According to data found in the Smart Growth America Report, “Dangerous by Design 2016”, a total of 46,149 people were struck and killed by a car while walking in the United States. On average, 13 pedestrians were struck and killed by a car in 2014, the most recent year for which numbers are available. Older adults are disportionately affected being 50 percent more likely than younger people to be struck down while walking. It was cited in the report that Florida, our lovely Sunshine State, has a high incidence of pedestrians being hit by a car. Out of 20 cities cited as being the most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians, Florida cities were in 10 of the top spots. Our large senior citizen population, retirees, and tourists contributed to this poor ranking. Florida cities Cape Coral-Fort Myers were ranked number one with Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford ranked number 3. Florida has a lucrative tourist industry and walking seems to be the favorite and cheapest mode of transportation for the tourists. “Many of these deaths occur on streets with fast-moving cars and poor infrastructure. It is further stated in Smart Growth America’s report that “people walk along these roads despite the clear safety risks.” Here is a listing of the other Florida cities considered to be the most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians: Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (2); Jacksonville (4); Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach (5); Lakeland-Winter Haven (6); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (7); North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (10); and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (11).
There are steps you should follow listed on our website if you are hit by a car while walking; however, the following is a list of steps you might really follow to avoid this situation:
- Before stepping out onto a street, make eye contact with the driver to make sure the driver has seen you. Never step out until you have made eye contact.
- If you are waiting on a street corner to cross and a truck is making a right-hand turn, technically, they should give you, the pedestrian, the right of way. They can’t always see you and sometimes they are trying to “beat the clock and make the light” and the driver doesn’t think to wait. In this case, your common sense should trump what the law says you “should” be able to do. Step back and let the truck make its turn It’s safer for you and in this instance, you do not want to be “dead right.”
- Obviously, you should never jaywalk but some people simply have no fear. So how about this safety tip: If you really feel the need to jaywalk, never-ever-do a half cross where you end up standing in the middle of the street it is all the way or no way!
- If you find yourself having to walk on the shoulder of the road (as in a rural area void of sidewalks or you are jogging) always face traffic. The purpose of this is so you are able to see if a car is veering out of control and coming towards you.
- If jogging or walking at night, wear reflective clothing, arm band, head band, or shoes. Wear something even though it might not make a fashion statement.
- Stay off the phone and disconnect music while walking. People get hit when they are doing everything right and obeying the law (remember, dead right??!)—just because you are on the sidewalk doesn’t mean you can put your attention elsewhere You need to have all your senses engaged.