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Texting Seriously Impairs Walking Skills

Persons who are texting while walking may not be able to walk in a straight line, and may have their walking gait seriously affected by the distracting activity. Those are the results of a new study that was conducted by Australian scientists.

The results of the study were published recently in the journal Plos One. For the purposes of this study, the researchers filmed 26 young men, who were made to walk approximately 27 feet. The men were asked to walk a total of three times. The first time they were asked to walk while reading texts, the second one while writing texts, and the third and last time, they were asked to walk without performing any other distracting activity.

The researchers found that when the men were texting while walking, they had a much harder time keeping to a straight line. They also walked much more slowly, compared to when they walked while reading text messages, or without performing any distracting activity.

Interestingly enough, the researchers found that texting caused these men to walk mechanically, like robots. These men hardly moved their arms or head while walking because they wanted to keep their gaze focused on the phone. This kind of walking style is dangerous because walking with such a rigid gait places you at a high risk of falling down. The risk may be higher in the case of older pedestrians.

The figures speak for themselves. In 2010, more than 1,500 pedestrians had to be treated for injuries due to accidents caused because they were using a cell phone while walking. Not all of these pedestrians were involved in a pedestrian accident. Some of them slipped and fell while the texting.

The dangers of using a cell phone while walking can become even more intense, when you’re walking on a crowded sidewalk, near a busy intersection, or if you’re crossing the street.

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