Lexi bumped into someone at the mall. Curtis slammed into a parking meter. Ryan tripped over a bag at the airport. You've probably seen it, and maybe you've even laughed: People can end up in some pretty goofy situations when they text and walk at the same time.
it or not, people can also get hurt.
American College of Emergency Physicians is warning people about texting on the
move. Reports of texting-related injuries are on the rise, and they don't just
happen while driving. ER docs who treat people like Curtis (he cracked his ribs
in his encounter with the parking meter) say that we need to be more cautious
about when and where we text.
the Big Deal?
problem is multitasking. No matter how young and agile we are, the human brain
just isn't capable of doing several things at once and giving full
attention to all of them. So you can get into some major danger if you try to
text in situations that require your full focus.
you text you're thinking about what to say, concentrating on what your thumbs
are doing, and reading constantly incoming messages rather than paying attention
to what you're doing or where you're going. And that significantly ups your risk
of getting hurt or injuring others.
doesn't matter if you can text without looking at the keypad. Even if texting
feels like second nature, your brain is still trying to do two things at once
— and one of them is bound to get less attention.
also prevents you from paying close attention to what's going on around you,
something that's especially important in situations where you need to have your
guard up, like walking home after dark. Your reaction time is also likely to be
much slower if you're texting. If you're about to run into someone or something
else, you may not have time to act before it's too late. When Texting Turns
while walking can even be fatal. One woman in San Francisco was killed when she
walked right into the path of a pickup truck. That's rare, of course. But
texting is more likely to contribute to car crashes.
2007, a group of friends who had just graduated from high school were killed in
New York when their SUV crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. The driver's
phone records showed constant phone and text activity in the seconds and minutes
before the crash.
people text while behind the wheel, they're focusing their attention — and
often their eyes — on something other than the road. In fact, driving
while texting (DWT) can be more dangerous than driving under the influence
of alcohol or drugs.
from behind the wheel is against the law in states like Minnesota,
Washington, New Jersey, and Louisiana. Many more states are trying to put DWT
regulations into action. Even in states without specific laws, if you swerve all
over the place, cut off cars, or bring on a collision because of texting, you
could still be charged with reckless driving. That may mean a ticket, a
lost license, or even jail time if you cause a fatal crash.
hard to live without texting. So the best thing to do is manage how and when we
text, choosing the right time and place.
are three ways to make sure your messaging doesn't interfere with your focus —
or your life:
Always put your phone in an easily accessible place, like a specific
pouch or pocket in your backpack or purse so it's easy to find.
If you need to text right away, stop what you're doing or pull off the
Turn off your phone completely when you're doing anything that requires
your full attention. That way there's less temptation to answer calls or texts.
avoid an injury — whether it's a cut on your face or a bruise to your ego —
or a horrible tragedy, try to use your best judgment. Text only when you're not
putting yourself or others in harm's way. And if you're riding in a car with a
driver who is texting, ask him or her to stop or try not to ride with that