You're aware of "distracted driving." But "distracted walking" is also a thing, and as more people use their smartphones to talk, text, check email, play games and listen to music, injuries are on the rise.
Recognizing the Problem
Cell phone use distracts pedestrians the same way it does drivers and "78% of U.S. adults believe that distracted walking is a 'serious' issue."
Walking while texting can lead to a number of injuries, from minor sprains and bruises to cuts, concussions and broken bones. In extreme cases, distracted pedestrians have walked into traffic, stepped off train platforms and fallen down long flights of stairs.
Reducing Distracted Walking
If you can, keep your phone in your bag until you get to your destination. But if you must use your phone between point A and point B, follow these tips to reduce chance of mishap or injury:
- Stop walking. It's OK to take a break! "Inattentive blindness" is a scientific phenomenon that means your brain can only direct its full attention to one task at a time. Don't test it: Step off to the side to compose that text or email before continuing on to your destination.
- Prepare ahead of time. If you like to listen to music on your walk to the office, put on a preset playlist instead of selecting songs while you're on the move. Keep the volume at a reasonable level, too, so you can stay more connected to what's going on around you.
- Be attentive. When approaching an intersection, pay extra attention to traffic make eye contact with drivers to reassure they see you and other pedestrians. When possible, cross only at planned intersections and crosswalks, and use pedestrian crossing signals to reduce the likelihood of injury.