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Chances are, if you’ve spent time in Florida, you’ve likely decided to get outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenic landscapes here. One of the reasons why many people visit or move to the Sunshine State is the year-round warm weather. Walking is a great way to get outside and enjoy all of what this state has to offer. Although walking is a popular form of recreation, it is also an efficient and environmentally friendly way to get where you need to go.

However, if you’ve walked alongside or tried to cross a busy street, you know just how vulnerable pedestrians can be. Any time there is foot traffic in close proximity to vehicular traffic, accidents are bound to happen. Unfortunately, according to recent statistics, Florida has one of the highest rates of pedestrian accidents in the entire country. Here are a few things to remember to keep yourself safe the next time you are walking near a roadway.

Walk facing traffic

If you have a choice, it is recommended to walk in the opposite direction of traffic. In the United States, this is on the left side of the road. By facing traffic as you are walking, you are more likely to see vehicles as they are approaching you, enabling you to take evasive action if needed. If you are cycling, however, you should go in the same direction as the flow of traffic.

Cross safely

Always look both directions when crossing and never attempt to cross a street outside of a marked crosswalk. At many intersections in Florida cities, there are pedestrian crossing signals to alert drivers when pedestrians may be crossing the road. Only cross the intersection when you have the pedestrian crossing light. Keep in mind that, even if you are obeying traffic signals, drivers still may not notice you.

Be visible

One of the best ways to prevent an accident is to make yourself visible. It is a good idea to wear bright colors when walking in the daytime. It is not recommended to walk at night, but if you must, wear light-colored or reflective clothing so that you are easier to notice. Drivers are usually not expecting people to be walking after dark, so you need to do what you can to make yourself visible to drivers.

Avoid distractions

Never text or use your phone when walking near vehicles. Distracted walking is just as dangerous as distracted driving. If you have your head down while looking at a mobile device, you won’t be able to see traffic dangers or tripping hazards. Just keep your phone in your pocket when you’re walking near roadways.

The aftermath of an accident

Pedestrians deserve to feel safe and have just as much right to the road as drivers do. However, when you are a pedestrian, you are completely exposed. Because of this, vehicle versus pedestrian accidents are more likely to be deadly. If you suffer personal injury or the tragic loss of an immediate family member in an accident caused by negligence, there is help and support readily available.