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Distracted Walking: 5 Steps To Take To Prevent It

We all love our phones. We eat with them. We cry with them. Some of us even shower with them.

We also walk with them, sometimes at the expense of others.

The cost? Traffic police have updated the Highway Code: an advisory telling pedestrians to avoid using their communication devices while crossing the road.

And there's even talk about making it illegal.

Distracted walking - a term loosely defined as walking while using one’s phone – has been a rising problem in our streets. And you thought PMDs were the only problem.

From the woman that got hit by a taxi to distracted walkers failing the Chewbacca test (yes, it’s a thing), this issue has made cities like Honolulu and Idaho ban distracted walking altogether.

Some have even resorted to making a slow lane (tag yourself).

PMDs have already been banned – let’s try not to throw walking and texting in the Top 10 Banned Things pile.  

If you live in Ang Mo Kio, you would (hopefully) have noticed the large yellow stickers at the MRT station that scream, “LOOK UP”. 

Co-starring mini billboards which remind you to not be distracted while crossing the road. 

Around the city area, LED strips are installed at the pavement of two pedestrian crossings at the junction of Buyong Road and Orchard Road, and the Victoria Street crossing outside Bugis Junction.

While some of us depend on these reminders to make sure we are not distracted while crossing the road, the responsibility should ultimately fall on us.

Don’t be shocked but, there are ways we can make sure we are not distracted while crossing the road.

In order of laziness:

1. Look Up, Then Down, Then Up Again

Maybe it’s a work emergency, or you accidentally sent a screenshot back to the same person you’re mad about. Bottom line? You can’t afford to put your phone away.

Look up every few seconds so you know what’s going on. You can even hold your phone up higher if it helps increase your peripheral vision.

2. Move, Get Out The Way

If that doesn’t work, just park yourself at the side and continue texting. If you’re confused about where the side is, it’s the portion where no one’s walking.

Just don’t stop in the middle of the road.

3. Bag it

Maybe it’s not an emergency but you just can’t resist because someone sent you a TikTok. The least you can do is make sure it’s troublesome for you to get your phone.

Put your phone in your bag, make a long password or throw it across the road so you have to run and get it, you know, whatever works.

4. Headphones, But Without The Head

Spotify can wait. Take off both, if not, at least one earpiece out while crossing a road. Lower the volume: You can’t listen for the traffic while you blast Your Top Songs 2019 Playlist.

5.  Strictly Oral 

You don’t have to use your fingers. Send a voice recording or use Iphone’s Speak Auto-text or Speech-to-Text if you’re on Android. Just keep it PG. 

Rather than let distracted walking get in our way, this is still an issue that we can curb. (We shouldn’t have to end up taking a theory test and a license just to text and walk.)

One can argue that phones are becoming an increasingly necessary factor nowadays, to the point that not having one renders you an alien.

Alhough, phones are not the main issue here. Let’s put it in perspective:

We can install as many LED lights and put up as many billboards as we want, but it all boils down to the first factor within (surprise!) our control - ourselves. 

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