The dangers of using a smartphone while driving are well established. From data compiled over the past several years, the CDC reports there are more than 1,060 injures and at least nine deaths each day from distracted driving in the U.S.
But another problem from our smartphone addiction is on the rise – distracted walking.
Funny YouTube videos of people walking into fountains and street posts while texting are viral sensations, but the distracted walking trend is no laughing matter. Georgia DOT reports that pedestrian accidents and deaths are up 54% in the past five years with other states seeing similar surges.
The most common injuries associated with distracted walking include:
- Sprains and strains
- Cuts and bruises
- Fractures and broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Hurting someone else
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a distracted walking statistic.
Put the Smartphone in Airplane Mode
Most devices have an airplane mode that disables cellular voice and data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and location-based services. This mode quiets all the alerts that cause an instinctual reach for the smartphone. Using airport mode as a pedestrian reduces device distraction thus allowing more awareness of the environment.
Don’t worry, all messages will re-sync when reconnecting to the network.
Remove headphones when crossing a street in the crosswalk (and always use the crosswalk). On the sidewalk keep the volume low so that local sounds can still be heard. Never use noise-canceling headphones as a pedestrian. Warnings that may not be seen can be heard, such as a car horn or police siren.
See & Be Seen
In response to the increase in distracted walking incidents, Georgia DOT has launched a program called See & Be Seen. It strives to raise awareness of being a safe pedestrian. It includes some basic reminders such as looking left-right-left before stepping into a crosswalk (once again, always use the crosswalk). Much of the campaign is devoted to reducing cell phone use while walking, especially in urban areas.
While these tips can help improve pedestrian safety, accidents still happen. If you have been injured in a walking incident contact Fry | Goehring. We want to hear your story and help you get the compensation you deserve.