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4 Tips for Walking While Texting (If You Must)

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:

There's an app for that!

There’s an app for that!

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)!

Take a break.

Take a break.

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!

Just make the call...

Just make the call…

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.

Don't send or respond right away.

Don’t send or respond right away.

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?


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  1. Eric


    I’m sure they’ve managed to cover their collective asses, but you know people are going to take advantage of this while driving. Accident. Waiting. To. Happen.

    As if we hadn’t enough distractions to keep us from looking up anymore.

    Grumble grumble.

    (Great conversation-sparker, Jen…love this blog, hate the product!)

    • Jen

      Thanks Eric! I also have a bad feeling people will use the app to drive and text. YIKES! It’s really scary to think about. I honestly hope it becomes illegal to text/talk on the phone while driving, it’s sooooooooo dangerous!

  2. Juliette

    So glad you posted about this, Jen!

    I rarely text while walking but I am guilty many times over of reading and being completely engrossed in said book while walking. Back in high school and college I’d mastered the art of walking and reading while managing not to bump into anyone.

    But if I have to text or respond to one I either call or step off to the side and stop walking so I can text without being in anyone’s way.

    • Jen

      I was constantly walking and reading on my college campus (usually because I waited until the walk to class to study). I didn’t even think about it being the same thing as walking and texting though, but it totally is! I’m sure I annoyed a ton of people, lol.

      I’m just like you when sending a text and I try to stay out of every ones way. I know how annoying it is to maneuver around people. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    I am guilty of texting and walking sometimes, but I don’t have a chronic habit of doing it. More often, I’ll just step to the side and shoot off my text. I feel like it actually saves me time, because then I can get back to walking briskly – I generally slow down a lot more while being a walkxter.

    Overall, I probably default to #4 the most. It’s way easier to text back when you’re sitting somewhere or already at your destination. Great tips, Jen!

    • Jen

      Thanks Mandy! I use tip #4 the most as well. I don’t get too many urgent texts anyway, so it works out best. 🙂

  4. Amy Swanson

    I’m guilty of being a “walkxter” from time to time. However, I keep my texts to a few short words and not lengthy paragraphs like when I’m sitting down not doing anything else. I hate people who are glued to their cell phones while walking, mainly because 9 times out of 10 I’m the one stuck walking behind them awkwardly trying to get around them without walking in the street.

    I’m definitely making notes of the apps you suggested, next time I get stuck behind someone I’ll tap them on the shoulder and tell them about the ‘Type n Walk’ app 😛

    Great post, Jen!!

    • Jen

      Haha! I hope you do that Amy! Spread the word for ‘Type n Walk’ apps so the side walks can become less congested 🙂

  5. Alex Brodsky

    I personally love Tip #3. Call the person! This is what phones were invented for. Sure, texting and e-mailing from them is easy, and can be fun. And sometimes it’s the only way to go. But if you’re walking about, calling somebody can be oh so fulfilling.

    You might not only get an answer to that burning question, but also end up with plans for the future, the present, or reminiscing about the past. People talking to people is better than machine talking to machine. Once they do the talking for us, the machines have won.

    • Jen

      You’re right, we don’t do enough actual talking to each other and rely on texting WAY too much. Texts are great for short comments or yes/no questions, but just call if you need to have a conversation. I agree with you Alex, it is quite fulfilling!

  6. Rachel

    What’s scariest to me is when people are texting while walking across the street. I mean, come on! Do people not understand how dangerous that is? Take five seconds to cross the street and THEN get back to your texting (or, preferably, use one of these tips instead!). I’m partial to tip #2; it’s super easy to just move to the side and send off a text before walking again.

    Great post, Jen!

    • Jen

      Thanks Rachel, it is terrifying how some people are just oblivious to there surroundings and will walk right into a dangerous situation because their not paying attention. And I agree with you, tip #2 is probably the easiest and most effective way to text on-the-go.

  7. Jaimie Smith

    I am guilty of this sometimes…when i worked at menards is was always habit for me to check my phone every night when I walked out to my car. One time, i literally ran into a van…i am unforunately not joking! 🙁 i felt like an idiot!!
    This pretty much proves your point!!

    • Jen

      Hahaha, Jaimie, this does not surprise me in the least! I have witnessed you walking and texting, you become very slow and wobbly…almost like you’ve had one too many. 😉

  8. Cris

    Texting, tweeting…has its space and place, but NOT behind the wheel, or walking across the street, or, really, anytime it hinders another/self safety, such as the scenarios you mentioned. Another peeve is when I am with someone, actually having a face-to-face conversation, and they will have a text conversation with someone else at the same time…and it is not an emergency situation. What?!!!!!!! It truly amazes me to see the constant use of communication via this method. Guess I am old school. The tips are good, and hopefully more will be considerate enough to use them…well, except #1. Seems to be an enabler tool. But, that is just me, I suspect.
    Just to drive it home…a story hit our area today of a young girl driving home from college to visit her family was killed because she was texting/FB chatting while
    driving. Her last text right before her death: “I can’t discuss this right now,
    Driving and Facebooking isn’t safe. haha.”

    • Jen

      It’s true that tip #1 is not a preferred method for texting, but if someone is going to stay glued to the phone anyway, it’s better than not having it…it’s the lesser of two evils.

      It also annoys me when someone starts to text while we’re in the middle of a conversation. It’s one thing of you’ve just received a message and excuse yourself to message back a reply and end it. I’m not offended by that. But if the person I’m speaking with begins the text conversation with someone else, then I get angry.

      The story about the girl who was killed because she was being distracted by her phone is heart breaking. Like I mentioned in a comment above, I can only hope cell phone use while driving becomes illegal, then maybe people will stop.

      Thanks for reading and commenting Cris, we love the feedback!

  9. Leslie

    Ugh It drives me nuts to see someone texting or talking on the phone while shopping. They always stand in front of the product I want to reach. As an old lady I remember when people shopped without phones strapped to their ear. Than you only had to maneuver around the annoying kids running around! And don’t get me started on texting while driving!!!! lol

  10. Jen

    Exactly my thoughts! I remember a time when there weren’t any cell phones too. It wasn’t that long ago. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting, much appreciated!

  11. Jill Tooley

    Ugh, walking texters make me so angry! Although, I’d definitely prefer that people walk and text rather than drive and text. At least with walking, you’re only directly endangering your own life and not the lives of others.

    I would have yelled right back at that girl who bumped into you and then started yelling! What a turd. These kids today have no respect! ::shakes fist::

    I think #3 is my favorite from this list: picking up the phone to call someone instead of texting them nonstop all day. It probably takes ten times as long to have a text based convo than it does to just have a real one!

    P.S. All I could think about when you mentioned “walking texters” was the Walking Dead. Because people who look down at their cell phones 24/7 are pretty much zombies to me! 😉

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