Five Pokemon GO accidents that stress the importance of paying attention

It's time to crack open the "this is why we can't have nice things" file, as reports of Pokemon GO related injuries have been hitting the internet left and right since the game launched last week. While it is great to be able to hunt Pokemon in the real world, it can also prove to be dangerous to those who aren't willing to pay attention during their Pokemon hunt. Despite warnings coming from everywhere (even the app itself warns you every time you boot it up), people seem to be getting so enthralled in catching Pokemon that they end up losing focus on their surroundings, and some of those people inevitably end up injured.

What is perhaps the most head-scratching injury on the list also happens to be the most recent. NBC 7 in San Diego reports that a pair of men were injured while playing Pokemon GO when they fell off a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Apparently the men broke through a fence to catch a Pokemon, despite posted signs warning people that the bluffs they were climbing onto were unstable.

You can guess what happened next: the bluffs proved to be unstable, just like the signs said, and one man fell 80 to 90 feet down while the other dropped about 50 feet. Luckily, neither man was killed, so I'm just happy this story has a better ending than most would suspect when they hear "Pokemon GO players walk off a cliff."

Then we have the case of an ex-Marine crashing his younger brother's car into a tree because he was playing Pokemon GO while driving. The Smoking Gun reports that he was trying to catch a Lapras when he crashed the car, and even though he got out of the mess with just a broken ankle and some cuts on his leg, the car apparently fared far worse.

While I'll be the first to sing the praises of Lapras, this proves that it definitely isn't a good idea to try to catch one while driving. If you simply must have that rare Pokemon, pull over and catch it, though there shouldn't be any reason you know that Pokemon is in the area if you're driving.

Jumping north of the border into Canada, two Quebec City police officers suffered minor injures when a Pokemon GO player backed his car into their police cruiser. The police officers said they were observing the car, which was driving strangely though a parking lot, when the driver suddenly backed into their cruiser. The driver was playing Pokemon GO, apparently hunting for monsters in the lot.

There a quite a few things wrong with this picture: first, the driver was playing while driving, and I've already covered why that's a big no-no. Second, the driver was cruising around a parking lot hunting Pokemon, utterly defeating the purpose of the game, which is to go out and get some exercise. Third, he was so distracted he didn't realize that there was another car in the lot with him – a cop car, no less – until he had backed into it. Come on guy, you're just making the rest of look bad here.

In the same report that gave us the story of the worst Pokemon trainer in the world, which comes from CTV Montreal, we hear of a 15 year old western Pennsylvania girl who was injured when she was hit by a car while playing Pokemon GO. She was apparently crossing a busy highway when the accident occurred.

The girl ended up hospitalized with an injured foot and collarbone, but it sounds like this could have ended so much worse than it did. Now is a good point to stress that you should put away the phone for just a moment when you're crossing a street, no matter how busy they seem to be. The Pokemon will almost certainly still be there when you get to the other side.

Finally, we come to that massive pile up in Massachusetts, apparently caused by a man who stopped in the middle of the highway to catch a Pikachu. Luckily no one was hurt in the accident, in part because the whole thing was made up. It was posted by, a site not necessarily unlike The Onion, except with more of a focus on hoaxes instead of satire. Remember, while it's important to pay attention to your surroundings while you're playing Pokemon GO, it's also just as important to check your sources before you share stories and cause a social media frenzy.

Of course, none of the actual accidents listed above are the cause of the game itself. When you hear people shouting about the public safety concerns of something like Pokemon GO, just keep that the vast majority of players are remaining safe on their quest to catch them all. All the same, when you see a Pokemon pop up in a place you probably shouldn't be, like across a busy highway or within a fenced off area, it's probably best to go with common sense and resist the urge to go after it, no matter how rare it may be. Happy hunting!