SUMMIT, NJ - Walking is an inherently healthy activity, encouraged by medical and fitness experts alike for myriad benefits to one's wellness. What's more, Summit is an ideal walking town, with residential dwellings closely adjacent to the major commuter transport hub and the downtown central business corridor.

Given that, its no surprise that Hilltop City residents take full advantage of the stroll-friendly dynamic and, with Summit's school on summer recess, even more folks are out and about on foot.

National, regional and local law enforcement has put forth an integrated and consistent communication effort educating the public on the dangers -- for both motorists and pedestrians -- associated with distracted driving. Now, another cautionary message is being issued -- don't walk distracted.

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When pedestrians talk on the phone, text or listen to music -- instead of paying attention to the traffic and conditions around them.-- they are increasing their chances of injury or worse.

“Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are on the rise in the nation as more people text, call and use social media when walking” said Summit Police Chief Robert Weck. “We continue to caution citizens to avoid being distracted by putting down their phones and staying focused on their surroundings as they walk or cross city streets."

Measures implemented by the Summit Police Department and the City's Engineering Department to help make City streets more walkable, including the narrowing of several busy streets to enhance traffic calming, as well as the addition of flashing pedestrian beacons at crosswalks at some of Summit’s most heavily-trafficked streets.

“Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy and enjoy our city, but we need to continue to put safety first," added Weck. "Adults should set the example by following traffic signals, avoiding jaywalking in the business district and putting away the electronic devices while crossing the street. Our older residents can be great role models and hopefully influence our younger residents to do the same.”

The Summit Police Department issued the following safety tips for pedestrians of all ages:

• If you must use headphones or other electronic devices, maintain a volume where you can still hear the sounds of traffic and your surroundings.

• If you need to talk to person next to you, make a phone call, text or any other action that could distract you from the goal of getting where you need to go safely, please stop and do so away from the traffic flow.

• Have children under the age of 10 cross the street with an adult.

• While you walk, focus on the people, objects, and obstacles around you; wear bright and/or reflective clothing when walking/jogging in the early morning and evening.

• Don't jaywalk. Cross streets carefully, preferably at a traffic signal or in a crosswalk, remaining cognizant of the pedestrian traffic flow and the cars and bikes in and near the road.

• Look up, not down, especially when stepping off or onto curbs or in the middle of major intersections. A majority of pedestrian accidents occur when vehicles are making a left turn at an intersection, so please look around as you cross.

• Never rely on a car to stop; make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to ensure they see you, even in crosswalks.

• Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because cars can cover considerable distance in a short amount of time.