We know what happens when you drive and text, or cross the street while absorbed in your phone — the distraction can lead you right into an accident. But city streets aren’t the only place where you need to watch your step. The same rules apply if you’re out in a desert, as a California teen found out recently when she wandered into a pit of rattlesnakes.
Vera Oliphant, 16, was on the hunt for a cellular signal on a hillside outside San Diego a couple of weeks ago. She was so fixated on her device that she didn’t realize the eminent danger she was in… until the air was pierced with rattling sounds. “I ran backwards and I stepped into a pit of snakes,” she says.
Oliphant’s account is pretty harrowing. The teen said she felt them biting her — one adult rattlesnake and five other younger snakes — before her vision began to shut down and she felt her body start to numb. She managed to get to her uncle’s house, where she was visiting, and the relative rushed her to the emergency room. On the way, she called her mother and boyfriend to say she loved them just in case she wouldn’t make it. Once at the hospital, doctors treated her with 24 doses of antivenom and put her in intensive care for four days.
At this point Oliphant’s recovering fine, though she’s a bit marked up by the experience. Her scars tell the story better than anything else: There is no doubt that phone distraction is a serious thing — whether you’re on an urban street or taking a walk outside in a rural setting.