Whether you’re the kind of person who thrives at crowded venues or the kind who cringes when popular events draw hordes of people to your town, there’s one thing you should keep in mind: drivers and pedestrians at these events need to be extra vigilant to avoid getting into an accident.
That’s what law enforcement officers want people in Daytona Beach, Florida, to remember during the iconic Daytona 500 weekend in February. As of 2010, the Daytona 500 was the third-most attended sporting event in the country (behind only the Brickyard 400 and the Indianapolis 500), and thousands of racing fans are expected to flood Daytona Beach this year,as well. As thrilling as that is, visitors and locals should also expect to encounter more drivers who are unfamiliar with the city, more distracted pedestrians, and more people getting into accidents while intoxicated.
The Florida Department of Transportation reported that there were no pedestrian or bicycle accidents during last year’s Daytona 500, and they want to keep it that way for this year’s Speedweeks. They’ve been emphasizing their “Alert Today Alive Tomorrow” campaign, and NASCAR’s Scott Lagasse Jr. will be driving the Number 29 Alert Today Alive Tomorrow Toyota Camry to help promote the message.
Of course, the Daytona 500 isn’t the only event in Florida where drivers and pedestrians need to be extra alert. Every year, our state plays host to events important to a wide range of industries, including the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Ultra Music Fest, and the Discover Orange Bowl. Any time a large event brings thousands of visitors to your city—and every time you visit another city for an event—you need to take safety precautions to avoid accidents.
How to Stay Safe during Large Events
Sometimes when a large event is coming to your city, the best thing you can do is avoid driving around areas close to the event venue, where traffic will most likely be congestedand pedestrians will be out in droves. Of course, there may be some situations where you can’t avoid going near heavily trafficked areas—or perhaps you want to join in the festivities yourself! If that’s the case, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Slow down in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.
- Don’t drive distracted – that means no texting, talking on your cellphone, turning your head to talk to a passenger, or anything else that takes your attention off the road. You should always try to minimize distractions when you’re driving, but it’s especially important to stay focused on the road around large events.
- Leave plenty of space when you pass cyclists and pedestrians who are on the side of the road.
- Always signal your turns and double-check intersections before proceeding.
- Always stick to designated pedestrian walkways (sidewalks, pedestrian bridges etc.) when possible.
- Don’t text or do anything on your cellphone when you’re walking in a crowded area.
- Don’t assume that drivers will see you just because you see them.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing at night and stay in well-lit areas.
- Always monitor traffic for potential risks, and double-check before crossing the street, even if you’re in a crosswalk and have the right of way.
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents still happen, even when you take all the proper safety precautions. If you are injured by the negligence or recklessness of another at a large event, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to learn what you can do to get the compensation you’re entitled to.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphy. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”