Walking while talking or texting on your cell phone in New York City can be deadly. With millions of people and cars out and about on any given day, commuters must stay alert to avoid pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians who travel on their phones can miss critical hazards that lead to catastrophic injuries and death. Here’s what all New Yorkers should know to avoid making these fatal errors.
Pandemic-Related Road Hazards
Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving. Drivers who take their eyes off the road can miss critical hazards, including pedestrians, cyclists, other motor vehicles, and stationary objects. Pedestrians are equally at risk of missing these hazards when their attention is on their phone, with a higher risk of injury due to minimal protection.
As NYC roads become even more treacherous in a post-COVID city, pedestrians cannot afford to be distracted. In 2021 alone, over 100 people have died in pedestrian accidents across the five boroughs. Speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, and fatigued driving have all contributed to the uptick in road fatalities– these are the drivers least likely to spot a pedestrian who is distracted on the road.
As the pandemic calls for less public interaction, food delivery has been more popular than ever. An increase in delivery and food trucks make navigating roads as a pedestrian even more difficult. It takes every bit of concentration you have to ensure a driver sees you, that you’re crossing when allowed and to avoid drivers who are breaking the rules. Distracted walking is comparable to walking across NYC with your eyes closed, something most pedestrians would never even think to do.
Common Distracted Walking Accidents
Distracted pedestrians are more likely than non-distracted pedestrians to display risky behaviors that lead to accidents and injuries. Sometimes, pedestrians don’t even know they are doing these behaviors because they aren’t paying attention. These incidents include:
- Tripping and falling on corners and curbs;
- Walking into oncoming traffic;
- Not crossing at crosswalks;
- Ignoring traffic signals;
- Walking into walls, trash cans, poles, and other stationary objects;
- Falling downstairs;
- Colliding with bicycles, e-scooters, and e-bikes; and
- Falling off bridges, into lakes and fountains.
Some of these examples may seem silly, but thousands of these careless accidents result in severe injuries and tragic deaths every year. Any pedestrian that walks while on their phone immediately increases their risk for injuries by nearly 50 percent. A pedestrian’s ability to sense danger declines when focused on a phone. Their perception of all activity surrounding them is reduced to no further than a few inches outside of their screen, no matter how hard they try to input more.
Multitasking Is Not Safe
Pedestrians who think they can multitask on their walking commute have one thing right –it’s not impossible to do two things at once. The problem with multitasking is that just because you can do two things simultaneously doesn’t mean you should, and it doesn’t make it safe.
According to the National Safety Council (N.S.C.), our brain is not meant to function on two cognitive tasks equally at the same time, such as navigating dangerous NYC roads while typing an email. We may physically be doing both tasks at once, but our brain is only partially focused on each. Our brain will block out several hazards to process the cognitive tasks we are actively pursuing. When pedestrians are on their phone, they may be glancing up to look where they are walking, but their brain purposely only picks up a few auditory and peripheral cues to maintain focus on the other task on the phone.
Reduce Distracted Walking Deaths and Injuries
Accidents caused by distracted walking are entirely preventable. To help reduce these types of injuries, the N.S.C. encourage pedestrians to use the following safety tips every time they walk:
- Put the phone down;
- Look both ways before crossing intersections and crosswalks;
- Always cross at designated crosswalks and wait for signals;
- Make eye contact with drivers– never assume they see you;
- Don’t wear headphones while walking to increase auditory awareness;
- Do not try to cross busy highways;
- Never use designated bike paths for walking;
- Stand far from the curb when waiting for a ride;
- Walk in groups when possible; and
- Wear reflective gear and bright colors for better visibility at night.
If you must use your cell phone, be smart about it. Sit on a bench or stand clear of foot traffic until you are finished. Avoid playing virtual games or following a GPS that requires you to keep your eyes on your phone while walking. If you have to take a call, stop. There is no conversation worth putting your life at risk.
Our personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber have over 30 years of experience representing accident victims on Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process, using our experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343, or schedule an appointment online at any time. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.