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Pokemon Go - 4 realistic tips to remind you to stay safe

Gotta catch'em all! But do it safely.

Pokemon Go has gotten much bigger than anyone expected it to be right after released. Did you know it's sitting right at the top of both Google Play and the iTunes charts? It's crazy.

Unlike most games there are some serious safety precautions to be taken into consideration with Pokemon Go. You have to get off of that booty and get to walking! Or driving! Or bike riding! I dunno, do what you want -- but don't do it recklessly.

The keyword above was "recklessly" (big surprise), since the premise for Pokemon Go is pretty great and the way it works feels like you're actually out hunting for Pokemon -- and that very feeling has made some people get into some bad habits.

Driving while trying to catch a Scyther? Bad idea. Wandering into dark areas late at night to catch an elusive Chancey? Also a bad idea. Wandering into someone else's property for a chance at a Rhydon? I wonder how anyone could possibly think this is even remotely a good idea.

Many Pokemon Go players are doing those things and more in their journey to become Pokemon Masters, and let's be honest: it's really cool to hunt down Pokemon in the real world. But it's not cool to potentially get hurt on your quest to be the very best.

Tip 1. If you want to drive and catch Pokemon, have a passenger hold your phone and do the catching.

You know you're not supposed to text and drive, so why on Earth would you try to play Pokemon Go while driving? It's true you can get around much faster while driving, but it's also very true you can get into a car accident doing just that.

If you want to catch 'em all while you're driving, have a passenger handle the hard stuff. Significant other, friend, family member, whatever -- just don't do it yourself while you're at the wheel.

You generally do not want to drive around areas with high speed limits while playing Pokemon GO since it's so hard to get them while going quickly.

Sub-tip: Have your passenger tap on PokeStops before you come into their range so they can spin the middle as soon as it's available. This works for some people but not every, but it's worth a shot.

Tip 2. Don't wander out alone, especially at night

Also another tip that should be self-explanatory but some people seem to not grasp that the real world is not a totally friendly place and terrible things can happen to you no matter where you are.

If you're going to go out in the middle of the night to try to catch a Pokemon you haven't gotten yet, it's not really recommended you wander outside alone. But if you have to and are wandering in a safe neighborhood, make sure you bring at least flashlight just in case.

Late night Lure placements are something you should especially be wary of -- and you never want to head out to a Lure alone late at night.

The game's Lure system is pretty much all some unsavory types could ask for. You put down a Lure, people will probably come by. Late at night, it's not going to be many people -- and don't assume some people haven't already considered using Lures to bait in unsuspecting Go players.

I know this is all a big downer, but your safety should be your first priority. Your mental image of the people playing Pokemon Go may be all flowers and sunshine, but real life doesn't necessarily match your imagination. Stay safe.

Tip 3. Stay off of private property, always

Have you considered wandering into someone's yard to catch a Pokemon? What about a privately owned business? Because both of those things are a terrible idea.

No one likes when someone they don't know wanders onto their personal property, and in some areas of the United States it is legal for homeowners to shoot trespassers. And not everyone is as nice as you may think they are.

While shooting is definitely a "worst case scenario" type of thing, nothing changes the fact that nobody likes when strangers wander into their yard. You don't want to have the cops called on you or have someone come out of their house and confront you for being on their property.

This also applies to private business property. Trespassing on company-owned property can not only get you physically hurt trying to get in or out (or even confrontations with someone who is on-site at night when applicable), but it's also an easy way to get in trouble with the police. Unless you do want to get your criminal record started thanks to Pokemon.

You're a jerk in any potential scenario where a property owner gets angry at you for trespassing, no matter how badly they react.

Tip 4. Don't wander into dangerous neighborhoods/areas just to catch Pokemon

Does this one need to be elaborated on? People get really into Pokemon and the amount of people playing Pokemon Go is astounding -- you really can't predict the people playing this game.

If a gym, PokeStop, or rare Pokemon is in a bad area of town you are better off either riding through in a car or not going by at all. There really is nothing to be said further on this point since I assume you don't want to get hurt over something so trivial as a Pokemon mobile game.

Your primary focus when wandering around to catch 'em all is, of course, catching them all. But your second priority should be your own personal safety.

Don't forget basic daily safety protocols in the name of catching them all. Looking both ways before crossing the street, keeping an eye on your surroundings, being considerate of other people's property, paying attention to the road while driving... Not even Pokemon Go is a good enough excuse to toss your common sense (and safety) out the window.

Published Jul. 11th 2016

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