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Avoiding Surprises In A Crowd Without Looking Over Your Shoulder

January 22, 2015, by Ken Jorgustin


Here is a situational awareness tip for while in a crowd (or anywhere) and how to avoid looking over your shoulder while still accomplishing the same thing – seeing what would be behind you or out of your field of vision — and avoiding any ‘surprises’.

Instead of looking over your shoulder, position yourself such that your back is against a surface.

When you are standing or sitting (perhaps waiting) within a crowd (or anywhere – regardless of a crowd or not), or while you’re at an event of some sort or waiting for a train, a plane, etc.. you obviously cannot see behind you. You have some peripheral vision, which may be effective out to an angle of 140 or 160 degrees if you are ‘aware’, but that’s about it…

You have a blind spot (a zone) of approximately 220 degrees. There’s a-lot that could be happening in this zone and unless you hear it, feel it, or smell it, you won’t know it’s there.

If your back is up against or near a strategic surface (a wall, a pillar, a tree, a building, etc..) you will have the advantage of seeing your environment while potentially avoiding any ‘surprises’ behind you in your blind zone.

Here’s a drill: The next time you’re out in a crowd, look for strategic surfaces which you could position yourself in front of, or lean up against.

If you are simply walking and are concerned about your environment, although you cannot see what’s behind you – you might choose to walk along a wall or other such tangible or semi-tangible edges. You might casually stop once in awhile – turning enough to see what’s behind you while checking your cell phone, etc..