Since smartphones became commonplace, distracted driving has become an enormous problem on our country’s streets and highways–with more than 3,000 deaths related to inattentive drivers taking place each year across the nation.
But although most drivers are now familiar with the dangers of taking their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel, fewer people are aware that it is also dangerous to lose focus while on sidewalks and shoulders, walking as their means of transportation. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, 11,000 people are injured due to texting and walking each year in the United States–and texting while walking can cause people to lose track of their surroundings and veer off course. In fact, one study found that 60 percent of people who were walking while distracted veered off their course.
Federal Way and the greater Seattle area are great places to get from here to there on foot–but distracted walking can make this economic and healthy form of transportation dangerous, especially in congested urban areas.
Types of Distracted Walking
Although distracted walking has been in the news recently because of an uptick in smartphone use, distracted walking can take many forms. Really, any activity that takes your eyes, ears, or mind off of your primary task is a danger. This could include:
- Texting, reading your phone, using apps, or checking your email while walking.
- Talking on the phone while walking.
- Looking at a book or map while walking.
- Listening to headphones while walking.
Pedestrian Safety Means Being Alert While Walking
It might sound silly, but when you are walking, it’s important to focus on the task at hand, especially if you are walking in areas with high traffic or without sidewalks. Here are just a few things you can do to increase your awareness while walking:
- Keep your phone in your pocket or purse – you can even turn off alerts so that a buzzing or ringing phone won’t interrupt you.
- If you do have to write a text or take a call, consider stopping to sit on a bench or just to stand aside until you are done with your communications.
- While it can be nice to walk while listening to music, books, or podcasts, it also greatly increases the danger of distracted walking. If you really want to listen while you walk, consider only using one earbud or turning down the volume so that you can hear the noise of approaching vehicles.
- Use your senses to keep you safe: listen for motors, and look around you, especially when you are crossing the street or walking in an area without sidewalks.
- Obey all traffic laws–and be predictable. Don’t dart into the street or cross without a crosswalk.
Talk To A Federal Way Personal Injury Attorney Today
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian deaths were steadily dropping until 2009 – about the same time that smartphones began to gain popularity. It’s no coincidence that numbers have started to rise again since both pedestrians and those behind the wheel have started to look at their phones while getting from here to there.
At The Ye Law Firm, we are committed to helping injury victims get the legal help they need. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pedestrian accident in the Seattle, Bellevue, or Federal Way areas, a Federal Way personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation and justice that you are seeking. To learn more, or to request a free, no-obligation meeting, please call us today at 253-946-0577 or fill out our quick contact form.