Four safety tips for Florida pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents may have devastating consequences, but there are things people can do to improve their safety when walking.

Each day, walkers and joggers share the roads with bicyclists, motorcyclists and drivers. According to Florida's Integrated Report Exchange System, there were 9,159 pedestrian-involved collisions across the state in 2017 alone. These accidents resulted in 616 deaths, and significantly more serious injuries. While not all such crashes can be prevented, there are several steps people can take when walking to help keep themselves safe.

Avoid distractions

When it comes to the roadways, many think of distractions as a problem that only affects drivers. However, if they are listening to headphones, looking down at their phones or are otherwise engaged in distracting behaviors, they may not notice potentially avoidable hazards. Therefore, it is advisable for pedestrians to stay focused on the road, including the vehicles and other walkers and joggers around them.

Dress to be seen

Pedestrian accidents often occur because drivers do not see people when they are walking or jogging. Although they cannot do much to increase their visibility via their size, pedestrians can dress to be more visible. It is recommended that pedestrians wear brightly-colored clothing during the day and lightly-colored, neon or reflective clothing at night. People may also find it helpful to carry a flashlight with them when they are walking during the evening hours.

Use designated walkways

Just as people expect motorists to keep their cars in the traffic lanes or other areas designated for vehicles, drivers anticipate that pedestrians will be in designated walkways. As such, it is important for people to walk on the sidewalk anytime one is available. If they must walk on the road, it is suggested that pedestrians walk facing traffic on the left-side shoulder to help ensure they are seen.

Look both ways before crossing

Children are taught at a young age to look both ways before crossing the street to check. At any age, this advice is vital for people to keep in mind when they are walking or jogging, as it may help them avoid stepping out in front of oncoming vehicles. Additionally, pedestrians are recommended to refrain from stepping out into the road to cross from between two parked vehicles.

Working with a lawyer

Florida pedestrians may be seriously injured if they are involved in accidents with motor vehicles. Consequently, they may lose income while they are off work recovering, incur undue medical bills and suffer other losses. In some situations, however, the drivers in such wrecks may be held financially responsible. Thus, it may benefit those who have experienced such situations to consult with a lawyer to understand their rights and options for seeking financial compensation.