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Distracted walking may contribute to some pedestrian collisions

Almost everyone has heard of distracted driving, which often involves a motorist trying to multitask. However, distractions can also be dangerous when walking.

Many pedestrians trivialize the danger associated with cellphones, headphones and other walking distractions. However, a recent article suggests that pedestrian distractions may be one reason for a national increase in pedestrian deaths. In 2018, 6,227 pedestrians died in traffic collisions. California was one of the states with the most pedestrian deaths.

How can cellphone use be dangerous to pedestrians?

Although pedestrians are traveling at much slower speeds than motorists, cellphone use endangers pedestrians in much the same way it endangers drivers. You cannot clearly see your surroundings if you are texting, browsing the web, tweeting or otherwise looking down at your phone. Talking on the phone or listening to music can prevent you from hearing your surroundings.

If you do not see or hear your surroundings, you may not be able to react appropriately to avoid a hazard. If you cannot hear a rumbling engine, you may not notice a driver preparing to back out of a driveway into your path. If you do not notice a pothole, you may stumble into the path of an oncoming car.

Keep in mind that cellphones are not the only distractions. Anything that takes your eyes, ears or mind off your surroundings can be a dangerous distraction.

Are there other ways I can reduce my risk of being hit by a car?

Avoiding distractions can be one good way to reduce your risk of being involved in a collision. However, there are several other beneficial actions you can take, such as:

  • Walking on the sidewalk when one is available
  • Making eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you
  • Looking left, right and left again before crossing the street
  • Looking for vehicles that may turn or back into your path

When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the pedestrian does not have the same physical protection as a motorist. Usually, the pedestrian receives serious injuries, even when the vehicle was not traveling very fast. This is why it is important to do everything in your power to avoid being hit by a car.

However, sometimes pedestrians are hit by cars because of a driver’s reckless actions. If a motorist drives into you as you are walking, it may be appropriate to seek justice.

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