Although walking is a great form of exercise, if you’re not careful and mindful of your surroundings, it can also be extremely dangerous. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration estimates that over 4,000 pedestrians are injured and killed every year due to traffic crashes. Nearly 50 percent of these crashes can be contributed to pedestrian distractions.
When you hear about a traffic crash caused by distractions, you immediately assume that the distraction was on behalf of the driver. Unfortunately, with the increased popularity of smartphones, MP3 players, and portable tablets, more and more pedestrians are joining the band wagon of consistent distractions.
Distractive Pedestrian Devices and Actions
In itself, pedestrians using devices to make their walks more entertaining, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can now listen to your favorite tunes while taking your dog for a walk, or check traffic near your favorite walking paths. However, the distractions become a problem when they limit your ability to safely pay attention to the world around you, including and most importantly—traffic.
Drivers have enough things to pay attention to without having to guess or predict your actions when you’re not paying attention. If you can’t be bothered to raise your head to see if the walking signal is blinking red, or take the few seconds to look both ways before crossing the straight, drivers can’t very well be expected to protect against your obliviousness.
So next time you go for a walk, either refrain from doing these common forms of distraction, or if you absolutely must do them, make sure you’re adamantly paying attention to surrounding traffic:
- Listening to your headphones.
- Texting, checking Facebook, or playing on your phone.
- Talking on your phone or asking Siri a multitude of questions.
- Reading a book, either on an electronic reader, or on a tablet.
- Blindly following the crowd, while assuming they know what they are doing.
Putting Down the Distractions to Decrease Pedestrian Crashes
Distracted driving consequences and risks are constantly being shown in the news, on television, and on billboards, but the same distractions are somehow being ignored by pedestrians. Help us raise awareness about pedestrian risks and encourage your friends and family to put down their distractions. Share this page on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus—together, we can help decrease pedestrian crashes and make our roads a safer place to walk and drive.
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