Distracted Walking: Are You Guilty?

by Renee McDadeLeave a Comment

We all know the dangers of texting while driving, but have you stopped to consider the dangers of texting while walking?

Today’s society is more distracted than ever. Whether it is listening to music, talking, texting or playing a game, we are constantly engaged in something and not as aware of what is going on around us.

walking distractedFrom stepping into traffic, falling down the stairs or tripping on a curb, injuries are occurring every day because of our distracted lifestyle. Incidences of cuts, bruises, sprains, strains and even fractures are increasing due to our distracted behaviors. In a recent survey completed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has more than doubled since 2004, with 60 percent of respondents admitting to being distracted by other activities while walking. Are you one of them?

As smartphone use continues to advance and keeps us connected, we have to be aware that while they can be a helpful tool if we need directions, have to quickly reference something, or even just simply keep in touch with others, our constant connectivity can be hazardous.

When you are walking while texting or even just reading texts, both your speed, and gait pattern are affected. It also prevents you from engaging in what is going on around you. Here are some quick tips, as recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, to help prevent injury and keep yourself safe while you are out and about:

  1. If you must use headphones or other electronic devices, maintain a volume where you can still hear the sounds of traffic and your surroundings.
  2. If you need to talk to someone next to you, make a phone call, text or do anything that could distract you from getting where you need to go safely, stop and do so away from the pedestrian traffic flow.
  3. While you walk, focus on the people, objects and obstacles around you.
  4. Don’t jaywalk. Cross streets carefully, preferably at a traffic light, remaining cognizant of the pedestrian traffic flow, and the vehicles and bikes in and near the road.
  5. Look up, not down, especially when stepping off or onto curbs or in the middle of major intersections; and/or when walking on or approaching stairs or escalators.
  6. Stay alert in parking lots, and on and near streets, especially during the winter months when it gets dark earlier and conditions may be slippery.

Walking and being active in the community is something we all engage in daily, but be sure you are doing so safely to prevent senseless injuries from occurring. Remember to keep your head up and your phone down!

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.


Distracted walking. (2015, December). Retrieved from http://orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00748

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