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Don’t text while crossing the street

You hear a lot about distracted driving and the dangers of texting behind the wheel, but what about texting while walking? Is it dangerous for pedestrians to use their phones while walking near the road?

It certainly can increase the odds of an accident and an injury. In fact, in some places — like Honolulu — crossing the street while you have your eyes on your phone is actually illegal. People keep getting hit in the street, so lawmakers put this law into effect to get them to keep their eyes up and on the traffic around them. Like seat belt laws, this is a law made distinctly to keep people safe and to essentially protect them from themselves.

There are two important things to take away from this. First of all, distraction is never good around the road. As far as safety tips go, you definitely want to avoid distraction and stay off of your phone. Don’t text or check social media while you cross the street or even walk down the sidewalk, where you could cross driveways and other hazards.

Secondly, though, putting the emphasis fully on the pedestrian is somewhat unfair. For instance, imagine that you have the walk signal at a crosswalk. You see it and start crossing legally. You look down at your phone, so you don’t see the driver who runs the red light and hits you.

Clearly, while avoiding distraction may have helped you avoid the crash, it’s not your fault that the driver ran the light. You still did have the right of way. Suggesting that it’s your fault for not avoiding a driver who broke the law is unfair to you and doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation.

An accident like this can leave you with high medical bills and other costs. Make sure you understand your legal rights.