Florida is known for its year-round beautiful weather (provided you keep an eye out for thunderstorms) and so it is subject to more residents and visitors venturing out on foot than many other states. From the beautiful beaches to the rolling golf courses, the sports venues and malls, there’s no lack of places to head if you’d like a walk in the sunshine.
However, while Florida offers some truly pedestrian-friendly areas, you have to keep your wits about you. Florida rates as the 4th highest pedestrian fatality state in the US, with 696 people being killed in 2020 alone. That’s two people a day, and that doesn’t count all the injuries.
These statistics can be scary, but you can enjoy all Florida has to offer pedestrians by following our safety tips.
Stay Safe as a Florida Pedestrian
1. Choose where you walk mindfully
While you may head out in your vehicle and simply let your GPS choose your route, it’s best to think ahead if you’re going out on foot. There are plenty of sidewalks and paths away from busy roads that will not only keep you safe but also give you a much more pleasant walk.
If you are following directions on your phone, make sure you’re also paying attention to the world around you. If it wants to take you down a narrow sidewalk next to a busy street, or across a fast intersection, look for an alternative. Better to add 5 minutes to your journey than risk getting hurt.
2. Don’t expect cars to respect you
You may know the rules of the road and when cars are supposed to give you the right of way, but don’t use these rules as a shield. For example, keep an eye out when crossing at intersections in case a driver isn’t paying attention to the pedestrian signal, and just sees a green light. Whenever crossing, make sure you see them slow down and try to make eye contact before you start to cross so you know they’ve seen you.
3. Be seen, stay safe
If you drive, you may have had one of those heart-in-your-mouth moments when suddenly you see a pedestrian right at the edge of the road, right as you pass them. As a pedestrian, you can and should never assume that a driver can see you.
At dawn and dusk, and at night, wear bright clothing or clothing with reflective materials so you won’t come out of the blue for the driver. Alternatively, a fluorescent or reflective armband is easy to carry and put on and take off as the light changes.
You should also be careful when it’s bright out (which is a lot here in Florida!). Remember that a driver may have the sun in their eyes on a bright day and momentarily not be able to see as well as they should when driving into the sun.
4. Avoid noise-blocking earphones
It used to be that staying safe as a pedestrian would mean you couldn’t listen to music or a podcast as you walked. Fortunately, technology has developed and you can now find good earphones that ensure you have a higher level of alertness due to transparency mode or using bone conduction rather than a speaker that goes in your ear. If you like to walk and listen, make sure you have earphones with either of these features. When you’re crossing, pause anything you have playing so you can pay full attention to the road.
5. Don’t walk inebriated
One of the pros of walking when you go out for the evening is that you can have a drink without worrying about being over the limit for driving. That’s definitely a good decision! However, you should know your limits and avoid getting into a situation where your drunk-self thinks they know better than your sober-self (which, inevitably, they will). If you are going out for more than a few drinks, make sure you get someone sober to drive you home or to your hotel.
Injured Pedestrian in Florida? We’re Here to Help
We hope these tips will help keep you from becoming a statistic, but if you are injured as a pedestrian in an accident, we’re here to help make things right. We’re the driven personal injury lawyers you need on your side, and we operate a no-win, no-fee policy. We’ve helped our clients recover over $300 million in compensation, and we’ll do the same for you. To talk to us about your case, click here, or call us at 888-280-4878. We’ll help you recover what you’ve lost.