Early dark brings increased risk of West Palm Beach pedestrian accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging motorists to use extra caution in an effort to reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents in West Palm Beach and elsewhere as the clocks roll back and everyone adjusts to making the evening commute in the dark.

Our West Palm Beach Accident Lawyers know that the risk of all types of traffic accidents increases at night. But the risk of serious and fatal injuries that frequently result from pedestrian accidents has safety advocates preaching extra caution to be on the lookout for walkers.

Florida is consistently among the most dangerous states in the nation for pedestrian accidents. In 2008, more than 10 percent of the nation’s 4,378 fatal pedestrian accidents occurred here in Florida. In all, 490 people were killed in Florida pedestrian accidents; only California reported more deaths.

Nearly 40 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents occur in the hours surrounding dusk or dawn, with a full one-fourth of all accidents reported between 4 and 8 p.m. As drivers get used to driving again in the dark, motorists are also at increased risk of being involved in distracted driving accidents.

The agency encourages pedestrians to carry flashlights and wear reflective clothing or material.

Other safety tips for Florida drivers and pedestrians include:

DRIVERS
-Slow down at dusk; more time is required to see and react to events around you.
-Don’t count on pedestrians to hear your approach.
-Keep windshields and mirrors clean and clear. Make sure windshield wiper fluid is full and that wipers and defrosters are in proper working order.

WALKERS
-Carry a flashlight and/or wear reflective tape or clothing. Take a flashlight and make sure a driver sees you before proceeding.
-Don’t count on traffic signals. Drivers may be distracted or ignore them.
-Don’t cross between vehicles and avoid jaywalking — use crosswalks whenever possible.
-Use sidewalks.
-Walk facing traffic.