Spring is sprung, and walkers are already outdoors enjoying the mild temperatures before summer starts in earnest. Unfortunately, walking in an urban area can be hazardous for your health — particularly in Texas.

Late in 2019, Texas earned the dubious distinction of being the eighth-most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians, according to the Pedestrian Danger Index — and it could be getting even worse. Fatalities among pedestrians have been surging, climbing from 485 in 2013 to 619 in 2018. By 2022, fatalities are expected to reach about 680 per year.

But fatalities only show part of the picture. Pedestrian accidents that don’t end up fatal are often still physically, emotionally and financially devastating to the victims and their families. Broken bones, crushed spines, facial and brain injuries are possible — and many victims never fully recover. Some may be confined to wheelchairs or nursing homes for the rest of their lives.

What makes a community particularly dangerous to walkers? Experts say that it often comes down to a few specific issues:

  • A poorly designed city layout: When many larger cities were developed, nobody thought about foot traffic. The streets were built to ease traffic congestion, nothing more. That leaves many walkers looking in vain for useful crosswalks.
  • Badly placed or confusing signs: Crosswalk signs that don’t operate in sync with the traffic lights and signs that are confusing to drivers also contribute to accidents and injuries.
  • Distracted driving and walking: Both drivers and walkers tend to get lost in their electronic devices or get distracted by everything from their own thoughts to the chatter of their companions.
  • Big vehicles: In general, Americans love sports utility vehicles and small trucks. The bigger the vehicle, the more damage it can do to someone’s body in an accident.

It’s wise to know the risks of danger when you’re out there so that you can take steps to protect yourself. If your safety measures fail, however, find out more about your right to compensation.