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While the phrase “distracted driving” has been in common use for years, its pedestrian counterpart isn’t nearly as popular. As cell phone use becomes more and more pervasive, people are more likely to walk directly into danger without knowing it. Distracted walking is fast becoming a pedestrian habit.

It is not uncommon for those enjoying a leisurely stroll or walking to their destination as a healthy means of transportation to listen to music, listen to a podcast, talk on the phone, browse the web or text their friends to pass the time. Unfortunately, these habits can lead to unsafe walking behaviors such as missing posted safety signs or failing to recognize traffic patterns.

In attempting to call attention to the dangers inherent in distracted walking, the National Safety Council (NSC) has adopted the motto “Head Up, Phone Down.” The NSC has gone so far as to suggest that using a cell phone while walking around your own home is an unsafe practice. While looking down at a phone screen, it is easy to lose balance, to fail to identify obstacles, or misjudge walking up or down a set of stairs.

The most severe injuries, however, tend to occur near motor vehicles. Whether they are jogging beside a busy thoroughfare or crossing an intersection, distracted walkers can put themselves at risk for traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, broken bones or similar injuries. Lack of attention can cause an individual to step into traffic at the wrong time, to misidentify a car turning right on red or fail to notice a vehicle not following traffic laws.

Motor vehicle collisions can result in devastating injuries – some requiring lifelong rehabilitation. With distracted walking incidents on the rise, pedestrians and bicyclists find themselves facing a new set of challenges on every trip. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney for guidance.