The Memorial Day holiday weekend is a common weekend for everyone to get out. Whether you're getting out of town or just getting outside, most of us have an extra day to enjoy at our leisure.
Unfortunately, this time serves up some serious risks for accidents -- vehicular, pedestrian and bicyclist risks increase with holiday traffic. Our Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyers are asking drivers to be on the lookout for our walking and riding friends. With our sunny Florida weather, both residents and visitors will be outdoors, heading to the beach, out running errands and getting in some exercise during this long weekend. With this increase in traffic, we need to increase our awareness to help prevent accidents.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are going to be more than 400 traffic accident fatalities during the long Memorial Day weekend. Another 44,000 traffic-related injuries will be reported.
According to the Florida Drivers Association, it's the motorist's responsibility to do everything possible to avoid an accident with a pedestrian. Bicyclists, skaters and skateboarders in a crosswalk or driveway are considered pedestrians. As a driver, you're required to yield to pedestrians at intersections with traffic signals. You've also got to yield to pedestrians crossing the street or driveway at any marked mid-block crossing, driveway or intersection without traffic signals.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were close to 500 pedestrians killed in the Sunshine State in 2010. We were ranked as one of the most dangerous states in the country for these kinds of accidents. Memorial Day weekend is among the deadliest times of the year.
If you're on the upper end of the age scale, you should be extra careful out there. The NHTSA reports that older pedestrians (over the age of 64) accounted for close to 20 of all pedestrian fatalities and an estimated 10 percent of all pedestrians throughout the U.S. who were injured in 2010.
If you've got young ones in your family you better be careful, too. Nearly a fifth of all children between the ages of 5 and 9 who died in traffic accidents in 2010 were pedestrians. Children under the age of 16 accounted for more than 5 percent of all the pedestrian fatalities recorded in 2010. They accounted for close to 25 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes during that same time.
But we're not leaving the responsibility entirely up to the drivers. We're also asking pedestrians to practice smart travel out there, too. Be one step ahead of the traffic around you and avoid busy, fast-paced roadways. Always make yourself visible to vehicular traffic, whether you're on foot or on your bike.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day and look out for the safety of travelers around you.