People Are Crashing Their Cars Because of Pikachu and Jigglypuff


Nintendo’s Pokémon Go is sweeping the nation, and the world at large. I’ve seen kids clumped in town squares having pizza parties as they use their smartphones to play the game, trying to find Pokémon characters out in the real world. There’s good intentions there, a game that makes kids go outside. It was nice, though the sheer number of people walking around glued to their phones as they played was sort of surreal even by the standards of the world we live in today. Apple has reported, according to an article over at TechCrunch, that Pokémon Go is its most downloaded app in its first week of release ever.

All that said, I’m hearing some pretty concerning things associated with the game as well. Some folks in Elk Grove, CA were lured into a serious situation when they tried to meet up with other fans and were instead robbed at gunpoint. Two young men in Encinitas fell off a cliff some 80 feet to the beach below trying to catch Pokémon on their phone. The one that really caught my attention happened in Baltimore; a young man and his friends sideswiped a police car while playing Pokémon Go.

Then I read about a Pokémon Go crash in Fall City, WA; then one in Auburn, NY; another across the border in Canada’s Quebec City. As the popularity of this app continues to rise to even greater heights, it may actually become something of a regular cause of accidents. All of this, of course, goes back a regular topic on this blog: distracted driving.

Distracted Driving takes many forms.  Sometimes it’s a bad mood. You could be paying more attention to one of your passengers than the road. It can be something as insignificant as eating or drinking, lighting up a cigarette or vaping. You might be trying to answer a text message [sending the average text will take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, which is just long enough for something to go wrong.]

Traffic safety experts actually consider there to be three types of distractions drivers can get caught up in: the manual, the visual, and the cognitive. A manual distraction is when you physically do something [grabbing your phone out of your purse] that takes away your attention. A visual distraction is when something else comes into view that takes your eyes off the road [a new text appears on your phone]. A cognitive distraction is anything that causes your mind to focus on something else rather than driving [thinking about a text you received]. Now with Pokémon Go, you have all three of those distractions combined just like active texting but in a new way that requires greater concentration and feeds into the competitive response of gaming. That’s what makes it more even more dangerous.

Now if you’re a person who thinks it’s important enough to catch Meowth or Psyduck that you would risk yourself, your passengers, people outside, or even your or someone else’s car, well maybe I can’t help you. However, if you’re a fairly rational person only occasionally just prone to poor judgment, please keep safety in mind. Yes, you “gotta catch em all!” but not behind the wheel. If you’re a pedestrian, look both ways when you cross the street, don’t stare at your phone, the person pulling up to the crosswalk in their car might be on the precipice of finding Charmander and not stop in time.

Don’t Pokémon Go and Drive!

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One thought on “People Are Crashing Their Cars Because of Pikachu and Jigglypuff

  1. Pingback: Pokémon Go Cares About Safe Driving |

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