People over the age of 65 account for almost 20% of all pedestrian deaths, according to NHTSA data. A pedestrian dies in a car accident every 1.5 hours. Seniors are uniquely vulnerable to becoming pedestrian accident victims. If you are a senior citizen, or your loved one is a senior citizen, how can you avoid becoming the next statistic? Here are a few tips for keeping yourself safe from becoming a Miami senior pedestrian accident victim.
Be Extra Cautious About Distracted Driving
One of the biggest causes of Miami senior pedestrian accidents is distracted or inattentive drivers. Reckless, distracted driving can cause drivers to fail to stop at stop signs or turn carelessly in front of pedestrians in an intersection. Distracted drivers often disregard red lights. Common causes of distracted driving include the following:
- Texting while driving
- Using a cell phone, tablet, laptop, or other electronic devices while driving
- Drinking or eating while driving
- Grooming (brushing hair, teeth, or doing nails)
- Reading books or maps
- Using a GPS navigation system
- Watching videos
- Adjusting the listening device or radio
Pedestrians should be extra careful about distracted drivers. Before stepping into a crosswalk, check for any signs of distracted drivers. If you see a distracted driver, do not cross the road. Give yourself plenty of time to cross the intersection. If you see any suspicious activity, try to get to a safe area of the street.
Make Eye Contact with Drivers
While crossing the street, make sure you make eye contact with any nearby drivers to make sure they see you. If a crosswalk is not available, do not cross the street, or find another place to cross. If you must cross, wait until there is a large gap in traffic that gives you lots of time to cross the street. Try to cross in a well-lit area.
Try to Walk in a Group
It is not always possible, but try to walk with a group of people. Drivers are more likely to see you when you are in a group, not a single pedestrian. There are many different walking groups you can join. For those who live in a senior community, you may be able to find a group of friends to walk with you. It is much easier for distracted drivers to see a group of people who are crossing the street and stop in time.
Pay Attention to Drivers Who are Backing Up
Many people assume that pedestrian fatalities only happen when seniors are crossing an intersection or jaywalking. However, many Miami senior pedestrian accidents happen in parking lots. In a busy grocery store and mall parking lots, it is easy for an elderly individual to walk behind a car that is backing up. Every year, many pedestrian accidents happen in parking lots and parking garages, and many of these accidents are avoidable.
Drivers today are stressed, in a hurry, and incredibly distracted. When you are in a parking lot, assume that any nearby drivers cannot see you and will hit you. Not every car will do that, but staying in that mind frame will help you be extra aware and take the safest action possible.
Cross as Carefully as Possible at Intersections
Senior pedestrian accidents often happen at intersections. Pedestrian fatalities involving seniors can happen when seniors are crossing legally or jaywalking. The first tip is to never jaywalk or cross an intersection illegally. Second, make sure that you give yourself enough time to safely walk through the intersection. If you use a walking aid and it takes you longer to cross the intersection, only cross when you have the full amount of time to do so.
If you do not think you can safely make it through the crosswalk, wait for the next cross signal. Be sure that you stay within the designated crosswalk line. Many pedestrian accident fatalities happen when pedestrians stray outside of the lines. Cars have been known to creep forward in intersections. Try to make eye contact with any drivers who appear to be creeping into the intersection.
Understand Your Medications
While most pedestrian accidents happen due to distracted driving, some accidents happen when an elderly pedestrian is on medication. If you are on medication, try to understand how your medication affects you.
If your medication makes it hard for you to concentrate or it makes you dizzy, you may need to not walk during those dizzy times. You may need to talk to your doctor about possibly adjusting your medication. Or, if you know that you are feeling dizzy, ask a friend or family member to accompany you on your walk.
Try to Make Yourself as Visible as Possible
The better drivers can see you, the less likely they will be to cause an elderly pedestrian accident. We recommend wearing a reflective jacket when you are walking. Wearing a reflective jacket greatly decreases the potential of pedestrian accidents. We also recommend that you use a flashlight. When you are walking during the day, you will need to wear bright clothing.
Do Not Become Distracted While Walking
Just like distracted driving, distracted pedestrians can cause pedestrian accidents. Be sure that you are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol while you are walking. Also, make sure that you are not distracted on your own phone or electronic device while you are walking.
Be an active participant in your walk, always checking for vehicles that might cause a pedestrian accident. Check for cars that are entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots. If you are in a crosswalk, be sure to watch for cars maneuvering dangerously.
Our Miami Senior Pedestrian Accident Lawyers can Help
If you have suffered an injury in a senior pedestrian accident, the lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz can help. Contact our legal team as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.