How to text safely (hint: look out for any bears)


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The Independent Tech

The perils of texting while walking are obvious: if you're concentrating on how many kisses to leave at the end of a message, you're more likely to wander into traffic, stroll into a lamp post or fall into an open manhole.

Vaz Terdandenyan of La Crescenta, California, faced a very different kind of danger when he looked up from his phone to himself eyeball to eyeball with a 400-pound black bear. Terdandenyan, whose swift retreat was filmed by a news helicopter (, told reporters his recent marathon training had proved unexpectedly useful. For those without such an advantage, a number of apps exist to reduce the hazards of texting and walking simultaneously. Among them are Text Vision and Type n Walk, which use your smartphone's camera to superimpose your text over a live feed of the street ahead.

A less hi-tech method is the "slipstream technique", whereby you walk directly behind someone else, allowing them to assess and avoid potential obstacles. Alternatively: stand still, idiot.