Right Of Way Doesn't Guarantee Pedestrian Safety
The "rule of the road" in most of the world, including right here in Florida, is that if a pedestrian is obeying all traffic laws, and crossing a road on a crosswalk when signals indicate it is safe to do so, then the pedestrian always has the right of way. This means that drivers must prioritize the pedestrian's travel and safety above all else.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case with drivers. Even when a pedestrian is legally considered to have the right way, certain conditions can play out, resulting in a driver ignoring that right of way and hitting a pedestrian. In the battle between an unprotected human and a motor vehicle traveling at high speed, humans will lose every time resulting in injury and even death.
Florida Is A Hotspot
Unfortunately, the state of Florida in 2019 was one of the top five states in the country for pedestrian accidents. In many cases, the casualties were entirely preventable and not the pedestrians' fault, meaning they typically had the right of way, and drivers ignored that.
However, perhaps the most surprising fact of pedestrian accidents is that they don't occur all that frequently at crosswalks. While the occasional injury or fatality may occur in broad daylight, due to a driver trying to execute a left turn too quickly to beat a traffic light and not see a pedestrian, most accidents occur in other circumstances.
The Danger Of Night, Shoulders & Sidewalks
The majority of Florida's pedestrian accidents occurred at night. They also occurred mostly off main intersections, although it is still more cities than rural areas where these accidents occurred. In many cases, pedestrians were hit by cars, at night, due to visibility issues because the driver didn't see them.
However, one crucial factor here is that pedestrian accidents routinely occur when people aren't even crossing the street. Many of these nighttime accidents occur as pedestrians—lacking a proper sidewalk to travel—walk on the road's shoulder instead. In some cases, even when pedestrians are on a sidewalk, they are victim to accidents as drivers lose control, become distracted, or are driving drunk and stray off the road and onto sidewalks.
Most pedestrian accidents occur between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm. The combination of poorer visibility due to darkness and many vehicles on the road because of people returning from work or going out for the evening raises the risk. Pedestrians should be more alert at these times.
Visibility is essential, and wearing dark clothing at night or clothing with no reflective properties can add crucial milliseconds to the time it takes a driver to perceive what is happening and react appropriately. Distracted driving is the top cause of pedestrian accidents, so anything that slows down a driver's reaction time, such as not seeing a pedestrian quickly due to dark clothing, adds to the risk.
If you're a pedestrian who has been injured by a driver's negligence, seek out legal advice. Talk to a pedestrian accident attorney about how you can be compensated for your injury.