As soon as the new gaming app Pokémon Go released in early July, fans of the Pokémon universe were hitting the streets in search of their favorite animated monsters. People were bumping into each other at the store, on sidewalks and around public squares while they tossed Pokéballs at elusive Pikachus.
Everybody was laughing. That is until a 28-year-old got behind the wheel of his car in Auburn, New York, pulled out his phone and started hunting Pokémon while on the road.
Now, that young man's blue sedan is a crumpled heap, and the huge tree isn't doing much better. The driver suffered some lacerations and bruises - which makes him a bit of a lucky man. He admitted to officers that he was trying to catch one of the cartoon monsters and drifted off the road and straight into a tree. Ouch!
Keep safety a priority
While the allure of snagging your missing Rhyhorn or Magicarp is undeniable, when setting out to hunt Pokémon, it is still important to remember you are responsible for your personal safety and those around you. That begins with avoiding distracted driving.
Police departments are fond of reminding you not to use a hand-held device for talking or texting behind the wheel. However, holding up your smartphone while searching the sky, roadside and under the bumper of the car in front of you is just as distracting, and dangerous, as sending off a tweet to your BFF announcing the capture of Pikachu.
If you can't deny the compulsion of grabbing your phone while sitting in traffic, it might be better to lock up your Pokémon Go enabled device in the glovebox until you get to the next Pokémon gym. Out of sight might not be out of mind, but at least it will be out of reach.
Besides, is adding to your Pokédex more important than keeping your car in one piece, your passenger and others out of the hospital, and your driving points to a minimum?
If you are ready to go hunting with your friends, do so safely.
- Hunt Pokémon with a friend, and stop them from walking into traffic too.
- Only use a smartphone while in the passenger seat of the car.
- Stay aware of your surroundings. If you wouldn't walk down that alley on a normal day, don't do it while chasing a Diglett.
- Avoid trespassing. Private property is still private.
- Avoid sharing your location on social media with strangers
"Play safe and stay safe," may not be the hippest slogan, but it is one that could save your life, the lives of others and keep you out of unnecessary trouble with the law.