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The Rights and Responsibilities of Pedestrians in Florida

All drivers know the importance of paying attention to other vehicles on the road. However, many are not as good with accounting for people traveling on foot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4,280 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2010, while 70,000 were injured.

To help avoid these accidents, drivers should always be aware of pedestrians when making turns or crossing intersections. Unlike other cars, people on foot can be difficult to spot, especially at night, so drivers should take extra care to watch out for them. Pedestrians can help by increasing their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight or wearing retro-reflective clothing.

Both pedestrians and drivers should remember who has the right of way. A pedestrian always has the right of way in a marked crosswalk and drivers should yield to them. Nonetheless, pedestrians should still look both ways and be sure drivers have seen them before proceeding across the road. Additionally, at intersections, pedestrians need to observe traffic signals and only cross when there’s a walk sign. The practice known as jaywalking — crossing the street on a “don’t walk” sign — is not only illegal, but also dangerous for pedestrians.

If there is a sidewalk along a road, pedestrians must walk on it rather than the road. These sidewalks are there for a reason and give passengers a safe means to travel by foot. However, if there is no sidewalk, a pedestrian may walk on the shoulder and should walk toward oncoming traffic rather than with it, thus increasing their ability to observe vehicles. Studies show that when drivers and pedestrians face each other, they are more likely to notice each other’s presence.

In many cases, pedestrian accidents are quite serious and may result in severe injuries. If this has happened to you or a loved one, meet with a knowledgeable injury attorney in Lake County right away. 

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