Monday, February 19 , 2018, 10:26 am | Fair 53º


John Daly: Texting While Walking Is a Recipe for Disaster

I was in a hurry this morning. The line at Starbucks was out the door, and the guy in front of me took forever to decide on the three drinks and pastries he wanted to purchase. But I prevailed and got my venti extra shot latte. While I was carefully taking a sip as I exited the door, a guy with his face buried in his iPhone barreled into me as he furiously texted. The coffee scalded me and ruined my nicely pressed shirt. His apology? “Hey, Dude, watch where you’re goin’!”

Excuse me? It took all my good manners to avoid an altercation. I felt like punching the guy. Now I’d have to go home, change my shirt and be even later than I expected for my morning appointment. But I bit my tongue, wiped myself off and changed shirts.

According to a Sept. 18 New York Daily News article, data from 100 hospitals showed that more than 1,500 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms across the country for cell phone-related injuries in 2010. That’s more than double the number treated in 2005. That number has doubled each year since 2006, according to a study conducted by Ohio State University.

The Daily Mail on Aug. 9 reported that a federal study revealed the number of pedestrian deaths and injuries has risen dramatically as a result of texting while walking. Forbes reported in mid-2012 that injuries from TWW range from facial fractures, nosebleeds and lacerations to foot and ankle injuries as a result of missing steps or walking into telephone poles at a result of handheld technology, not to mention collisions with other pedestrians or vehicles while crossing the street.

I shudder to think about that guy who ran into me walking into traffic or falling into a hole. And what about innocent pedestrians like me? I have a burn on my chest the size of Nevada.

Navigating the sidewalks of any major city can be as difficult as playing football at times. But when your opponents are walking while texting, they aren’t watching where they’re going. That can obviously make a two-block walk to Starbucks both maddening and life-threatening at the same time!

Let’s gain more control over our increasingly electronic lives and stop acting like zombies with our BlackBerrys and iPhones replacing eye contact, handshakes and face-to-face conversation. Let’s live in the present, be where we are and stop existing in cyber land.

The Keys to Texting Etiquette

» For your own safety and that of others, don’t text while walking or driving! The life you save really could be your own. And, do you really want to be responsible for harming others?

» Don’t text during meetings or while having a meal or a conversation with someone in real time. Why? It’s rude! It screams: The person on my cell phone is more important than you! Do you really want to send that message?

» Use your cell phone for legitimate reasons, not to just “pass the time of day.” If you must text, always tell others present with you that you have an important message to handle, and apologize and excuse yourself. Don’t make a habit of this!

» Don’t use texting as a means of communication for important issues. Text messages can be easily misunderstood, and you might end up mis-communicating important information.

» Use proper grammar and punctuation and keep your messages BRIEF. No more than two or three sentences. Messages become too unwieldy when they are longer.

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Social Life Skills 101

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Held from 6 to 8 p.m. every Thursday at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1535 Santa Barbara St.

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John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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