Florida’s roadways are unfortunately infamous nationwide. According to an article from the Orlando Sentinel, Florida statistically ranks among the deadliest for pedestrians, showing no signs of slowing anytime soon. With that knowledge, it is always important to think about what we, as motorists and pedestrians, can do to safeguard everyone on the road. Moreover, what does the law require us to do?
First, let us examine the right of way laws that you need to understand before hitting the road on foot, on bike or in a motor vehicle.
Florida’s Right of Way Standards
- Everyone on the road is responsible for obeying traffic laws, including cyclists.
- At four-way stops, the first vehicle to stop is also the first that should proceed. In the case that two vehicles stop at the same time, the driver to the right should proceed first.
- Pedestrians must use crosswalks to cross streets whenever available.
- Pedestrians should utilize sidewalks where available.
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing at crosswalks but pedestrians must be sure to give drivers enough time to yield before crossing.
- Pedestrians are expected to yield to vehicles when crossing roadways without crosswalks or any other location that is not an intersection.
- In the most basic terms, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are responsible for doing anything within their power to avoid an accident.
So, with those standards in mind, what can you do to make our roadways safer every day? There are quite a few safety standards everyone should practice anytime they put their key into the ignition, mount their bike or hit the road on foot.
- Skip the Cell Phone: Whether it is a pedestrian crossing the road while reading a text message, driver fumbling through Facebook or cyclist trying to take a call while riding, cell phones can be a deadly distraction. Silence your phone and wait until you are safely off the road. It can wait.
- Avoid Alcohol: We all know that alcohol and driving do not mix but some might be surprised to hear that cycling while under the influence is also illegal in the state of Florida. Pedestrians are not exempt from the dangers of intoxication on or near roadways, as they, too, could not see an oncoming vehicle, be ignorant of traffic signals or make the poor judgment call to cross anywhere but a designated crosswalk.
- Utilize Safety Devices: Drivers and their passengers should wear seatbelts, cyclists should wear helmets and equip their bikes with a flashing red tail light and headlamp for night travel. Even pedestrians can wear reflective vests and other clothing that help motorists more easily spot them.
- Safety is Better Than Speed: We know full well that many people do not have the luxury of taking their time when traveling to an important work function, making it to a dinner date or rushing out to get some chores done. However, the priority should always be to arrive alive, first and foremost. Obey speed limits, follow traffic signs and lights and always keep an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists.
At the end of the day, we can all do a better job to safeguard everyone on the roads by simply paying more attention and not forgetting tips like those above. It is easy to let safety go by the wayside when in a hurry, on a boring commute or distracted by other factors, but any of those mistakes could be fatal. Let us all work together to make Florida a safer place and, hopefully, turn the tide on our infamously dangerous roads.
If you, a friend or a loved one’s child suffer personal injuries or should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Wieland, Hilado & DeLattre, P.A. at (407) 841-7699. For additional resources, keep checking our blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices in law.