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pedestrian in crosswalk

Each year for the last five years, there were more than 600 pedestrian fatalities and more than 7,000 pedestrian injuries in Florida. Here are some things to consider to help you reduce your chances of being involved in a car/pedestrian crash.

The major crash types most often associated with pedestrians are:

  • Mid-block dart-outs
  • Multiple-lane crossing
  • Intersection dash
  • Vehicle turn/merge
  • Vendor/Ice cream truck and backup

How to avoid car/pedestrian mishaps

  • Walk defensively—Be prepared for the unexpected. Don't let cars surprise you even if a motorist does something wrong like running a stop sign or making an unsignaled or sudden turn.
  • Walk facing oncoming traffic—when there are no sidewalks, walk near the curb or off the road if necessary.
  • Cross streets at intersections whenever possible—Look in all directions before entering the street. Be especially alert to vehicles that may be turning right on a red signal. If there are crosswalks, use them but don't assume that you are completely safe in a crosswalk. Don't cross at mid-block because "jaywalking" is dangerous and against the law.
  • At intersections, look for the signs or signals—They will help to cross safely. Use the push buttons for crossing protection at signalized intersections that have pedestrian indications. The lighted "Walk" and "Don't Walk" signals are meant for the pedestrian. If the "Don't Walk" light is blinking while you are in the street, continue quickly and carefully. If there are no pedestrian signals, watch the traffic signals. When there are only Stop or Yield signs, look in all directions and cross when traffic has cleared.
  • Be careful in parking lots—Pedestrians are supposed to have the right-of-way but many drivers don't wait for pedestrians. Parking lots can be as dangerous as streets. On streets, the direction of cars is usually known but in parking lots, cars might be moving in all directions, including backwards.
  • Avoid dangerous moves—Any movement a pedestrian makes that drivers aren't expecting could be dangerous. When leaving a school bus, wait a second before crossing. Drivers don't always stop for unloading school buses, so stop, look both ways and then cross. Don't step into traffic from between parked cars since this is a sure way of surprising drivers.
  • Keep your view of traffic clear at all times—A pedestrian needs to be able to see cars around him. Don't block your view with packages, umbrellas or other objects.
  • After dark, wear light-colored or white clothes—Drivers can see you better if you wear light-colored or white clothes. Carry a lighted flashlight and swing it back and forth to improve your chances of being seen by drivers. Although only a relatively small percentage of pedestrian travel after dark, more than one-third of pedestrian crashes occur during that time.

Following these tips will greatly improve your chances of safely walking your estimated lifetime average of 75,000 miles.