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Pedestrians can take steps for safety

A 'pedextrian' is someone who texts while they are walking, with no apparent knowledge of the world going on around them. While everyone is aware of the danger in distracted driving, distracted walking is dangerous too.

Smartphones and mobile phones are a big part of everyday life for most people. Unfortunately, when motorists and pedestrians get distracted by their phones, serious accidents can happen. Here are two guidelines to help distracted pedestrians avoid some of the biggest hazards.

Head up, phone down

When you are walking, be sure to have your head up so that you can be aware of what's around you. If you must look at your phone, take frequent breaks to look up and hold the phone higher in your visual field so that you can better see your surroundings.

  • Walking on the sidewalk: Avoid texting while crossing the street, this is the most dangerous place for pedextrians.
  • Walking in a crowd: Step out of the way to finish a text.
  • Walking in the dark: Be aware that drivers may not be able to see you.
  • Walking in bad weather: Even vigilant drivers can lose control when the roads are icy or snowy. Safely cross streets at traffic lights and with the flow of other pedestrians.

Headphone safety

Hearing potential dangers and alerts is also an important part of being aware of your surroundings. Using hands-free features can help you better focus on your physical environment.

  • Software on your phone can read out your messages and allow you to use voice commands.
  • Keep volume at a minimum and avoid noise-cancelling headphones when you're walking outdoors.

Studies show distracted walking injuries are on the rise. In fact, the National Safety Council officially added distracted walking to its annual report of unintentional deaths and injuries last year. Because of this, it is important for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to stay off their phones and focus on pedestrian safety.

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