed to do, many drivers get busy and speed right through crosswalks without watching out for people walking. Just yesterday a couple visiting from Canada were hit in a crosswalk after leaving Andy’s Igloo. Though as a pedestrian you have the right of way, there are a few precautions you can take in order to ensure your safety when traveling by foot.
- Always use crosswalks. I see many people walking in front of cars in the middle of the road. While many drivers will stop and let you cross, the chances of them being ready to stop when they aren’t prepared are slim. Crosswalks are made specifically to warn drivers that there may be pedestrians. Why not put them to use?
- Obey all traffic control devices. If you are using the crosswalk and the light across the street tells you not to go, it would be in your best interest to wait. The lights across the street go with the flow of traffic. It means that when the light is telling you not to go, traffic may be coming through the traffic light and may not be ready to stop and let you get across. If it tells you to go, that means it is safe to cross, but by no means there are no chances of anyone flying through the traffic light and hitting you in the crosswalk. Always look both ways prior to crossing, even when the light is telling you to go.
- Use the sidewalk if at all possible. That’s what they are made for! Walking in the paved road is dangerous. Drivers have so many things to watch out for and they may miss you. Especially if it is dark outside. Stay on the sidewalk as much as possible to avoid the chance of being struck by a vehicle.
- Walk against traffic. If for some reason you cannot walk on a sidewalk, don’t walk on the same side of the street with traffic moving away from you. Walking on the left side of the road of the direction you’re heading will allow you to see any oncoming cars. This will also allow you time to move off of the road if any car is heading in your direction.
- Don’t text and walk. Of course we say don’t text and drive all the time, but it is just as important to not text and walk. When walking in traffic you always need to pay attention to your surroundings. You never know who could be texting and driving, zoned out, or changing the radio station while driving. They may not have the reaction time to stop for you.
It is so important that pedestrians are also on the lookout for vehicles. Following these simple guidelines could potentially save your life. If you do find yourself struck by a vehicle, don’t hesitate to give us a call and see how we can help you.