Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Facebook Posts May Hint at DepressionHere's Something to Sleep OnDrowsy Driving as Risky as Drunk DrivingScience Says 'Hug It Out'What's Your Savings Personality?Scientists Developing Blood Test for Drowsy DrivingRegular Bedtime Might Be Key to Better Health'Liking Gap' Might Stand in Way of New FriendshipsWhich of the 4 New 'Personality Types' Are You?Slaying the Couch-Potato MindsetScientists Finally Get Around to Finding Procrastination's Home in the BrainFor a Healthier Heart, Stick to 6 to 8 Hours of SleepTake a Vacation, Your Heart Will Thank YouTaking a Stand at WorkCellphone Use Puts Pedestrians Off-BalanceSleep Deprivation May Play Role in 'Global Loneliness Epidemic'Dining Out With Smartphones Isn't AppetizingExercise Really Can Chase Away the Blues … to a PointSnap, Polish, Post: Why Selfies May Be Bad for Your HealthHealth Tip: Have a Safer SummerShield Yourself From the Summer SunIt's Hot Outside: How to Stay Safe When Thermometers Rise3-Pronged Approach to Cancer PreventionYour Sunscreen May Not Be as Protective as You ThinkAlmost 1,300 Genes Seem Tied to Academic SuccessGreen Spaces a Mental Balm for City DwellersYour Earliest Memories May Be FalseDoes Dirty Air Cancel Out the Benefits of Exercise?Health Tip: Map Your Way to Better HealthGreen Space: A Gateway to Better Health?How to Use Sunscreens the Right WayWant a Meaningful Conversation? Cut the Small TalkDrinking and Driving: A Deadly July 4 CocktailHealth Tip: Have a Fun and Safe VacationBeat the Heat on Your Summer VacationSitting Tied to Raised Risk of Death From 14 DiseasesHot Cars, Drowning: Keep Your Family Safe This SummerJust 1 in 4 Americans Gets Enough ExerciseHow Much Drinking Is Healthy -- or Not?America's Poor Are Less Happy Than Ever: StudyBeach, Boating and Booze Add Up to Summer InjuriesThe Water's Great. Just Don't Overlook Safety.Strategies to Avoid SunburnHealth Tips for Summer FunAHA: We All Need Water for a Healthy Life, But How Much?Health Tip: Understanding Sunscreen LingoSnubbed on Social Media? Your Depression Risk May Rise'Face-Aging' Photos Convince Tanners to Shun the SunHealth Tip: Stay Fit at WorkHealth Tip: 5 Habits That Could Help You Live Longer
LinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Smoking
Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management
Exercise
Emotional Resilience

Cellphone Use Puts Pedestrians Off-Balance

HealthDay News
by By Dennis ThompsonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 15th 2018

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Aug. 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Cellphone users blundering into signs, lampposts, other people and traffic have become a recurring sidewalk sight in many places.

And now, new video analysis reveals the extent to which cellphones interfere with a person's ability to hoof it from here to there.

Cellphone use drastically alters a pedestrian's balance, coordination and movement, said senior researcher Mohamed Zaki. He is a research associate in the University of British Columbia's department of civil engineering in Vancouver.

"Pedestrians who look at their phone have more issues controlling their stability and their walking pattern," Zaki said.

As a result, pedestrians are more likely to bumble into objects or trip over hazards like sidewalk cracks or potholes. The phones also distract people from potential hazards, he added.

"They cannot take the precautionary action that is necessary if there's a vehicle approaching or someone is approaching in the other direction," Zaki said.

For the study, Zaki and his colleagues mounted three cameras at a busy four-way intersection located near Thompson Rivers University in the city of Kamloops, B.C. Over a two-day period, they captured the movements of 357 pedestrians.

More than one-third of the pedestrians were distracted by their cellphones, either by texting or talking, the researchers found.

Pedestrians distracted by their phones had trouble maintaining their walking speed and their gait, the study authors noted.

People texting tended to take shorter steps without slowing the frequency of their steps. On the other hand, those talking on the phone took slower steps without changing the length of their stride.

Overall, cellphone-distracted pedestrians tended to have less stability, and were more likely to weave and stumble, the findings showed.

Dr. Robert Glatter is an emergency medicine physician with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He said, "Simply put, your brain can't do two things well at once -- so one task suffers, which means you may stumble or suffer a collision due to the compromised way in which you take your steps."

People using their phones also took longer to cross the road, increasing the risk that they'd be caught out in an intersection or have a run-in with a car, the investigators added.

Data like this could be valuable in the development of safe driverless cars, the researchers suggested. Cars taught to recognize distracted pedestrians might be better able to avoid them.

Zaki said this info also provides a strong argument for pedestrian-friendly street features like raised crosswalks -- essentially a speed bump that runs across the street from sidewalk to sidewalk.

Raised crosswalks allow pedestrians to safely walk on a level surface, instead of leaving the sidewalk for the lower-slung street surface, he said. They also force oncoming vehicles to reduce their speed.

But, according to Glatter, people would be better off just putting their phones away while they walk, particularly approaching an intersection.

"It's important to look in front of you when crossing the street, so make it a point to put your phone away so that it won't be a distraction. Whatever it is, it can wait 10 seconds," Glatter said. "It's just not worth either causing an accident or being a part of one."

The study was published online recently in the journal Transportation Research Record.

More information

The National Safety Council has more about pedestrian safety.