As Floridians and others across the country get ready to turn their clocks forward, traffic safety officials are warning of the risk to pedestrians.
“As Daylight Savings Time comes to an end, and it gets darker earlier, the risks for pedestrians increase,” according to The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “The vast majority of hit-and-run fatalities occur at night or during low-light hours.”
Daylight Savings Time officially ends on November 5, when clocks are pushed forward by one hour.
The safety reminder came as part of National Pedestrian Safety Month, with FLHMSV joining the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urging drivers about what they can do to help keep people traveling on their feet safe.
“Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility between pedestrians AND motorists,” FLHMSV said. “Our data shows a pretty equitable split between who is at fault in these types of crashes, which is why it is so important for both motorists and pedestrians alike to remain vigilant on the roadway and behind the wheel.”
More than 10,000 pedestrian accidents occurred last year throughout Florida, killing some 765 people across the state. The total number of crashes and the fatalities count were down slightly from a year earlier.
Two years ago, for example, a 38-year-old Lady Lake man was struck and killed by a car while walking his bicycle along U.S. 441. Last year, a 52-year-old Summerfield man died after being hit by a car while crossing U.S. 27/441 near UF Health-The Villages Hospital. A 21-year-old woman alleged to be behind the wheel of the car that struck the man was later charged with felony hit and run.
Staying Safe: Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers
There are a number of steps that pedestrians and drivers can take to try to avoid accidents, especially during darker hours.
Pedestrians should walk on sidewalks and paths whenever possible and should walk facing traffic when not possible. Cross streets and roads at designated intersections and never enter a street from between parked cars. Crossing in areas where drivers do not expect you raises the risk of a collision.
Drivers should be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially at certain times, and should take extra care in difficult weather conditions and darker hours. Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see and stop for the crossing pedestrians.
Drivers, of course, should also operate their vehicles in a responsible manner at all times. That means complying with traffic safety laws and refraining from dangerous activity like texting and driving or getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Speak With a Villages Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian or other accident, it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced injury attorney. Villages accident attorney Tim Babiarz has been fighting for people and families across the community for more than two decades.
Our office is conveniently located in the Villages. We are also proud to represent clients throughout the area, including in Ocala, Leesburg, Lady Lake, Wildwood, Summerfield and beyond. Call (352) 205-7559 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a Villages accident attorney.