Once hailed as a tourist prop, selfie sticks are gaining popularity despite their slightly absurd nature. Though these devices seem innocuous enough, the Huffington Post recently reported selfie sticks have killed more people than shark attacks in the past year (though both occurrences are fairly rare). Like cell phones, these cause accidents through distraction. But how severe can they be, exactly? As it turns out, they may be more dangerous than you think.
They Shut Down a Roller Coaster
Earlier this year, a man singlehandedly shut down a theme attraction at Disneyland when he whipped out his selfie stick during a ride. Riders of California Screamin’ were left stranded at the top of a hill for an hour, after Disney officials shut it down for “health and safety reasons.” Since then, selfie sticks have been banned from all Disney attractions, as well as other popular destinations like Lollapalooza, The Kentucky Derby, and Wimbledon.
A Selfie Stick Video Gone Wrong
In a video that has since gone viral, four young adults are singing “Baby Come Back,” and taping via selfie stick when they get into a car accident. The video, which has been viewed over 5 million times, features the friends taping the chorus when the car suddenly spins out of control. According to the passengers, a tire blew out suddenly, and the driver was unequipped to regain control of the vehicle. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Gator Hunting Accident
A Florida chiropractor was documenting his drive to his first gator hunt when he plowed into the motorist in front of him. A canoe was attached to the front driver’s car, and it rammed through his windshield. No one was seriously injured.
A Fatal Selfie
An American woman was vacationing is South Africa with her boyfriend when she pulled out a selfie stick to take a picture of them silhouetted in front of a cliff. She lost her balance, falling to her death.
Struck by Lightning
Two men were exploring a mountain range in Powys, Mid Wales, when a thunderstorm blew in suddenly. The men were killed in two separate lightning strikes. Authorities believe a selfie stick found on one of the men contributed to the accident.
Focus on the Slope
A snowboarder thought it would be an excellent plan to film himself shredding down the slope. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize how close he was to the chairlift until it was too late. He was not seriously injured.
Defacing Historical Landmarks
A pair of American tourists carved their initials into Rome’s Colosseum and used a selfie stick to document the crime. They were later arrested for defacing the historical treasure. Selfie sticks have since been banned at the landmark.
A father and daughter duo were swimming with a selfie stick attached to an underwater camera when a riptide swept them out to sea. A good Samaritan helped save them, and the father had to be hospitalized for low oxygen.
Don’t Feed the Bears
Colorado’s Waterton Canyon had to be shut down temporarily when rangers discovered tourists were using selfie sticks to get within 10 feet of wild bears.
A Russian teen was climbing a railroad bridge to take a selfie when she lost her balance and began to fall. In a panic, she grabbed live wires to steady herself. The electrocution killed her instantly.
While selfie sticks may seem like a fun way to document a memory, they can pose a threat to your safety and those around you.