Last night, the Chicago Tribune posted an article online that discussed how distracted drivers might not be the only factor in pedestrian related accidents, but pedestrians who are tuned out may play a factor as well. Smartphones, music, grooming, and even reading can all be issues for drivers, but these distractions can be just as dangerous and life threatening for pedestrians. The article reports, “Serious injuries to pedestrians listening to headphones while walking have more than tripled in three years.” Close to 70%, well over half, of pedestrians involved in train or car accidents who were listening to headphones were killed, according to the study. Over 60% of those pedestrians who were killed were men that were under the age of 30-years-old. Many universities see accidents like this, because of the dense population of pedestrians, most of whom probably own and regularly use headphones.
Because headphones have become so popular over the years, with the inventions of smartphones with music capabilities as well as MP3 players, there has been a clear increase of pedestrian accidents. Our Chicago auto accident lawyers saw that USAToday.com reported on the topic as well. The article clarifies that most drivers are aware of the risks of texting while driving, but more and more people are seen with headphones in their ears and new handheld technologies, yet are unaware of the dangers of distracted walking.
An Illinois auto accident attorney in our firm thought going over pedestrian safety would be beneficial for our readers. First, always stay alert. As the articles above mention, don’t let distractions such as headphones or text messaging get in the way of your safety. You are responsible for making sure that you are walking in a safe path. Pedestrians should be particularly careful when crossing intersections, because drivers may not see them, or could not yield the right-of-way while turning left and right. Pedestrians should also make sure to wear clothing that stands out when it is dark out, but also try to refrain from waking around in the dark when visibility is limited. We understand that there not always be a crosswalk available, but when there is, use the designated path. Crosswalks are much more safe. However, if you should have to walk in the street, make sure that you are walking facing traffic so you are more visible.
From the point of view of a Chicago car accident attorney, we hope drivers will always make sure to yield the right-of-way when there are pedestrians present. They should also always be aware and alert and avoid distractions to prevent accidents with pedestrians. But we also hope that pedestrians will be more alert in order to avoid accidents that could result in very serious injuries, or even fatalities.