Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy, but only if we put safety first. We are seldom more vulnerable than when walking. It is important to pay attention to what is going on around us.
Phone Distracted Walking
Yes, this is a real thing. In fact, it has become such a big problem that for the first time, the National Safety Council has included statistics on mobile phone distracted walking.
- Distracted walking incidents involving cell phones accounted for more than 11,100 injuries during a 2-year period.
- 52% of cell phone distracted walking injuries take place at home
- 54% are age 40 or younger
- Nearly 80% of injuries are due to a fall
The Vehicle Factor
Although more communities are trying to become more “walkable” by adding paths and pedestrian crossings improvements, there is still a long way to go. Parking lots, few or poor quality sidewalks, blind intersections and high traffic areas all contribute to pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
- Last year, over 6,100 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles
- 160,000 pedestrians were struck by a vehicle and required medical attention
- 23% of deaths and injuries result from pedestrians darting into the street
- The majority, but certainly not all, of injuries and deaths to pedestrians is to those younger than 15
Heads Up, Phone Down
While pedestrian-vehicle injuries are the 5th leading cause of death for children ages 5-19, no age group is immune. Here are a few tips for children and adults of all ages:
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street
- When walking on streets or sidewalks, also walk facing oncoming traffic
- Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
- Be aware of drivers even when you are in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
- If you wear headphones while walking, be sure the volume is low enough that you can hear traffic noises
- Never rely on a car to stop
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing
Enjoy your time outside! But be safe out there!