It gets far worse than long-term neck injuries for Smartphone Users with heads constantly bent down while walking. The phenomenon of distracted pedestrians getting injured or killed by buses, trams, trains and cars is ballooning, and one German city has decided to take some extreme measures to help save some lives.
The city of Augsburg has installed blinking Traffic Lights in the ground near tram crossings and intersections to let those constantly looking downward know to stop walking. The lights flash red when traffic lights turn red or when a tram is approaching, which will hopefully get the attention of those smartphone users, many of whom are occupied by messaging or social media apps.
It’s an experiment. It’s hard to say whether or not this will actually help protect anyone — as much as we’d like to think otherwise, human brains aren’t built for this kind of multitasking. While the brain can handle a ton of automatic processes at once, we can really only consciously pay attention to one thing at a time. Next time you’re out and using a smartphone while walking, try to remember ever seeing the ground once you get to your destination. It’s unlikely you will — those lights on the ground could be just as easy to ignore as any other traffic light.
But, as one of the German men interviewed about the new light says, it’s not bad. If the lights can save a few people from an untimely end, then they’ll have been worth it. Still, it might be advisable to look up every once in a while.
Via Washington Post and Fast Company