I DROVE into town last week to do a bit of shopping. It should have been an uneventful journey in the middle of the day but ended up like something from the 1970s film Death Race 2000 or a wildlife documentary about lemmings.

No fewer than three people seemed to have a death wish and thought it was a good idea to step off the pavement without looking into the path of my car as I was driving along.

The first was a man as I was turning left off Mersey Street into Bank Street to go to the Time Square car park. He must have known he was stepping off the pavement but was completely oblivious to me.

I had to hit the brakes to avoid crushing him under my wheels.

The second was a young woman who did exactly the same thing crossing Friars Gate by the Friar Penketh pub and my final close encounter came with another young woman as I was taking the sharp turn left turn into Lidl on Thewlis Street.

You couldn’t make it up.

While they were three completely different people in three completely different locations, they all had one thing in common. Each one of them was looking at his or her smartphone and was apparently completely oblivious to their surroundings or, it would appear, their own safety.

What, I wondered, was so important or engrossing on their screens that they would take such a risk with their own health and wellbeing? Is that Facebook update worth risking your life for? Maybe that pithy tweet will change your life, and not in a good way.

This got me thinking so I did a little research.

Apparently in central London there is a road junction that is so dangerous that pedestrians will be filmed as they cross the road in a bid to reduce the number of accidents caused by people glued to their mobile phones.

Cameras will be installed at Ludgate Circus in order to understand how inattentive walkers allow themselves to step out in front of traffic on a busy road while distracted by smart devices.

The City of London Corporation, the governing body of the Square Mile in the heart of the capital, agreed to conduct the study of the junction, which connects Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, Farringdon Street and New Bridge Street.

According to The Independent, the most common cause of traffic collisions across the entire Square Mile during the period from 2013 to 2017 was pedestrians failing to look properly, which led to 66 accidents – more than double that of the next most common factor.

Experts have increasingly expressed concern over so-called ‘zombie’ pedestrians, who put themselves in danger by failing to pay attention to their surroundings while using mobile phones.

Zombie pedestrians – that is a great description of the people who stepped out in front of me. The look of shock and embarrassment on their faces when they realised what they had done was priceless.

A 2017 study by Aston University in Birmingham found as many as 17 road accidents a day in the UK are likely to be caused by people walking into traffic while distracted by their smartphones. I’m just grateful my little shopping trip to Warrington didn’t add to that total.

I SEE Chris Vobe is back on the Warrington political scene. Mr Vobe, son of Warrington North MP Helen Jones, stood down from Warrington Borough Council and a number of parish councils at the May 2016 elections apparently ‘due to a wide variety of other commitments which are placing increasing demands on my time’.

He’s been selected as one of the Labour candidates for next year’s borough council elections and will contest the Rixton and Woolston ward.

I wonder if he has a bit more time on his hands now.