Is it Darwinism in full effect or is something else going on? I remember as a teenager the most significant distractions to me were sports and girls, but today is much different. Most youth and adults are distracted by a computer next to their ears. People are being Distracted to Death daily, and the numbers are rapidly growing.
According to the Reader’s Digest, 60 percent of people texting while walking veered off course in a study published in 2012 by researchers from New York’s Stony Brook University." In addition,” According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 76,000 injured in traffic collisions in the United States in 2012. That's one death every 2 hours and an injury every 7 minutes.”
One look no further than this video to get a chuckle, but to also see how easily one could be injured seriously or worse.
I never thought there would be a day when you could go online and see multiples sites with tips on how to walk safely! You can go to the NHTSA website to find some of those guides in regards to Pedestrian Safety.
In addition, you can check out the National Safety Council TIPS. Hard to imagine we need to tell people this, but it appears we do, so remember:
Do not talk or text while walking.
If you must talk or text, put your back up against some barrier and keep your head up and eyes on the surroundings.
Do not cross or walk in the street while using your cellphone or MP3 device.
Keep your earbuds or headphones out of your ears.
Be aware of your surroundings, especially in congested areas. How do you do that? Refer to our video here on
Regarding one's safety, one of the top considerations to an attacker is targeting someone who is distracted. Think about it, if you were going to choose a potential victim would you not want them to be distracted? Most criminals do not want to get caught so who better to attack than someone not paying attention.
The argument we sometimes hear is that if one is attacked while on their cellphone, they can let their contact on the other end know. But think about that, odds are if you are on your cellphone and distracted, to begin with, that momentary Holy Shit moment not knowing what is happening will prevent you from getting any message across of being in danger while in the middle of an attack. And there is an excellent chance your cellphone is no longer in your hands, and if your friend on the other end of the line has no idea where you are exactly, they can do little to assist you. The average response time when you call 911 ranges anywhere from a few minutes in the best case to up to and past 15 minutes. A lot of harm can come to someone in that amount of time. Here is a link to the Best and Worst Police Response Times of 10 Major U.S. Cities
Another dangerous distraction is the use of MP3 Players which again fall into the category of devices that distract you thus increasing the targeting of you to the "bad guy." If you take one of your major sense's away it only makes sense that you have less awareness of any potential threats. And sadly, some may target you for your music device.
These devices can be costly making them an attractive item to steal. You have the double disadvantage of being distracted by them and the possibility someone might want to take them.
I had one woman tell me she understands how they can be dangerous so when walking; she would keep it turned off sometimes so if someone was to attack her, she would be aware of them increasing her chances of defending herself. While that does have some logic, I indicated the goal should be to avoid being attacked, to begin with, and because she had the earbuds in to appear she was distracted, the "bad guy" would not know that so they would have no reason not to attack. She paused and said, "I never considered that!"
Here is an excellent ARTICLE discussing, "It's easy to see why iPods would be alluring targets for criminals: The music players are valuable and easy to resell, and people absorbed in their personal soundtracks can be vulnerably oblivious to their surroundings."
Funny, while doing some online searches into this topic I came across a forum where they posted an article I did up years ago titled, "Top Ten Tips for Teens: Distractions" which I will expand upon, but can also see by clicking on the link. Now some of these distractions I am much more sympathetic than the ones where you see people walking into water fountains because these are distractions used by criminals looking to steal or harm someone.
Another simple, but effective distraction technique is simply asking someone for the time. When someone asks you whether you have a watch on or your cellphone, what do you do? You look down allowing one to close the distance very quickly whether to harm or steal from you. Be sure to keep at a safe distance and don’t look down at watch or cell phone. Bring arm up so you can keep an eye on them while giving the time.
Asking for directions also works well to distract someone. When someone asks you for directions, be sure to keep a safe distance and DO NOT turn your back to the person. An attacker will try to get you to turn your back to execute their attack. When a car pulls up to the curb, and someone asks for directions keep at a safe distance. Quite often the person in the vehicle will act, or they will talk in a low voice which is an excellent way to distract you into getting closer to the car. Most people are polite and helpful and do not think of potential hazards before helping.
Managing Director, SAFE International™