Texting While Walking – More Dangerous Than You Thought

walk and textYou already know that texting while driving is a MAJOR health and public safety hazard (RIGHT?!). All you city dwellers out there probably shrugged off all the publicity on this issue, as not applicable to people who get around using their two legs and the subway – unless you spotted your cabbie texting. But now there is new data about how even texting while walking can be dangerous, and here’s why. Overall, texting affects your posture and balance while you walk which can put you at risk for injury and it’s pretty distracting. Data published in PLOS ONE journal found that people who walk while texting tend to walk slower and zig zag around more than people looking straight ahead and walking. That’s no big surprise, right? However, this can be dangerous if you pull out your phone to send a text while you’re crossing the street. If you veer enough from the straight line of the crosswalk you could wander right out into traffic, or miss the 10 second window you have to cross the street, putting oyu in the path of oncoming cars.

Additionally, holding the phone and looking down while walking puts your body into an unnatural posture for movement. Instead of swinging your arms with your body’s motion, and turning dynamically, most texters lock their upper bodies to  keep their phone steady while typing. This can put people at a higher risk of becoming unbalanced and falling. Then finally, it increases your risk of bumping into something, tripping, or falling because you’re just not looking where you’re going.  So why not avoid an embarrassing encounter with that lamppost, and stop walking then text. Or, if you’re really in a rush, only text while you’re waiting for the light to change to walk and you’re stopped anyhow. Your fellow pedestrians will thank you for not getting in their way.

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