It seems that lately the local news has been reporting many more pedestrian accidents in the Tampa Bay area. During these difficult economic times, we may be finding that more people are walking in order to save money, and we need to pay attention to an increase in pedestrians. For obvious reasons, pedestrian accidents are often deadly or cause serious injuries to the pedestrian. Many of the victims of pedestrian accidents are children or elderly adults. Just a few weeks ago, a teenage girl was killed while crossing Tampa Road in Oldsmar, and last week a 77 year old man was killed while trying to cross U.S. Highway 19.
Pedestrian accidents can happen for many reasons and can be caused by the pedestrian or the driver of the car. For example, the pedestrian may be distracted by their ipod or the beautiful weather and step out into traffic, or the driver may be changing a radio station and swerve slightly not noticing a pedestrian standing on the side of the road. Fortunately, there are things that we can do to both as a driver or a pedestrian to prevent pedestrian accidents.
First, as a pedestrian, you should not trust the drivers of cars as they approach or pass you. Drivers do not always obey traffic signals, so you must make sure the driver sees you and comes to a complete stop before you step out into traffic even if you have a “walk” signal. Second, if you are walking at night, wear white or reflective clothing. It is too difficult for a driver to see you at night if you are wearing dark clothing. Third, always cross the street at a crosswalk, and don’t ever cross in the middle of a block. A driver may not expect a pedestrian to be walking across the street in the middle of a block.
As a driver, one of the most important things you can do while driving is to “pay attention” to driving! Don’t talk on your cell phone, play with the radio, or otherwise be distracted while driving. Also, obey the traffic laws and signals. For example, stop completely at stop signs and red lights. You also must be careful when driving while the sun is in your eyes. You will be liable for striking a pedestrian who is obeying all the rules if you simply don’t see the pedestrian because the sun is in your eyes. If you see a pedestrian or bicyclist crossing the roadway ahead of your motor vehicle, even if you THINK you have the right of way, take your foot off the gas pedal and be prepared to slow down.
Help to avoid senseless and preventable serious injuries and deaths by paying more attention to what you are doing while driving or walking! It’s just that simple.