Distracted driving has been labeled one of the top causes of auto and pedestrian crashes. What many people fail to realize, though, is that distractions while walking near roadways can be just as unsafe.
Cell phones and other electronic devices are used by pedestrians every day while walking down busy sidewalks and streets. It is not uncommon to have to navigate around those looking down at their phones – unfortunately this oftentimes leads to serious injuries, as drivers aren’t always looking out for pedestrians. It is your responsibility to keep yourself safe just as much as it is those around you. 4 out of every 10 Americans claim to have witnessed a distracted walking accident personally and 26% have been involved in one themselves. From 2009 until 2013, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 15% – 4,735 in 2013 alone.
Even cities considered to be the most “walkable” can be the most dangerous for pedestrian injuries. New York City, Washington, Las Vegas, and Chicago are a few of the cities ranked as the most “walkable”, but each boasts high numbers of pedestrian accidents.
There are many “walkable” neighborhoods in the Atlanta area – Midtown, Inman Park, Centennial Hill, and Georgia Tech to name a few. But the high number of automobile traffic throughout Metro-Atlanta means all pedestrians should be especially careful when near roadways. Any distraction can be the difference in arriving at your destination safely or not.
Here are a few tips to preventing vehicle-pedestrian accidents as the pedestrian:
- Check both ways before crossing the street and always use crosswalks.
- Be aware of blind spots of all vehicles – just because you see them doesn’t mean they see you.
- Make eye contact with vehicles coming towards you to ensure they see you.
- Never use an electronic device while walking – including headphones. Hearing your surroundings can be imperative when avoiding a crash.
- Wear reflective clothing when walking day or night.
- Travel in groups – the more people you’re near, the more likely drivers will be to see you.
Walking as a method of commuting is good for your health, the environment, and the community as a whole – but we urge you to be safe while doing so. Just like when you’re in a motor vehicle, you should never depend on those around you to maintain your safety.