You’ve probably felt the fear as a texting pedestrian approaches seemingly deep in thought and ready to plow right into you. But a new study suggests there is nothing to fear since walking and texting doesn’t really make us more clumsy.
Medical Daily reports about the PLOS-ONE study that tested participants on an obstacle course and found that texters, though more slow than those not distracted by a task, were not more prone to run into things. In fact, the study suggests that when texting we are actually more cautious as we slow down our walking speed.
The obstacle course created by researchers included objects like dummy pedestrians, an uneven flight of stairs and jumpable barriers. The authors of the study explain their findings and the protective way we have learned to walk while utilizing smart phones. The authors write, “Participants took significantly longer to complete the course while texting and during cognitive distraction (COG) vs. normal walking.” They add, “Our results, in conjunction with others, suggest that those who walk and text adopt a ‘protective’ gait pattern alteration in order to minimize the risk of potential accidents.”
To some of us, who have experienced firsthand how difficult walking while texting can be, this science may sound bogus. Since the subjects involved in the study are aware they are being watched, there is a possibility that they are being more cautious while they walk and text and the findings are not all that reliable. But researchers do believe it is possible that we are becoming more adept at multi-tasking while walking as more and more of us use smart phones on the go. The researchers note that older generations who are less experienced at texting and walking “may be at a greater risk of tripping with such walking deviations”.
What do you think of the new study that suggests those who walk and text are not more accident prone?
Have you mastered walking and texting? Do you think we are at greater risk of bumping into things while texting on the go?