New studies have revealed the obvious, texting while walking can be dangerous. While it seems fairly evident that looking at a screen instead of where you are strolling would increase the risk of injury, researchers have recently completed a study of movement patterns of 26 people, and it verifies the theory. These researchers found that people who text while walking often deviates from a straight path, are more inclined to trip around obstacles and are less observant to conditions surrounding them. A 2013 study has even noted that more than 1,500 people have been treated in emergency rooms for cell-related incidents in 2012 (up from 559 people in 2004).
While there has been a lot of press regarding the dangers of distracted driving, distracted walking appears to be yet another hazard to avoid. This becomes especially important in heavy traffic areas. There have been numerous instances where a person, while texting or simply looking at his/her phone, has carelessly crossed onto a busy street and been hit by moving traffic. I have even noticed in my slip/trip and fall cases that defense attorneys routinely ask, through their discovery requests, for cell phone information in an attempt to split their liability for the accident on the plaintiff. Below, are some important tips to remain safe while walking:
- Follow traffic signals, and use crosswalks when crossing roadways.
- Try to always carry an ID with you.
- If you have the choice, always use the sidewalk.
- When walking in dim lighting, wear bright colors or reflective material, so others will spot you easily.
- Wear closed-toe shoes with good non-slip soles.
- Always look both ways before crossing ANY street.
- When walking in front of a running vehicle, always make eye contact with the driver to make sure they see you and plan on stopping.
Remember to always be safe while out walking, and be sure to pay attention to what is happening around you!