The Dangers Of Texting While Walking
If It Happened To Me; It Can Happen To You!
The other day, while volunteering at my daughter's school, I walked straight into a pole. This incident (though totally avoidable and downright embarrassing), delivered more than just a damaging blow to the side of my face; it also left a bruise, a dash of whiplash, and a tiny bit of wisdom that I have captured in an article to share with those who are too busy talking, texting or thinking to pay attention to what is right in front of them.
Learn it; know it ––or hit a pole and make an ass out of yourself like I did.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Always scan an area prior to walking through it; paying close attention to signage, poles or other obstacles that may threaten your safety. Be aware that indoor poles are often painted in a neutral color in order to "blend in" with an environment; these are what I call "Danger Poles."
These are "trick poles" that are found when rounding corners. There is typically a 12-18" gap between the wall and the pole, so that; when rounding the corner, the pole is lined up perfectly with your face. Again, by creating boundaries, you will be able dodge any uncomfortable encounter that you may have otherwise had with said pole.
Indoor (And Danger) Poles
Because Danger Poles are harder to spot than other poles, you must create an imaginary boundary around them to avoid an incident. The best way to do this is simply to create a diversion path that you plan to follow consistently. For example, if the pole is on the left-hand side of the hallway, you should stay on the right.
The guidelines below are not limited to poles; they can also be able applied to telephone poles, street signs and other miscellaneous advertisements found on any public sidewalk. An example is depicted in this video of Kanye West christening a "Wrong Way" street sign with is head.
Distracted Walking: Cause And Effect
The following are examples of unconscious behavior while walking and recommendations on how you can avoid becoming a statistic.
In extreme cases; where poor vision or debilitating eye-related injuries are a factor, I would suggest picking up a Blind Cane as shown in the example on the right.
Time To Fess Up...
Have you ever texted while walking?
Texting While Walking
Seems simple enough; but how are you supposed to see what's in front of you when you are looking down?
Always err on the side of caution when texting: Keep your head up, device down, and eyes straight ahead at all times; it's the only way to ensure 100% risk-free coverage. And just for the record, the padded pole was MY idea (until I watched this CNN report)!
Did you know that texting while walking is ILLEGAL in some states? That's right; New Jersey (among others) has initiated an $85 fine if you're caught doing it!
Dying To Text? You Just Might BE!
It's hard not to laugh when someone walks into a pole, especially when they do it while texting; but what if it's not a pole? What if they step in front of a moving car or walk into a street performer juggling knives?
Yeah, not so much.
Real injuries are on the rise; even death seems to be a growing trend for people who are texting while walking ––so why do it? I don't know about you, but the last thing I'd want is to wake up in a shallow grave that I fell into while updating my Facebook status!
Maybe it's time we reassess our values and put down that damn phone. What's the going rate on a tweet these days, anyhow; is it worth a trip to the ER?
As you can see by the articles below, the numbers are staggering when it comes to walking into things, and if we don't get a grip on it now, its only going to get worse. Would you let your child cross the street while texting? Guess what... They're GOING TO unless we teach them now!
- Injuries Soar for Pedestrians on Phones
Emergency room visits due to pedestrians injured while walking with cell phones have soared in recent years. And it may be worse than it seems.
- Texting while walking blamed in the nationwide increase of pedestrian deaths | Mail Online
The obvious dangers of texting while driving have been the focus of nationwide public service announcements, but now the dangers of distracted walking are coming to the forefront.
Use Your Walking Legs
You never want to be caught running (or walking fast) down a hallway or street that contains more than zero poles or obstructions, especially when your mind isn't with you. I can tell you, first hand, that walking into a pole is painful enough; running will (no doubt) knock you out. Still not convinced? This video will show you what can happen if you walk too fast while not paying attention; lucky for him it WASN'T a pole (or at least it didn't "sound" like one).
Suggest: Zombie Walk
One preventative measure you could take to avoid walking into an obstruction would be placing your hands in front of you and slowing down your pace ––like a zombie. However, this won't help if you're about to walk off a bridge, so you might want to just stick to the basics and pay attention.
This video; though annoyingly loud, will teach you the proper procedure for such a task.
Wouldn't it be weird if EVERYONE walked backwards?
Walking Backwards Can Have Its Downfalls
Occasionally, while walking, someone may pop their head out of a doorway with a question or a statement that they wish to share. If this happens; do not turn around and continue walking. This can result in a back-head pummel, which may cause you to bite off your tongue (you can thank me later for not finding a video of THAT).
It's fun to escape from life sometimes, but is it wise? Not when there are poles nearby! Stay focused as you maneuver your way to that final destination; the last thing you want to take with you is a bruise to the ego and a face to match.
Avoid Small Talk (Especially Near A Corner Pole)
When you are walking and talking, it is not unusual to look at the person you are speaking with. But the pole doesn't care, and it will still be there when you look up ––boom. As you can see from this YouTube clip, a common street pole can be quite painful when hit head on (pun intended).
Don't Be A Statistic... Be Alert!
What Have We Learned?
I wasn't texting; wasn't running, I was just walking to the bathroom with a friend and happened to look away while approaching a corner pole.
Perhaps I should have called this article, "The Dangers Of NOT PAYING ATTENTION While Walking," but the more I researched the subject, the more I became aware of a growing epidemic in a culture that is driven by technology.
If you've learned nothing from this article, learn this: texting and walking is estúpido; just like not paying attention ––so don't do it!
Turns out, your mother IS always right, and you really should listen to her when she screams at you to, "Watch where you're going!"
© 2014 Lisa René LeClair