Heads up! You're not as good at walking and texting as you think you are
If you’ve never accidentally run into someone (or something) while walking and texting, then we bow down to you. If you have, know that you’re not the only clumsy multitasker in the world. A new study found that most people are awful at walking and texting, even though we like to consider ourselves pros. We’ve all been there. We think we know just how and when to look up and take in our surroundings while searching for the perfect GIF for the group text. And because we don’t break our necks or accidentally walk into moving traffic all the time, we consider ourselves texting superheroes.
Alas, we all actually suck at walking and texting. A small study done at the Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom studied 21 people to walk and text at the same time. The participants walked on an 18-foot “promenade” that had a box just a few inches high to literally “trip them up.” People had to walk the walk 12 times, without their phone, talking on the phone, reading and sending a text, and then just reading a text.
You know what happened, right? People took twice as long to cross the walkway when they were composing a text message and 67 percent longer when they were reading. However, talking on the phone wasn’t so bad. The results were mixed for that one, with some people completing the walkway at around the same pace as the control group without phones, others slowing down. The good news is that no one fell over the step.
What’s kind of hilarious is that everyone looks crazy dumb when they’re texting (sending or just reading) and walking. In fact, everyone slowed the heck down, which could be considered good news. (Unless you live in New York City, maybe.)
People ended to take shorter steps and look up more often while interacting with text messages and they also sort of swayed around the walkway, just like that “slow walker” does in front of you on the sidewalk, driving you insane. Walking and texting isn’t dangerous (most of the time), you just don’t look very cool and are holding up foot traffic. We can’t wait for the studies about people walking and making Instagram Stories, because we’re certain it’s much worse.