With few crosswalks, disconnected sidewalks, and many high speed roadways, it’s no surprise that Florida isn’t the safest place in the country for pedestrians. But, did you know that since 2009, Florida has ranked as the number one most dangerous state for pedestrians, according to Smart Growth America.
Every year Smart Growth America publishes a list of the most dangerous metropolitan areas, and last year, eight of the top ten cities were in Florida.
Across the state, there were 8,936 pedestrian accidents in 2016. Often the victims of pedestrian accidents are from the most vulnerable parts of the population: adults over 65, racial minorities, and those from low-income backgrounds.
While being a pedestrian in a metropolitan area will always put you at risk, there are ways to keep your and your family a little safer:
- Be aware of your surroundings. This goes beyond just looking both ways before crossing the street. When walking in a high traffic area, put away your phone and take out at least one earbud. Your eyes and ears need to be available to survey the area and check for any possible hazards.
- Make yourself more visible. When it’s dark or rainy, stay in well-lit areas whenever possible. If your usual route doesn’t have many street lights, try wearing reflective clothing. And whatever you do, don’t wear all black at night.
- Follow the rules of the road. Even though you’re not driving, walking with the flow of traffic and obeying all traffic signals will keep you safer.
And drivers, you can help keep pedestrians safer by following posted speed limits, turning on your headlights when visibility is low, and using extra caution while driving in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.