Beyond Distracted Driving: When Texting Is a Bad Idea

Text messaging can be a legitimate health risk, even outside of distracted driving. Here, tips to curb the bad habit.

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Don't text while walking.

Don't text while walking.istock/Likoper
A recent report from The Atlantic reveals that one in three people don't look up from their phones while crossing the street; other studies explain that in 2011, there were 1,500 people who reported cell phone-related injuries while walking and that over 9 percent of them were texting while injured.

Don't text while driving, even "hands-free."

Don't text while driving, even "hands-free."istock/Geber86
Smartphones now offer ways to send text messages with your voice, but don't think you're safe just because your fingers aren't on your phone. A recent study by the AAA found that hands-free devices like bluetooth headsets—widely purported to make cell phone conversations safer on the road—actually don't make much of a difference when it comes to your ability to pay attention.

Don't text instead of talking.

Don't text instead of talking.istock/BraunS
According to a CNN report, developmental psychologists worry that habitual texting as opposed to actual talking could negatively impact interpersonal skills.

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Don't text at the dinner table.

Don't text at the dinner table.Paolo Cipriani
It's not unhealthy, but it's rude. Restaurant-goers who were irritated by distracted friends have pioneered the phone stack: the first person who picks up their cell pays the bill.

Don't text at a red light.

Don't text at a red light.istock/monticelllo
You're stopped, but you're still controlling a vehicle weighing several thousand pounds and need to be ready for anything. Try an app like Cellcontrol, which uses technology to block talking or texting while you're in the car.

Don't text ... at the gas station?

Don't text ... at the gas station?istock/Don Bayley
This urban legend has been around for a while, of cell phones sparking an explosion at the pumps. According to Snopes, there has never been an actual report of it happening; still, why risk it?

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