Think a bad slip can’t happen to you? This might surprise you.

Ouch! Falls are the No. 1 cause of nonfatal accidental injury in people 18 to 34.

We’ve all done it.

We’ve tripped on something — or nothing — and looked around to see if anyone saw us take a tumble. Falls can cause more than palm-to-face embarrassment. They may mess up your body, head and life — and some bad falls are deadly.

‘I didn’t see that coming.’

So why are young adults taking falls? Maybe it’s because we’re busy — moving fast, using our phones, talking to friends — not watching where we’re going.

Are you a distracted walker? It’s OK to admit it.

Walking really shouldn’t be a multitasking activity, say experts who study personal safety. Focusing on anything but putting one foot in front of the other is called “distracted walking.” It can trip you up — and if you don’t fall, you may collide with something painfully unforgiving instead.

Stay safe out there — and check out these tips to help avoid embarrassing missteps, stumbles or worse:

  • Heads up! When you walk, focus on what’s around you. That includes people, objects and obstacles.
  • Be especially careful when you’re stepping off or onto curbs, stairs and escalators.
  • Step aside, please. If you’re deep in conversation with someone, get out of the flow of foot traffic. The same goes for texting, searching, browsing or talking on your phone.
  • Wearing headphones or earbuds? Skip them — or keep the volume low so you can still hear what’s going on around you.
  • Don’t be a jaywalker. Cross the street at a traffic light or crosswalk. Pay attention to vehicles and cyclists on the road — even if you have the right of way.
  • Avoid WUI: walking under the influence. Drinking too much is harmful in a number of waysOpens a new window — and can lead to dangerous falls.

What to do next

Avoid not-so-smart things with your smartphone. Say no-go to these 5 blunders for your own safety and well-being.Opens a new window

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to receive our e-newsletter? Subscribe to Healthy Mind Healthy Body® today.

  • If you are a new member, register on® to begin getting the newsletter.
  • If you've already registered on, log into your account and update your Subscriptions in the Account Settings section.


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Safety Council