Whether or not you can place the name, you have met the Wexters. You’ve probably bumped into them on the street. The Wexters are folks who walk and text at the same time.
You’ve seen these distracted pedestrians ambling down the sidewalk, through the parking lot, and across the street with eyes down as they busily text, talk, or listen to music all at the same time. With no idea what is going on around them, the Wexters are dangerous to themselves and others.
There are reports of distracted pedestrians that have walked into utility and sign posts, bumped into walls and other pedestrians, and stepped in front of moving cars. Occasionally, we hear of the distracted pedestrian who walked into a glass door or into a fountain. Let us not forget the woman who fell into Lake Michigan. A study published by the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) revealed 40% have witnessed a distracted pedestrian incident and 25% admitted their own involvement in an incident.
It’s easy to laugh. In fact, 22% of AAOS respondents think distracted walking mishaps are “funny.” But incidents like these are no joke. Serious injuries can and do occur. In 2013, Ohio State University released a nationwide study which reported 256 distracted pedestrian emergency room visits in 2005. Five years later, in 2010, the number rose more than 500% to 1,506. This does not account for visits to personal physicians.
Avoid becoming a Wexter:
- Keep volume on headphone low enough to hear traffic.
- Focus on the people, objects, and obstacles around you.
- Obey traffic signals. Don’t jaywalk.
- Look up especially at curbs, stairs, and escalators.
- If you must make a call or text, step to the side, out of the way of pedestrians and traffic.
Photo credit: Found online. Unable to trace source