Dangers of Distracted Walking

Pedestrian Accident | August 13, 2021

Dangers of Distracted Walking

Pedestrians are incredibly vulnerable when they are on or around the roadways, particularly in larger cities like Chicago. Drivers and pedestrians alike need to remain vigilant at all times in order to prevent severe accidents from occurring. However, there are times when pedestrians are distracted when they or out and about. This can lead to disastrous consequences. Here, our pedestrian accident lawyers want to talk about what distracted walking is as well as the consequences of this type of behavior.

Pedestrian Accidents Result in Severe Injuries

When we look at data available from the Illinois Department of Transportation, we can see that there were 4,651 total pedestrians injured as a result of vehicle collisions across the state during the latest reporting year. Unfortunately, 171 pedestrians lost their lives as a result of these collisions during that same year.

For pedestrians who do survive a collision with another vehicle, they often sustain severe and life-altering injuries, including broken and dislocated bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage or internal bleeding, significant scarring or disfigurement, and more.

Even though many pedestrian accidents are caused by the careless or negligent actions of other drivers, the actions of a distracted walker can also lead to catastrophic injuries.

Distracted Walking – It’s Dangerous

As we become more and more immersed in our technology, distracted walking injuries become more common. It is not uncommon to see a person walking down the street while staring at their cell phone or other type of device. They could be sending or receiving a text message, browsing the Internet, checking their GPS, playing a game (Pokémon Go?), taking selfies for social media, live streaming, and more. Additionally, distractions can occur if a person has their earbuds in and they cannot hear their surroundings.

One thing we can be certain of is that distractions caused by technology are only going to increase as new technological advancements are made. Perhaps there will be stricter laws about using technology while walking around the roadway, but we are not there yet.

Distracted walking is dangerous even if a person is not in danger of being struck by another vehicle. When a person is staring at their phone screen, they are much more likely to:

  • Run into somebody else
  • Run into a fixed object 
  • Trip over an obstacle or a curb

However, the real danger comes in when vehicles are nearby. The average passenger vehicle weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. The human body is not meant to withstand the force of a vehicle slamming into it. When a person is distracted while walking, they are much more likely to put themselves in a position to be hit by a vehicle. This could include:

  • Accidentally walking off of the sidewalk into the street
  • Failing to see a stop sign or stop signal
  • Failing to follow crosswalk signals
  • Not hearing a vehicle approaching 
  • Failing to see a vehicle backing out of a parking space, driveway, or alley

The best way to prevent serious accidents from occurring is for pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings. Yes, it may be necessary to occasionally glance at a phone or another device, but the continual staring at a screen can be detrimental. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers recommend that all pedestrians put their devices away and leave the earbuds out of their ears, particularly when they are walking or exercising near traffic.