Study Finds That You Can't Actually Walk And Text, Duh

A new study finds that the lack of attention to your surroundings make you walk ridiculously.

Are you a smombie? 

That's lingo (and a German word now) for someone who uses their smartphone so much that they become a road hazard.

As if you needed another reason to not walk and text, a new study from researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom reveals that you also look ridiculous when you're distracted by your phone. In hopes of not injuring yourself while texting and walking, you become slower and over-cautious, aka a "slow and exaggerated stepping action," CNET reported.


Using a mobile eye tracker and motion analysis sensors, 21 participants walked around an 18-foot-long obstacle course 12 times each, while either talking on the phone, reading a text, writing a text, or without a phone, Mental Floss reported. 

Researchers found that those writing a text were most likely to bring their feet up "higher and slower" when taking steps.


Phones caused people to walk 118 percent slower than the pace without phones. These folks also spent 61 percent less time watching the ground.

Other research backs up these findings, saying that texters have slower reaction times and don't pay attention to their environment, Associated Press reported in 2016.

"We found that using a phone means we look less frequently, and for less time, at the ground, but we adapt our visual search behavior and our style of walking so we're able to negotiate static obstacles in a safe manner," Dr. Matthew Timmis, the lead author, said.

Timmis was inspired to conduct the study when he was walking on the street, and the pedestrian in front of him was moving at a strange, glacial pace, he told The Guardian. He thought, "It's quite early in the day; is this person intoxicated already?" No, they were just on their phone.

In the first half of 2016, there was a 10 percent increase from the first half of 2015 in pedestrian deaths caused by cell phones. The concern is even sparking new bills that fine and even jail pedestrian texters. Not only is it dangerous for your own health, but it can also be hazardous for those around you.

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