Distractions aren’t only dangerous when behind the wheel. Many pedestrians partake in distracted walking, which can be just as harmful to a person’s health and well-being. Texting while walking, talking with friends, listening to music, and even eating while walking can all increase a pedestrian’s risk of being struck by a vehicle while out and about.
One study polled 2,500 participants all over the country on their opinions about walking while distracted. There was a surprising disparity between people’s opinions of distracted walking and their participation in the same behavior. For example, 90% of those polled claimed to have seen people talking on a mobile phone while walking. However, only 37% of these people admit to partaking in this behavior. Views of distracted walking also vary, with some categorizing it as embarrassing or humorous, while others believe it to be dangerous.
Research also shows that using a mobile device while walking can affect you in a number of ways. For example, texting and walking or even just carrying on a conversation while in motion can have an effect on a person’s physical ability. This includes a person’s speed, gait, and pattern of walking, all of which contribute to the risk of being involved in an accident. While motorists must be aware and alert of the presence of pedestrians when driving, pedestrians also have an obligation to be alert.
When crossing the street, only do so at posted crosswalks. Pedestrians should also keep their focus on the environment around them, including cars, other people, and obstacles that are in their path. It’s best not to use headphones while walking, but if you must make sure the volume is set to an appropriate level so you can hear what is going on around you.