Smartphones and apps can be addictive, tempting you to check your phone even when crossing the street. Though it does not seem like it, walking requires your brain’s full attention. You need to look where you are going, move around any obstacles and control your feet and legs. Adding in the distraction of a phone can make walking unsafe.
What happens when you multitask?
Performing more than one task at the same time or multitasking tires the brain. Studies show that juggling more than one activity splits the brain, lowering its efficiency. Because your brain has to exert more effort, your ability to focus and concentrate may suffer.
While it may be possible to do things simultaneously, multitasking can make it challenging to do both well. When people start to do something else, they tend to forget what they were initially doing.
Staying safe on the streets
Performing two unrelated activities, such as texting and walking, may increase your risk of getting into an accident. When your eyes are on the screen, you may end up walking slower and making poor decisions.
Because you are unable to pay attention to your surroundings, you could struggle to judge the distance between you and oncoming traffic, fail to spot a reckless driver or miss safety hazards like puddles or manholes.
Failing to care for your own safety may fall under negligence or careless behavior. If you intend to take legal action in an at-fault state such as Maryland, sharing any part of the fault can make seeking compensation more difficult.
Avoiding using your phone while walking is easier said than done. Exercising some control, however, can help you be safer. Here are some tips:
- Stop walking and stay in a safe place if you need to reply or take a call.
- Look up from your phone before crossing or using stairs and escalators.
- Keep the volume low if you are using earphones to allow you to hear your surroundings.
You may also consider limiting your access to your phone by using its “do not disturb” features or hiding it deep in your bag. Ultimately, simply realizing how risky it is to text and walk is a good start.
Though your smartphone might be engineered to grab your attention constantly, you can regain control and prevent it from dominating or endangering your life.