Keep Your Eyes On Their Feet To Cut Through Large Crowds Like Butter

You know when you're walking through a large crowd and end up in step with someone else, then have to do that all-too-familiar back-and-forth dance until someone breaks free and you go around each other? Wired wants to help you avoid this.

Over at their How-To Wiki, tech culture site Wired offers a few quick tips for walking through crowds without getting caught in that dance or running into people. Some of the tips may sound obvious (e.g. "watch where you walk"), but it's also full of good reason. For example:

To get on autopilot, pedestrian-style, look down at the feet of the people around you. The head and torso are lagging indicators and often give you bad information with regards to the speed and direction people are travelling. All that information is in the feet.

  • Don't look directly forward. Your gaze is generally perpendicular to your body, usually 90 degrees. Reduce that angle, making it tighter as your space becomes more crowded.
  • Be aware of how crowded your "personal zone" is — use a 6-foot radius as a rule of thumb. Less than six people isn't too crowded, so move as you would normally, but watch people's feet as they enter your zone.
  • If there are six people within your zone, that's a crowd and you should be looking down at all times. Gaze at the floor about 6 feet ahead.
  • If there are 10 or more people in your zone, look almost straight down, between 1 and 2 feet ahead. At this density, you will be in full defensive mode, moving forward overall but tacking and spurting, slowing down and speeding up as you go.
  • Evade, don't invade. Change direction often to slip behind people rather than rushing to cut them off.

Got your own tried-and-true tips for making it through a crowded space? Tell us about them in the comments. Photo by Mr T in DC.

Walk Through Crowds [Wired]

Republished from Lifehacker.

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