Learning A Lesson the Hard Way

Almost everyone has been told – never text and walk – especially me. And sadly, most people don’t listen to these warnings – also me.

I’m here to tell you my story of texting and walking.

Like most kids, I play a sport. My sport is swimming. I swim five days a week so you can often find me on my way to swim practice or at swim practice.  On this particular day, I was leaving for practice and was talking to my friend, via text. I swung my bag over my shoulder and started to walk outside, still texting my friend.

As I walked down the steps, still texting and not looking where I was walking, I missed a step and twisted my foot. It hurt, badly but I continued to practice. When I got into my bathing suit and looked at my ankle,  it was red. When I got in the pool and started swimming, my ankle exploded with pain. I had to get out and ice it for the entire practice.  This was not good.kmm

The next day, with the pain still there,  I had to miss school.  I was upset – not about missing school, but the fact that in just three days I was to compete in my swim silver bronze championships.  I train all year round.  I wasn’t going to miss this.

Being the person I am, I swam in the swim meet, but didn’t do as well as I normally do.  All this pain because of one silly mistake I made. If I had put my phone down for just two seconds, I would’ve never slipped and got hurt.

You may say – you could’ve just slipped or it’s just one incident. But it truly isn’t. People all over the world are texting and walking and getting hurt much worse than a twisted ankle, and facing much worse consequences than missing school or doing poorly at a swim meet.

So put the phone down for one minute. It could save your life.

 

Guest post: IRF on #takeyourchildtoworkday2016

Have you met the Wexters?

Whether or not you can place the name, you have met the Wexters.  You’ve probably bumped into them on the street.  The Wexters are folks who walk and text at the same time.fear-of-the-zombie-apocalypse

You’ve seen these distracted pedestrians ambling down the sidewalk, through the parking lot, and across the street with eyes down as they busily text, talk, or listen to music all at the same time.  With no idea what is going on around them, the Wexters are dangerous to themselves and others.

There are reports of distracted pedestrians that have walked into utility and sign posts, bumped into walls and other pedestrians, and stepped in front of moving cars. Occasionally, we hear of the distracted pedestrian who walked into a glass door or into a fountain.  Let us not forget the woman who fell into Lake Michigan.  A study published by the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) revealed 40% have witnessed a distracted pedestrian incident and 25% admitted their own involvement in an incident.

It’s easy to laugh.  In fact, 22% of AAOS respondents think distracted walking mishaps are “funny.”  But incidents like these are no joke.  Serious injuries can and do occur.  In 2013, Ohio State University released a nationwide study which reported 256 distracted pedestrian emergency room visits in 2005.  Five years later, in 2010, the number rose more than 500% to 1,506.  This does not account for visits to personal physicians.

Avoid becoming a Wexter:

  • Keep volume on headphone low enough to hear traffic.
  • Focus on the people, objects, and obstacles around you.
  • Obey traffic signals.  Don’t jaywalk.
  • Look up especially at curbs, stairs, and escalators.
  • If you must make a call or text, step to the side, out of the way of pedestrians and traffic.

Photo credit: Found online. Unable to trace source

Halloween Pedestrian and Driver Safety Tips

halloween safety tips The ghosts, monsters and other creatures walking the streets on Oct. 31 aren’t the most frightful thing about Halloween. Here’s a scary fact: Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for children walking on roadways across the country.

Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween. That makes following safe pedestrian and driver practices all the more important as children set out to trick or treat this year.

The Street Smart NJ campaign wants to make sure that costumes are the only thing causing a scare this year. Be sure to follow these tips to make your Halloween happy and safe.

For Pedestrians

• Make sure costumes don’t impair your child’s ability to walk or see. KidsHealth.org warns against wearing masks that can limit visibility.

• Before crossing look left, right, and then left again.

• Use sidewalks. When there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

• Be visible. The Safe Kids Worldwide campaign suggests adding reflective tape to costumes or having children carry a light or glow stick. A survey by the group found that only 18 percent of parents have their children use safety lighting on Halloween.

• Cross at corners and intersections and use marked crosswalks when possible.

For Drivers

• Obey the speed limit. AAA suggests driving 5 mph below the posted speed limit on Halloween.

• Stop for pedestrians. New Jersey law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in cross-walks. Violations of the law carry a $200 fine and two points on your license.

• Don’t drive distracted. New Jersey prohibits talking and texting while driving. Fines range from $200 for first-time offenders to as much as $800 for repeat offenders.

• Drive sober. On Halloween Night between 2009 and 2013, 119 people were killed by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration.

Want more suggestions on how to stay safe? Check out our Street Smart Safety Tips page.

This post was written and created by Street Smart NJ Pedestrian Safety Campaign in conjunction with NJTPA.