I was talking about awareness and I asked them, “how many of you talk on the phone or text regularly when you are commuting?” Very few hands went up. How many of you KNOW that it’s not a great idea to be on the phone texting, somewhat distracted while commuting? All hands went up.
Then I asked them a follow-up, “what about when you don’t know where you’re going and are trying to get your bearings straight? How many of you will pull out your phone and GPS where you’re going while walking?” Most of them raised their hands, sheepishly.
Those of us who take our responsibility to safety seriously need to take a look at holes in our game. We need to analyze where our safety-gaps are and look for patterns of behavior where we break our own personal safety rules and exhibit less-aware tourist-like behavior.
To look at it from another angle, do you feel more or less vulnerable to something bad happening to you when you don’t know where you are going? For most people I would say more vulnerable, particularly in that you are focusing on an additional stressor, where am I and where is my destination?
Compound that with switching critical focus between your phone in-hand and looking at your surroundings trying to follow where to go and you are significantly more distracted and not likely to see someone assess or approach you.
There are always times when you will have to improvise and deal with things on the fly, but for many situations, a little work up-front can make you capable of being more aware and less fixated on figuring out where you are or where you are headed.
Do your homework upfront.
One way to compensate for that is by looking things up ahead of time. You can use Google maps and get a street view of exactly where you are heading-before you get in the car to go there. Even better would be to identify the close landmarks on both sides of your destination using the street-view, so that you know where you are without relying on just your GPS.
As an example, I frequently travel to places in DC that have never been to when I do corporate self defense seminars for office employees. I can be near my destination and still have no idea where it is relative to the best location for parking.
For me, pre-planning my commute means less stress, and less stress across the board means more brain-computing power for other stuff.
Train smart & stay safe,
NOVA Self Defense
How many street-smart blunders do you find in this photo? Comment below on the ones you can identify- you'll have to think outside the box for a few. I'll post the answer key after I get a few responses.