I dread walking through crowded stores, malls, or even the sidewalks because I know a walking texter will be coming from the other direction. Mind you, these aren’t people who are just sending a text while walking; these are people whose eyes are glued to their phone screen for long periods of time while walking.
I usually see this sort of behavior with teenagers, but it’s not limited to just them. A grown woman in a grocery store recently ran into my shopping cart with hers because she was either engrossed in a text conversation or browsing the web. She said “Oops” and continued to carelessly push her cart down the aisle, still looking at her phone. Not even an apology! My initial reaction was shock. But after stewing about it for a while, I realized that I should have said something to her because her behavior was completely rude.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to text (it’s my favorite form of phone communication). However, the same common sense rules should apply to texting and walking as they do for texting and driving. Don’t you think?
If you absolutely cannot be separated from your phone while you’re out and about, then I may be able to help you. Here are 4 easy tips for texting while walking:
Tip #1: There’s an app for that.
Use one of the many new downloadable type-and-walk applications available for iPhone users and Android users. These apps makes walking and texting really easy because they use the camera in your phone as a real-time viewer for the area in front of you. So while you’re in deep conversation with your BFF over the horrible new hair cut you got, you won’t trip and fall over a huge crack in the sidewalk (causing you to sport a new cast along with that stupid hair style).
Some smart phones already have talk-to-text features already built into the phone, but if yours doesn’t, then Voice Text for Droid and Dragon Dictation for iPhone are great downloadable apps. Talk-to-text is pretty self-explanatory; you speak a phrase into your phone and it gets translated into a text message. This is also great for slow texters and terrible spellers (like me)!
Tip #2: Take a break.
To avoid a head-on collision with a street lamp or tripping over a tree branch on the sidewalk, maybe you should just take a short breather. Sit on a park bench or lean against a building, but make sure you get out of the way so you don’t injure yourself or others. Trust me, it’s possible to do so!
I once ran into an angry teenage girl because she stopped abruptly in a crowded space to send a text message. Then she yelled at me for plowing into her. I felt bad and apologized, but it should have been me scolding her for stopping in a congested area!
Tip #3: Just make the call.
If you’re in a hurry and can’t stop to have a text conversation, then just make a phone call. Talking on the phone is sometimes awkward, but running into someone because you’re not watching where you are going is much worse. Plus, it’s probably a lot easier to convey a long, complicated response via voice than it would be via text! You could save time and potential injury. Suck it up and call the old fashioned way.
Tip #4: Don’t send or respond right away.
Sure, it’s easier said than done, but sometimes it’s best to wait to send that text unless you have an emergency or time-sensitive issue. Your friend will understand that you don’t have 24/7 access to your cell phone, and chances are they’ll be able to wait for a response until you get to a safe spot. I do it all the time, and it’s no big deal. It’s okay to postpone your reply; you’re not a bad person for it. If you have to send or respond right away, then use tips 1 through 3.
So there you have it: 4 great ways to make you a better and safer “walkxter.” Walking and texting is often just as dangerous as driving and texting. I strongly discourage this behavior because it’s not only completely annoying to the people around you, but you could potentially hurt yourself. The apps I mentioned in this article are not all free, but they are less than a couple bucks each. I would say for a heavy “walkxter” it’s a small price to pay. And remember, friends don’t let friends walk and text (or drive and text, for that matter)!
What do you think? Are you a compulsive walker-and-texter? Have you ever run into a texter in a crowded area?