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Daylight Savings Has Ended: How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian at Night
Did you know that Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrian accidents? Eight Florida cities rank in the top 10 for most dangerous cities in the U.S., with the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg/Clearwater area is the ninth most dangerous city in America for pedestrians.
And now that daylight savings has ended the days are not as long as they used to be. Dusk seems to be here before 6 PM these days. If you walk for exercise, walk to work, walk your dog in the evenings, or are just out shopping or eating and need to walk in a parking lot, you will want to follow these tips on how to stay safe as a pedestrian at night.
What is a Pedestrian?
Under Florida Statute 316.130, a pedestrian is defined as anyone “afoot.” This includes not just walkers, but runners, skateboarders, and people on roller skates, or in a wheelchair. A pedestrian is not a bicyclist.
Florida Statutes specify a lot of specific rules for pedestrians to follow, but the most common laws state that if a crosswalk is present, it must be used, and pedestrians should walk along the half of the crosswalk furthest from the road. Pedestrians must also use sidewalks when present. When there are no sidewalks present, pedestrians may walk on the shoulder or edge of the road. A pedestrian, when possible, should walk on the left side of the roadway facing on-coming traffic; this provides additional safety as the pedestrian can see any approaching vehicles.
Pedestrians include anyone on a skateboard, in a wheelchair, on roller skates, and anyone walking or running.
Hitting a Pedestrian
Unfortunately, pedestrians, especially in Tampa Bay, are hit by vehicles far too often. In many of these cases, the pedestrian’s injuries are so severe, they die from their injuries at the scene of the incident. Just this month, there have been several local fatal accidents involving pedestrians.
Current Florida law states that if the driver is at fault, they will be liable for damages to the pedestrian. Florida is a comparative negligence state though, which means the fault is determined by the general negligence standard.
Who’s at Fault?
Basically, when it comes to determining who is at fault, the negligence of both the driver and the pedestrian will both be considered. For example, a driver could be considered 70% negligent while the pedestrian could be considered 30% negligent. This means that the driver would only have to pay 70% of the damages to the pedestrian they hit.
This decision of who is at more fault is usually determined by a jury. Insurance companies will also try to place as much negligence as possible on the other party, so they do not have to pay as much out in damages. Therefore, it is very important to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side like Mickey Keenan. P.A. to represent you and fight for you and your rightful compensation.
Tips for Walking at Night
Our injury lawyers care about your safety; to us, you’re like family. Here is a list of easy-to-follow tips for pedestrians who will be out walking at night. Remember, this does not necessarily mean late at night; with daylight savings ending, it is now dark earlier.
- Walk and park in well-lit areas if you have to walk to your destination (even if it’s just across the parking lot)
- Wear bright or reflective clothing > your dog can also wear a reflective collar or harness
- Carry a flashlight or use a wearable bright light
- Stay on sidewalks when possible
- Stay focused and aware > avoid wearing headphones or looking down at your phone
- Walk in groups or with another person, when possible
- Assume motorists cannot see you > practice defensive walking
Injured While Walking at Night
Accidents happen when you least expect them—even if you are doing everything you can to follow all the pedestrian rules and tips to stay safe.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident at night, you will need to reach out to our attorneys immediately. Do not assume that you will receive 100% compensation due to Florida’s comparative negligence law. You need veteran injury lawyers by your side who will fight for you like family. From first getting the care you need to then getting full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and suffering, we’re here for you every step of the way.
Call us today at 813-871-1300 for a free consultation with Mickey Keenan, P.A.