Attention all texters! Be aware, move with care
So far as road safety is concerned — whether you're driving, cycling or simply walking down the street — nothing is more crucial than being aware of what's going on around you.
Lyne Denis, an investigator and preventionist with Concordia's Security Department, says pedestrians nowadays are distracted by electronic devices, and often don’t pay attention long enough to make sure they're not walking into traffic.
“There are many risks in crossing a busy intersection, such as Guy and De Maisonneuve, even on a green light. Imagine someone doing that while texting. When you’re not aware of what’s going on around you, you put yourself at risk. “
Visibility is also paramount, Denis says, adding that if drivers don’t see you crossing the road, they won’t stop. “The best rule of thumb is to establish eye contact with drivers as they’re approaching you.”
With both the Loyola and Sir George Williams campuses situated along busy streets, the safety of pedestrians as they negotiate these roadways is an important priority for Concordia's Security Department.
Last year, the department launched the “Be Aware. Move with Care” awareness campaign, aimed at informing the Concordia community about of the importance of obeying the Quebec Highway Safety Code, being alert when crossing the street, and maintaining eye contact with other road users.
“Road safety and traffic regulations are of the utmost importance for everyone,” Denis says.
Of course, it's not just texting that's responsible for so many perfectly avoidable accidents; electronic devices in general are driving people's attention away from the roads and sidewalks.
Listening to music, talking on the phone, scrolling up and down one's tablet looking for a particular song — there are endless cognitive and visual distractions keeping people from focusing on the road in front of them.
Denis warns that while our various gadgets may have made our lives easier in some respects, our reliance on them is infringing on our safety. And nowhere is this more evident than when we're walking or driving through an intersection with our noses buried in our phones.
It's exactly these bad habits that the Be Aware, Move with Care campaign seeks to address.
“Pay attention and be safe this summer. No text or phone call is more important than your life,” Denis insists. “Whoever’s calling or texting you can wait until you've crossed the street. Be smart, and respect not only your own safety, but the safety of others as well.