by Mike Bryant

Part of the research: Sending or reading a text message can take up to 4.6 seconds. As you are walking, even at a slow speed, you travel some distance without paying attention to where you are going. If you do this on a sidewalk or along a busy highway, it can be dangerous and deadly.

I saw an example of this on a recent trip to the supermarket. I was pulling into the parking lot and ahead of me was a woman who was walking like she was drunk down the middle of the lane. She was busy texting or doing something on her phone. I saw her so she was safe from me but at least three backing cars almost hit her, including one she almost walked into. Pay attention while you are walking and be aware of your surroundings.

Whatever is going on with your phone can wait.

Each year, statistics come out on the number of people killed on our highways. Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of pedestrians killed in traffic. The highest number of fatalities in more than two decades came in 2016 according to the Government Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Report released in March 2017. Deaths are more likely to occur in situations where both the pedestrian and driver are distracted.

Beyond that, people can be injured by walking into poles or other people.

It is important to do the following things: Stand still when you are texting.

Don’t use headphones when you are walking.

According to the study by Safe Kids Worldwide, one in five high school students and one in eight middle school students have been seen crossing the road while distracted. Of those students, 39 percent were texting and 39 percent were using headphones. Basically, texting while walking is like walking with your eyes closed.

Talking on a cellphone can be just as distracting as texting. If the phone is up to your ear, you may be able to keep your eyes open. If you get too engrossed in your conversation, bad things can happen.

Overall, you need to stay safe and alert. If your nose is buried in your phone or if your sensors are blocked by a phone, you lose the ability to stay safe.