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Mom was right: Always look both ways

The old adage to "look both ways before you cross the street" is even more important in Florida. According to a study published in the Huffington Post, Florida ranks second in pedestrian deaths. Only New Mexico has more pedestrian -related fatalities.

What does this mean for you?

In Florida, an average of 588 people are killed each year in pedestrian accidents. Couple that with the third highest number of traffic fatalities overall (2494), and Florida's roads are actually more unsafe than any metropolis, including New York City.

What gives in Florida?

The study does not indicate why Florida has the rate of pedestrian deaths it has, nor does it distinguish the town or county where most deaths occur. But one can certainly extrapolate. Miami Beach and Orlando are two of the busiest tourist destinations in the state. Given the sheer number of people in these areas on any given day, one can imagine they are a likely source of accidents.

So what can you do?

Basic common sense can keep you from being a statistic. Remember what your parents told you:

Look both ways before crossing the street: This can't be stressed enough. If you are expecting a driver to see you, you are expecting too much. Create your own safety, by checking and re-checking before you step in the crosswalk

Use the crosswalk: Which brings us to using a crosswalk. You were probably told never to cross in the middle of the road. The reason for this is that crosswalks offer the best chance of a driver seeing you--they are usually well-lighted, and cars cannot park within 30 feet of a crosswalk, making sight-lines for drivers broader.

Wear lighter colors: Florida's climate naturally lends itself to lighter, brighter colors. But black is de rigueur for after-hours dinners and parties. The problem with black is that is makes it harder for a driver to see you. If you do wear black--and we all do at some point--make sure that you are extra vigilant when stepping into the road.

Simple steps

These steps are simple, but easily forgotten, especially as we age (we get the idea we know the rules and promptly forget them.) Be streetwise and use the above suggestions to keep yourself from being a Florida fatality.

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