Watch Your Step: How to Stay Safe on Foot

With the arrival of winter, more and more people will be taking advantage of Florida’s fabulous weather, and many of them will be hitting the streets and sidewalks to run or just take a leisurely walk.

Unfortunately, pedestrians are one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in recent years.

According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Administration, more than 47,000 pedestrians died in traffic accidents nationwide during the ten year period studied, and pedestrians now comprise the largest proportion of traffic fatalities (15 percent) recorded in the past 25 years.

Florida is the least safe state for pedestrians. The same study found that the Sunshine State is home to four of the ten most dangerous metro areas for walkers in the nation. The deadliest urban center for pedestrians was the Orlando metro area, with more than 580 such deaths during the period studied. Orlando was followed by the greater Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami areas.

Martin County’s streets and roads may not be as busy as those in the big cities, but there are still risks associated with travelling on foot.

In order to remain safe while walking, remember to:

  • Cross streets at the corner.
  • Use traffic signals and crosswalks whenever they are available.
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers: just because you see him does not mean that he sees you.
  • Walk on sidewalks and paths.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
  • Look both ways when crossing streets and watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • At night, carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing.
  • If you or someone in your family is involved in a pedestrian-related accident and have sustained injuries, contact an attorney to make sure your legal rights are protected.