It might seem obvious to anyone who's ever been stuck behind someone whose eyes are glued to their phone, but scientists have now proved once-and-for-all that texting while walking slows you down.
Researchers at the University of Bath in the UK got 30 people aged between 18 and 50 to navigate a course containing typical obstacles a pedestrian might face while out strolling, such as curbs, steps and other people.
They did once sans phone, a second time while texting, and a third while texting and trying to solve maths puzzles at the same time.
The results show the more a person has to do while walking, the slower and more cautiously they move, taking shorter steps.
What surprised the scientists though while text-walking decreased participants' ability to walk in a straight line, it didn't increase the number of times they bumped their feet on things or tripped over.
"Our results… suggest that those who walk and text adopt a 'protective' gait pattern alteration in order to minimise the risk of potential accidents," they wrote in journal PLOS ONE.
But it's not clear from the study whether the change in gait was subconscious or deliberate.
The authors also note that although texting wasn't associated with an increase in accidents in this study, the results don't take into account other, less predictable obstacles.
"[A 2010 study] showed that people using mobile phones were less likely to notice a unicycling clown performing along their walking route."
Older people might be more prone to accidents while walking using phones however because they haven't grown up with the technology, the study suggests.