A man in Hong Kong texts while walking. (Photo: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A newsflash from the Department of Obvious Science: texting while you walk can dramatically affect your gait and is, well, dangerous.
This revelation is contained in a new study published yesterday in the journal PLOS One. A team of scientists from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia has concluded that texting makes people walk more slowly and crookedly.
The researchers studied a group of 26 volunteers, comparing their gaits while walking normally and while texting, by digitally capturing their movements in both situations. They found that when they were using their phones, the subjects slowed down and kept their heads and necks flexed downward, a posture that resulted in the walkers deviating from a straight line. In other words, they weren't just distracted, they were actually walking differently than usual.
Last year, we told you about one initiative to combat the spread of walking and texting: Japanese mobile provider NTT Docomo rolled out a free "safety mode" for its Android-based phones which detects whether the user is walking and displays an error message when they try to unlock their phones.
Of course, you probably already had an inkling that texting and walking was a bad idea — just take a look at these videos below of people who had to learn that the hard way.
Here, a man nearly walks into a bear:
A woman walks into a fountain:
A woman walks into a plant (during a newscast):
A woman falls into a canal: