What Are the Biggest Risks of Living in Florida?

By  //  December 15, 2019

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Florida has a reputation as being a state where quite a few crazy things happen regularly, many of them garnering national and even international attention.

Florida has a reputation as being a state where quite a few crazy things happen regularly, many of them garnering national and even international attention.

Of course, Florida isn’t all craziness—it’s also a state with a lot of natural beauty and a warm, pleasant climate year-round.

Regardless, what are some of the biggest risks of living in Florida, if you’re looking at the news and statistics?

Pedestrian Accidents

Statistics show that Florida ranks number one for pedestrian deaths. Nine of the 20 cities with the most yearly pedestrian crashes are in Florida, as well.

So why is Florida so challenging and possibly risky for pedestrians? One reason is that it’s just not a pedestrian-friendly state. Most of the cities are spread out and there aren’t a lot of sidewalks and crosswalks as well as other features that pedestrians use.

There is also an influx of people moving to Florida, meaning more cars on the roadways, more possible dangers, and more accidents.

The severity of a pedestrian accident can vary quite a bit. A pedestrian harmed in an accident may sustain minor scrapes and bruises, or on the other end of the spectrum, they can become disabled or die as a result of their injuries.

Along with pedestrian-related accidents, there has been a rise in the number of Florida traffic accidents in general. For example, there has been an increase in the frequency of accidents occurring in central Florida and in particular, the Orlando metro.

Some of the contributors to vehicle accidents in Florida include weather and distracted driving. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol plays a role in many Florida accidents, as does the age of drivers. The number of drivers over the age of 65 in car accidents was nearly double that of people between the ages of 15 and 19.

Hurricanes

Florida is located near the tropics, and because of how the winds blow along the equator, it’s very susceptible to hurricanes. The deadliest recent storms that impacted Florida were Irma in 2017 and Michael in 2018. Gustav, Ike, and Katrina all also affected Florida.

Back in 1992, catastrophic Hurricane Andrew was directly responsible for 26 deaths and indirectly responsible for 39. Forty-four of these were in Florida, and in addition, more than 25,500 homes were destroyed. The damages were more than $25 billion, and at the time it hit, it was the costliest natural disaster the state had seen.

Beach Risks

One of the reasons Florida is a top tourist destination is because of the beautiful beaches on the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean. However, those beaches can carry risks too.

Beach risks to be aware of in Florida include:

  • Lightening can be a danger anywhere, not just Florida, but since many people are outside more often in Florida, it’s a risk to be aware of. On average, lightning kills five people a year in Florida, especially in June, July, and August.
  • The sun can cause short-term and long-term risks and damage. Short-term risks include heat exhaustion and dehydration, while long-term risks include skin cancer. Along with the sun itself, the heat in Florida can be dangerous. For example, during the summer, people in Florida are sometimes advised against going outside at all.
  • Florida is often named as the capital of shark bites. There are around 30 unprovoked shark bites that occur in Florida on average each year, and surfers and people who do board sports are most likely to be bitten.
  • Bacteria are sometimes found in high concentrations in Florida’s ocean waters. One example is the bacteria enterococci, which can cause infections and illnesses.

Accidental Shootings

Unfortunately, there has been a spike in accidental shootings in Florida in recent years. According to federal data, the number of people injured in accidental shootings went up 82% in Florida between 2007 and 2017.

Alligators

There are a lot of scary things in the wild in Florida, including alligators. There are around 1.3 million alligators that call Florida home, and they do play an essential role in the wetlands ecosystem, but that doesn’t necessarily make them less scary for residents of the state.

If you live on the water in Florida, you’re more likely to find yourself interacting with a gator. They’re found in pools, garages, ditches, and a variety of other places.

If a gator is less than four feet long, it’s not considered a danger unless you’re handling it. However, larger gators, which are classified as nuisance gators, can be a very real risk.

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