In an accident where a vehicle strikes someone on foot, the pedestrian is at a distinct disadvantage. If the victim survives, there may be severe injuries requiring week or months, if not years, of physical therapy and rehabilitation.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office dealt with a rash of car-pedestrian accidents in 2017, which prompted them to issue safety reminders to the public at large.

The Highway 98 accidents

Vehicles struck three pedestrians who were walking across Highway 98 in the summer of 2017. Two of the accidents happened in the early morning hours before daylight, and the other occurred shortly before eight in the evening. One person suffered fatal injuries, and the other two victims received life-threatening injuries. All three accidents took place in an area where there are many restaurants and entertainment venues.

Tips from the Sheriff’s Office

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office emphasizes that drivers and pedestrians alike should exercise caution along Highway 98, especially where there are many eateries and night spots, indicating that many people are out and about. Their tips are important for pedestrians everywhere to follow:

  •         Cross streets using crosswalks wherever possible
  •         Cross in well-lit areas after dark
  •         Watch for vehicles making turns
  •         Do not depend on pedestrian signals; check for vehicles before crossing a roadway
  •         Do not use a cellphone or wear headphones when crossing the street
  •         Stay sober; the chances of being struck increase for walkers who are impaired
  •         Be alert to backup lights or engine noise and cars exiting from parking lots
  •         Be clear of vision-blockers, such as parked cars or hedges, before crossing

Taking precautions

The thought of being cared for in a hospital is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind when walking from point A to point B. Fort Walton Beach is a tourist-friendly locality, however, and traffic accidents, including those involving pedestrians, happen all too often. It pays to take precautions. Even a minor accident caused by a negligent driver can have serious, long-lasting effects.