While zombies thankfully still remain a figment of our imagination, ‘smombies’ – people walking while staring at their smartphones – are very real and a growing cause for concern. Fed up of having to constantly alert both locals an tourists to pay more attention to their surroundings to avoid serious accidents, authorities in a small German town have come up with a more proactive solution – embedding traffic lights in the pavement to make them visible to people constantly looking down at their phones.
The seemingly ridiculous safety measure was put in place after two pedestrians in the town of Augsburg were recently hit by quiet electric street trains as they crossed the street without looking up from their phones. They both escaped with only slight injuries, but a 15-year-old girl engrossed in her smartphone on a street in nearby Munich wasn’t so lucky. She was hit by a tram and dragged along for several feet before she died. So authorities in Augsburg decided to act, installing ground level traffic lights at two tram stops last Tuesday. The lights flash red every time a tram is approaching, or when the regular traffic light turns red.