Distracted walking is no joke.
We've all seen the videos of people engrossed in their smartphones and walking into light poles, falling down stairs and tumbling into fountains. But the sometimes serious injuries they suffer are far from humorous.
Last year, the Pokemon Go craze swept the world and has now been downloaded an incredible 750 million times. This augmented reality game displays Pokemon monsters on your smartphone screen as you walk in your office, home or neighborhood. The problem? Users become fixated on the game and don't watch where they are walking. Unfortunately, walking or driving while distracted by Pokemon Go has resulted in several deaths and serious injuries worldwide.
Distracted Walking Isn't Funny
Recently the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents increased 11% last year, to nearly 6,000. The increase is the largest ever in a single year, as well as the highest number of fatalities in more than 20 years.
Young people playing games like Pokemon Go aren't the only victims of distracted walking accidents. Cellphone users of all ages are injured while reading or sending texts, talking, listening to music or checking social media. Wearing earbuds or headphones reduces the pedestrian's awareness of traffic and other nearby activity.
Avoid a Distracted Walking Injury with These Safety Tips
- If you have to make or receive a smartphone call or text, step away from the flow of pedestrian traffic. Never stop in a street to make or receive a call.
- Avoid jaywalking by crossing streets only at traffic lights and crosswalks.
- Focus on motor traffic around you as well as obstacles and people in your area.
- Never assume that cars will stop for you, even if you are in a crosswalk. Make eye contact with the driver and cross only if the vehicle stops.
- Put down headphones when using an escalator, descending stairs or stepping on and off a curb.
Read more about pedestrian safety from the National Safety Council.
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