Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents claim the lives of thousands every year. While some of them are due to inclement weather and other circumstances that are difficult to avoid, the vast majority of accidents are avoidable with an effort from drivers and the state.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself From Car Accidents In South Florida
Each year, hundreds of people die in car accidents, and thousands more suffer serious injuries. To protect themselves and their families, all Miami residents should follow these common-sense tips so that they reach their destinations safely:
- Steer with two hands. You never know when you will need to take quick defensive action that requires both hands. Try to avoid changing the radio station or eating while on the road. Instead, wait until you pull over.
- Watch out for children. Because they do not fully understand risk, children can run out into the road in front of traffic. If you are driving in a neighborhood with children, go slowly.
- Pull into traffic carefully. Always stop and look. Don’t just throw yourself into traffic, hoping that someone will make space for you. Remember to look both ways before pulling onto the road.
- Give yourself sufficient room. You need a cushion between you and the car ahead of you in case they suddenly stop or slow down. Two or three seconds is usually sufficient, but you should increase the amount in bad weather.
- Scan 10-12 seconds ahead. The sooner you can see a problem coming, the more time you have to react.
- Look over your shoulder when backing up. You can’t rely solely on your rearview mirrors. Also look over your shoulders to see if any traffic or pedestrians are coming. If you don’t, you could be negligent and liable for any injuries you cause.
- Show civility on the road. Road rage causes thousands of accidents each year, and you will only inflame tensions if you are rude. Avoid shouting or cursing at other drivers. Instead, show respect and always give other drivers the benefit of the doubt.
- Perform regular car maintenance. Some accidents are not caused by negligent driving but by malfunctioning parts. For example, if your brakes fail, then a collision will almost inevitably result. Take your car into the mechanic shop for regular tune-ups and have any problems addressed immediately.
- Exercise caution at intersections. Just because you have a green light does not mean that someone will not run a red. Enter the intersection carefully, looking to your left and right.
- Pass big rigs with care. Large commercial trucks have a large blind spot where the driver cannot see you. A good rule of thumb is to assume that a driver cannot see you if you cannot see them. When passing, do so quickly.
Ways Florida Cities Can Help Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents
All cities in Florida and across the world need fewer car accidents. Orlando is the deadliest city for pedestrians in the entire United States, with around 25-30 collisions involving pedestrians every single day.
These horrifying statistics have fortunately spurred the city to try and reduce the number of pedestrian accidents. Just what is Orlando planning to do to make its streets safer for pedestrians? Curbed has the answer.
Here are some of the ways Orlando is trying to keep us safer, hopefully, these strategies can be implemented everywhere.
Raising Crosswalks & Installing Flashing Lights
Orlando, like most Florida cities, was not designed with pedestrians in mind. Instead, the focus was always on providing as much room as possible for motorists to drive as fast as they could. Many cities lack even dedicated crosswalks for pedestrians, which often incentivizes jaywalking and increases the chances of a pedestrian accident.
Making pedestrian safety a priority means making pedestrians visible. To this end, Orlando and surrounding areas have installed flashing lights so that motorists will know when to slow down. Raised crosswalks also physically separate pedestrians from motor vehicles, allowing them to cross with greater safety.
One way to slow traffic is to limit the number of lanes that cars can use, something called a “road diet.” Orlando’s city transportation chief has already implemented temporary road diets in certain high-risk corridors in the city to improve safety and the ability of cyclists to move around. He claims that he will expand the process to different areas in Orlando.
Pedestrian safety costs money and other measures will require funds to foot the bill. Orange County has proposed increasing its sales tax to generate an additional $600 million a year. Some of that money can be used to improve pedestrian safety by redesigning dangerous roads.
By lowering the speed limit from 40 to 25, Orlando hopes to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents. When cars travel at slower speeds, both drivers and pedestrians have more time to take defensive actions.
Changing Development Guidelines
Another way Orlando is improving pedestrian safety is including it from the very start with new developments. The city’s transportation chief is set to rewrite some guidelines so that the layout of new communities encourages pedestrian safety.