Don’t text and walk

Distracted walking is dangerous, prevents you from seeing the world


Lindsey Rodman

Staff Writer Jula Utzschneider writes that looking at your phone while walking is a danger that is rarely talked about.

Jula Utzschneider, Staff Writer

Picture this: you are walking down a street and you receive a text message, so you open your phone to respond. Even after texting back, you continue to look at your phone while you cross the busy street. Suddenly, a car honks, snapping you back to reality, and you realize how little you were paying attention to the world around you.

Now, with the constant and irresistible attraction of social media, texting isn’t the only concern. It’s not uncommon to find a person walking, head down, scrolling through a Twitter feed or posting an Instagram story. 

While car accidents involving texting are typically more severe (and for that matter, more well-known), injuries as a result of texting while walking occur more frequently.

According to the National Safety Council, 2018 showed a 3.4% increase in pedestrian traffic-related deaths, totaling 6,283 compared to 6,075 in 2017. Of the 374 pedestrians ages 5 to 19 who died after being hit by a motor vehicle in 2017, 241 of those, or 64%, were 15 to 19 years old.

Whether it be walking into obstacles, other people or even as major as being hit by a car, each of these instances can be avoided by people walking without being distracted by their phone.

Although this issue is still a relatively new area of research, most of this is just plain common sense. People should know to pay attention when walking instead of being fixated on their screen. And yet, not everyone does.

Distracted walking doesn’t just occur outside. I cannot even begin to say how many times I have seen people walking in the hallways at school while on their phones, walking into other people and completely unaware of their surroundings. 

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I too have fallen victim to distracted walking, but I understand the problem at hand and am trying to stop.

I get that whatever is happening on our phones may be important, but if it’s really that important, then we should stop and give that our undivided attention. This way our brains can focus on one task at a time, instead of trying to juggle two.

And, let’s not forget, it’s also extremely rude to the people around us who want to enjoy their surroundings, but instead hear a buzzing, ringing or otherwise annoying sound coming from our phones, and have to weave around those who barrel forward with their faces in their screens.

There are several ways we can fix this problem. The obvious answer is to simply not walk and text or wait to respond. But if you are going to respond right away, stop and move out of the way of others. Be aware of your surroundings, and look both ways before crossing the street.

Using our phones when walking is an extremely dangerous habit. Think of it like this⁠—instead of risking our lives every time we walk across the street, let’s spend more time away from our phones and take in the world around us.