Improve Your Situational Awareness in Crowds and Traffic

What is Situational Awareness?

Situational awareness (SA) is the observation of your surroundings and if possible, anticipating things before they happen. Being “aware” of your surroundings plays a critical role in your overall safety and performance. Situational awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend information that could save your life in an emergency.

Situational Awareness and Modern Day Distractions

Just look around today, it seems that everyone has their head buried in their phone or some other device. They are completely unaware of what is going on around them and that is dangerous. Those who live life like this are the people that predators love to prey on. For most, it isn’t possible to avoid crowds or traffic so here are some of our tips to keep yourself safe if you find you can’t avoid them.

Situational Awareness in Crowds

Sam’s Club

First off, avoiding crowds is our preferred method of staying safe. Unfortunately, that is not an option for many of us. But, as busy as we as preppers are, there is no excuse for walking around with your head in the sand. It is important that you keep your head up and your eyes open.

Isolated Groups

Isolated groups of people that are detached from the main flow of people could spell trouble. Give yourself plenty of room between you and them. Further, avoid eye contact if possible.

Designated Distractions

Designated distractions are events or people that are there to distract you just long enough to wreak havoc. While you are preoccupied with them, their cronies are making their move. It is best to not even give anyone the time of day. It’s sad that we as a society have come to this, but you are better off safe than sorry.

Walking Pace

Someone walking up behind you at a faster pace than you or the general flow of traffic should set off your spidey senses. Move quickly to a safe place. Again, this may seem like overkill but there is no reason to take chances.

Walking Direction

If you see someone walking at your pace but at an angle that would eventually cut you off, slow down, switch directions, and get to a safe place. If at all possible, in any of these situations, do not turn your back on anyone you have identified as a possible threat.

Cubby Holes or Store Entrances

On many streets, there are cubby holes or store entrances that are recessed into the building, dark, and can’t be seen until you are right upon them. The best way to avoid a situation here is to make a wide space between you and the area. Don’t put yourself in danger by haphazardly walking right next to the buildings. Give yourself options for escape.

Head On Traffic

Many times, the perps like to take you head-on. Seeing two people walking toward you and then suddenly split before they get to you is a big sign that they are up to no good. Again, give yourself plenty of room.

Situational Awareness in Highway Traffic

Driving In Traffic

While I’m am at it, situational awareness should not only be when you are walking, you need to be aware of what is around you while driving as well. Here are a few bonus tips for driving in traffic.

Keep your head up and don’t be texting or buried in your phone.

Keep plenty of space between you and the other cars

When at a stoplight or stop sign, keep at least two car lengths between you and the car in front of you in case you need to get out of dodge quickly. Stopping too close eliminates your escape route.

If possible, never drive too long in any lane except the right lane. If you need to exit the road quickly, you don’t want to have to cross several lanes of traffic, especially in an emergency.

This is just a basic list of things to remember when you are in a crowd or driving in traffic. I will cover more advanced situational awareness topics in a later article.