Safety Tips on How to Avoid Being a Distracted Pedestrian

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the dangers associated with distracted driving.  We have seen the public service announcements warning drivers not to text or talk on their phones while behind the wheel, but what about the dangers of being a distracted pedestrian?

There has been a recent and dramatic increase in the number of pedestrians struck by automobiles and killed in recent years. While some of this can be attributed to distracted drivers, those not paying attention to their surroundings while crossing the street has also been reported to play a role in many incidents. One study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University concluded that the number of pedestrians (or “petextrians” as they are commonly referred to) injured while on their cellphones has doubled over the last decade.

Studies suggest that distracted walkers take longer to cross the street and are more likely to ignore traffic lights or neglect to look both ways while crossing. These problems are particularly prevalent among teens, but it’s important to note that all age groups are vulnerable to these dangers.

Safety experts agree that the most important advice for pedestrians is to never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking. Here are some other tips to stay safe and avoid injury while crossing the streets:

  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time
  • Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
  • Be aware of drivers even when you’re in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
  • Don’t wear headphones while walking
  • If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
  • Never rely on a car to stop
  • Only cross at designated crosswalks
  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing
  • Walk in groups

Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy, but only if we put safety first. Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division wants to warn our community that the risk for injury and death escalates when a pedestrian is not focused on his or her environment and our staff wants to spread the word on how pedestrians can avoid senseless injuries and death.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.