Distracted Strolls: How Your Cellphone Could Turn a Casual Walk into a Hospital Visit

Walking has long been considered one of the safest and easiest forms of exercise. However, researchers at Ohio State University have found that some walkers may be jeopardizing their lives due to serious injuries caused by distractions from their cellphones. As a result, injuries related to cellphone usage while walking have doubled every five years. So, let’s examine the different types of injuries, the potential life-threatening consequences, and ways to prevent these accidents.

Types of injuries

Cellphone distractions can lead to a wide variety of injuries. Researchers have found that more than 1,500 pedestrians visit emergency rooms each year due to injuries related to using a cellphone while walking. Some examples are:

  • A 14-year-old boy, while talking on the phone, fell 8 feet off a bridge into a rocky ditch, suffering chest and shoulder injuries.
  • A man in his 20s was struck by a car when walking down the centerline of a road while on his phone, resulting in a serious hip injury.

These incidents highlight the dangers of multitasking while walking and using a cellphone.

Life-threatening consequences

While some injuries may be minor, such as cuts and bruises, others can be life-threatening. In a worst-case scenario, these accidents can even result in fatal injuries. Researcher Jack Nasar warns that if current trends continue, the number of cellphone-related pedestrian injuries could double by 2015. Pedestrians distracted by their devices are not only at risk of injury to themselves but may also endanger others on the road.

Preventing walking injuries

To prevent cellphone-related walking injuries, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and minimize your phone usage while walking. Here are some practical suggestions-

Avoid using your phone while walking: It’s tempting to check messages, scroll social media, or talk with friends while walking, but your safety should always come first. Focus on your surroundings and be aware of vehicles, people, and potential obstacles in your path.

Use hands-free devices or headphones: If you must use your cellphone while walking, consider investing in hands-free devices or headphones that allow you to keep your head up and your hands available to navigate around obstacles.

Walk in safe, well-lit areas: Choose quiet, well-lit streets and sidewalks whenever possible. This will reduce the odds of being involved in an accident with a vehicle or tripping over an unseen object.

Follow traffic signals and signs: Obeying crossing signals, traffic signs, and other pedestrian rules will help minimize your chances of being involved in a dangerous situation.

Practice defensive walking: Similar to the concept of defensive driving, defensive walking involves anticipating potential hazards and always being prepared to react to unexpected situations. Be aware of your surroundings, watch for vehicles and other pedestrians, and don’t assume that drivers see you.

Educate children and teenagers: It’s essential to teach young people about the potential risks associated with using cellphones while walking. Lead by example and encourage safe walking habits from an early age.


Walking is a simple and effective way to stay active and maintain good health. Yet, injuries related to cellphone distractions can have severe consequences on both your physical and mental wellbeing. By being aware of your surroundings and minimizing phone usage while walking, you can significantly reduce your risk of injury and enjoy the benefits of walking safely. Don’t let technology put your life in danger – stay alert and stay safe.