A Dangerously Distracting Habit That Needs Urgent Attention

Walking with Phone at City Street
Image used for representation only.

It is a habit which is growing by the day as mobile phones get cheaper and data affordable.

Today, the menace of walking, talking and texting is sparking multiple dangers to both the person involved and others.

The phenomenon of “inattentional blindness” caused by walking on the roads with the mobile phones glued to the ears has made people walk into walls, fall into rivers, get into collisions with vehicles or slip onto the railway tracks.

Inattentional blindness, also known as perceptual blindness, is a psychological lack of attention that is not associated with any vision defects or deficits.

It certainly is no laughing matter anymore. The time has come to crack down on this dangerous habit. If vehicle drivers can be fined for using mobile phones while driving then why the pedestrian can’t be penalised too.

A survey conducted earlier had stated that eight out of 10 drivers in India are scared of distracted walkers, as they are called.

Sadly, there are many who don’t even understand how to operate their mobile phone properly and yet they walk around, sometimes in the middle of the road, oblivious to what is going around them.

The worst of the lot are those who cross the road without giving a damn to their surroundings. This tribe can get killed at any given time and add another dimension to the worsening traffic issues in Pune.

Some experts feel that educating instead of punishing such people will be the ultimate solution.

Here are some problems and their possible solutions which must be addressed on an urgent basis:

Inattentional Blindness: It has been scientifically proved that the human brain can only focus on one problem at a time. Hence, by doing two tasks, the pedestrian is putting himself in grave risks. Furthermore, Indian roads are unsafe and anything can happen on them. This fact must be driven home repeatedly through advertisements or social media.

Playing Games While Walking: This is among the worst things to do. There is absolutely no chance to focus on anything else. Instead of walking, they must move to the side, away from the others, and finish their game and move.

Headphones: Don’t use headphones or go hands-free while crossing the road. You attention is on your phone and not on the road. Ask the person at the other end to hold on while you complete the difficult task of crossing the road.

Surroundings: It is good to be aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded areas of the city.  It is better to let the mobile rest in your pocket there.

Zebra lines/Signals: These offer some amount of safety to distracted walkers. Cross there and nowhere else for your own safety. At least you reduce your chances of meeting your Maker that way. But always remember Pune traffic is haphazard and anyone jumping the signal may put your life at risk

Voice Text: Use Voice Text Messages to avoid glueing your ear to tbe phone. This way you can minimise chances of an accident.

Vision: Holding the phone is also of great importance. Always keep your phone below your eye-line so that you can see at least see to an extent, that is, if you intent to.

Move To The Side: It’s as easy as that. Just move to one side, pull out your phone and read to your heart’s content before you resume your walk again. It is as easy as that. Save your life and that of others too.