The recent launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite by Niantic is exciting for fans of the record-breaking series; however, augmented reality games have caused distracted mobility issues in the past, including auto accidents, injuries and even deaths. Automotive telematics firm, The Floow, is providing players with safety tips during gameplay.
“Just a little bit of effort can go a long way in preventing accidents while putting gameplay disruptions at a minimum.”
Don’t Play While Driving — When Niantic’s first successful augmented reality game, Pokémon Go, was released, distracted driving and distracted walking became a significant problem. In fact, Purdue University researchers estimated in late-2017 that the game could have been responsible for 256 deaths, 29,370 injuries and up to $7.3 billion in traffic-related damages since its inception in 2016.
It’s proven that distracted driving can kill, and we advise players to put the phone down when behind the wheel. Instead, find a non-playing designated driver to drive as you play, or pull over and safely park in designated parking areas.
Stay Conscious of Your Surroundings — It’s easy to get immersed in a game, but if you’re walking, always remain aware of your surroundings, whether it’s nearby cars, other people or unseen dangers. If you’re completely focused on the game and your phone, you may unwittingly place yourself in harm’s way and not fully realize it until it’s too late.
Look Both Ways Before You Cross the Street — The old adage is still true and bears repeating. Distracted walking can often be more dangerous than distracted driving because a car wins every time it hits a pedestrian. Take yourself out of the game just for a moment before crossing any street to ensure your safety.
Don’t Play Alone — Augmented reality games can occasionally take you to dangerous parts of town. We offer the same advice that other organizations provide: never travel (or in this case play the game) alone. There’s safety in numbers, and playing with friends will help you remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
“Games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Pokémon Go offer hours of fun and excitement for gamers, but as with anything fun, you have to enjoy it responsibly,” says Dr. Sam Chapman, Chief Innovation Officer, Co-Founder and Director at The Floow. “Just a little bit of effort can go a long way in preventing accidents while putting gameplay disruptions at a minimum.”