A few weeks ago, I was in New York City. I love the energy of that city. But I noticed something this time I had not noticed before.
People were constantly walking in to me because they were on their smart phones and not paying attention to where they were going! And when someone crashed in to me on the sidewalk, there was no, “Excuse me!” Instead she looked at me as if I should get out of her way! Others never looked up, just kept moving forward.
A young woman was texting and ran into the light pole on the corner. She winced, grabbed her ankle, but continued to walk and text. I also noticed a woman turning right on the street in her car. She never looked up because she was texting but made the turn anyway! It was frightening because if anyone had been in her path, she would have hit those people. Imagine making a right turn in SoHo at the height of the noon lunch hour and not even looking to see who was in the walkway!
Remember the woman who fell head first into a fountain while shopping because she was texting?
Or how about the 15 year old who fell into a open man hole cover?
According to doctors, more accidents involve pedestrians because people are not paying attention. In fact, in 2008 the American College of Emergency Physicians issued a warning due to the rising number of accidents they saw in emergency rooms from texting. It’s not only your ego that will be bruised when you text your way into a wall, but you can also cause injury to yourself–twisted ankle, head injury, serious fall, etc.
The obsession people have with their phones is a little concerning. Now don’t get me wrong, I really like my IPhone, but I am not talented enough to walk, drive and text or check email. My (and your) brain cannot handle all the distractions and be safe. This is a scientific fact. And we all know the dangers of texting while driving. So why do we feel we have to be on our phones every minute? Because we can? It may be that simple. Welcome to the pitfalls (literally) of instant communication.
When we start running in to people on the sidewalk and putting the lives of pedestrians in danger, we need to rethink the need for immediacy in our communication.
So while you are walking to a destination:
- Put your phone in your purse or pocket and put it on silent so you won’t be tempted to answer.
- Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to where you walk–your life is worth it and it is rude to bump into people and not say excuse me!
- If you are with someone, use those moments to actually chat and laugh a little.
- Take a break from information overload and enjoy your surroundings. Feed off the energy of the people and the excitement of the city.
- Finally, c0nsider others. You and your activities are not more important than courtesy to others!
Honestly, do you text and walk?