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Is it dangerous to look at your phone when you’re walking?

A woman smiling as she walks down a street looking at her mobile phone

With the range of enticing features now available on our mobile phones, we are more in love with our devices than ever before.

Checking GoogleMaps to make sure we’re headed in the right direction, sending a quick text to say we’re delayed, or picking a new playlist for the commute are all popular ways to use our phones when walking. However, they all cause a distraction and, in that way, could put us at risk.

We aren’t just talking about risks to our health but also our valuable possessions. After all, protecting our beloved devices from accidents, damage and theft is why finding the right insurance for iPhones is so important.


Dangers of phone use

If you walk down any UK high street, you’ll soon witness people everywhere with their eyes glued to their screens.

Whether talking, texting, browsing the internet, or any number of other activities, they are all busy on their phones.

However, what they aren’t doing is paying attention to their surroundings. This lack of attention can lead to many dangers, even in familiar areas that might seem safe.

A man walking down a busy street looking at his mobile phone

Road traffic accidents

When walking in urban areas, crossing busy streets and negotiating traffic we are all vulnerable to accidents. Tragically, even just a moment's lack of concentration can easily turn us into one of the many people who are killed or injured on UK roads every year.

The latest government figures show that 470 pedestrians were killed last year alone, accounting for 27% of all road deaths. In addition, nearly 7,000 pedestrians were seriously injured.

While we don’t know how many of these are as a direct result of so-called distracted walking, there is clearly a risk for such vulnerable road users.

But it isn’t just on the roads – even the comparative safety of the pavement won’t protect you from harm. Particularly for the most vulnerable groups like children and older adults where there has been a rise in pedestrian fatalities in recent years.

RoadPeace the national charity for road crash victims says that in the past 13 years there have been 584 pedestrians killed by drivers in the supposed safe haven of pavements or verges. In every case a devastating personal tragedy for all concerned.


Slips, trips and bumps

While the numbers of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in road accidents are shocking, North American research suggests this could be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to injuries from distracted walking.

Recent research from scientists from the University of Calgary in Canada combined the results of 22 previous studies to look into the dangers of pedestrian distraction. They reported that since 2004, pedestrian injuries – such as walking into lamp posts and tripping and falling – have increased 800%.

The study also examined how pedestrians act while using a mobile phone, such as how long it took them to cross a road and whether they carefully checked for approaching cars. The research disclosed several worrying issues:

  • People texting or browsing the internet were less likely to look left and right before crossing the road and took longer to cross. They were also more likely to be involved in a collision or near miss with a car or another pedestrian.
  • People who were talking on their cell phone were less likely to have an accident or near miss but still took longer to cross the road and often missed opportunities for safe crossing.

Unfortunately while phones have made it easy for us to constantly stay in contact with work, friends, and family they can also contribute to slip and fall accidents. If you must use your phone while walking, stop in a safe spot out of the way of other pedestrians and vehicles to make your call or send your text.

This applies equally to both indoors and outside. US health and safety organisation the National Safety Council claims over half of distracted walking injuries actually occur in our own homes!

If you have an iPhone insurance policy through Gadget Cover and your phone is damaged as a result of an accident, we can repair it. And if the device cannot be repaired, we will replace it. Meaning you can focus on recovering from your accident rather than worrying about what you’ll do without your phone.

A woman smiling as she walks down a busy street looking at her mobile phone

Victims of crime

As well as injury to phone users, there’s also an increased risk of being a victim of crime. Criminals often target mobile phone users at busy locations such as rail stations and shopping centres.

The victims are approached from behind while texting or speaking on their phone and distracted. The criminals will simply grab the phone and make their escape.

Such crimes can happen at any time of day so always be aware of your surroundings. The Metropolitan Police advises that:

  • If you need to use your phone on the street, look out for anyone on a bike or a moped near you.
  • Be quick so you don't become distracted for too long.
  • Never text while you're walking – you won't notice what's going on around you.
  • If you must text, stand away from the road so no one can sneak up behind you.
  • Go hands-free.

Having iPhone insurance to protect your valuable device means that if your gadget is stolen Gadget Cover will replace it.


iPhone protection from Gadget Cover

Whatever the risks of life in our modern environment, Gadget Cover prides itself on always finding you an iPhone insurance policy that suits your needs.

When we depend on our iPhones for so much in our personal and business lives, protecting these valuable items from harm is vital.

Policies arranged through Gadget Cover can include protection from accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage. For an extra premium your iPhone can also be covered against loss.

Policies can also cover use of your gadget by other family members and any accessories (up to £150) if they are lost, stolen or damaged at the same time.

Get a quote for iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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