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You Walk Like You Drive

 Or is it the opposite?  I’m not sure if “Miss Manners” has ever covered this before, but I’m going to give it a shot.  There is a certain etiquette, I think, to walking.  I’ve worked in relatively large companies over the years.  Which means I’ve had to walk through large buildings filled with,,, PEOPLE! (I know, it’s pretty scary, but it can be done)  Of course, these rules can still be applied to small places, like the local convenience store or grocery store.  They can also be applied to walking in the park or on a busy city street. 

 I’ve always taken the approach of driving because it just seems natural.  I can imagine this would get confusing if you are in a country that uses right hand drive, but the principals still apply.  So take some of the basic rules as follows:

  • Stay to your right
  • Treat intersections like stop signs (unless of course walk/no walk signals are available)
  • Take left turns across “Traffic” like you would in the car (for some of you that means WAIT until there is a space or someone offers to let you through)
  • Be aware of what is going on behind you so you aren’t causing a traffic Jam or worse yet a rear end collision (that could get embarrassing)
  • Please don’t stop in the middle of traffic to have a conversation, step to the side as best you can.

 OK, so we hit the basics, now let’s talk about things that are specific to walking as compared to driving. 

  • Doors (the rules here are cumulative, select all that apply to a given situation)


    • MEN - ALWAYS hold the door for ladies (unless they offer to let you through, don’t offend the ladies by refusing this return gesture; remember they even have the right to VOTE these days!!!)


    • WOMEN – Please accept the door holding from Men graciously, most don’t mean it as belittling; they simply want to pay you respect which is what their mothers taught them to do.  However, if you catch them looking at your butt, you have my permission to knee them in the NADS!

One last thing though, don’t leave them stranded either; I know I’ve stood by as 20 women have gone through the door before me so every once in a while let the poor ape go first.


    • Single Doors – Do what you SHOULD be doing in merging traffic, let one person before then go yourself and be sure to PASS the door hold to the next person, don’t just let it close in their face.


    • Double Doors – ALWAYS use the RIGHT hand door!  You wouldn’t go through an intersection In the left lane would you?!


    • Thank You and Hello – Say thank you!  Or at least give the nod to the person who held the door for you!  If you are the holder, smile or say hello while holding the door.  However, try to avoid saying “what’s up” or “how are you” because you wouldn’t want that to turn into a conversation and cause a traffic jam.


    • TAKE CARE when exiting a door that you cannot see if there is someone on the other side.  I have literally witnessed someone get their front teeth knocked out by someone charging through a door and smashing someone in the face!


  • Traffic
    • Again, walk on the right side of traffic (it’s worth mentioning twice)


    • Please don’t walk too close behind someone, it’s creepy! Need I say more?


    • DON’T walk 2 or 3 wide and then walk slowly, that is extremely disrespectful to the people behind you who might have a meeting to go to!  (or more importantly LUNCH!)


    • If you are stuck behind people who are carelessly blocking traffic, you are going to have to ask them to let you by.  It is OK to do this because it is they who are being oblivious not you.  But be polite, kicking them in the ASS doesn’t work very well. (Neither does the “evil eye”, trust me I’ve experimented at both extremes!)


  • Steps
    • Yep, you guessed it, stay to the right!


    • Single file please, I don’t care how important you think your conversation is!


    • Be mindful of your appendages, luggage, long poles, etc.;  that can get dangerous!


    • Be careful when mounting the steps behind someone, it’s been scientifically proven that climbing steps causes loss of sphincter control.  So your placement in line on the steps in relation to the person’s “height” in front of you could mean the difference between life and death!


  • Elevators (this could probably be a whole topic in and of itself, but I’ll try to be brief)


    • The key to elevator etiquette is to be aware of your surroundings.  If you are entering an open elevator, take a millisecond to take note if there are others approaching and hold the door for them.


    • Say hello and smile, but leave it at that, I really don’t need to know how hot it is outside for the 8th time this trip.


    • Move to an open area to stand or if you can, take charge of the controls and ask the other person where they would like to go! Then press the button for them.


    • Since there is no added exertion involved with riding an elevator, please maintain sphincter control during your trip!  At ALL COSTS please, remember that even if you are alone, elevators are an enclosed space that is rarely ventilated properly!


    • It is OK to look at the floor indicator for something to do during your trip. But here are a few things NOT to do:


      • Don’t Hum!  Your song selection and/or humming ability could cause elevator rage, don’t take the risk!


      • Don’t look down!  In the case of elevator rage (if unprovoked) this presents a posture of weakness and could be a further trigger.


      • Please don’t look at the other person, in this enclosed space it is very creepy and a sure trigger of elevator rage.


      • In case of unprovoked elevator rage; stop, drop, and roll!  Or curl up in a ball or something.


      • In case of PROVOKED elevator rage; take it like a MAN because you deserve it! (I did warn you about the triggers you know!)


    • When leaving the elevator, assuming that you make it out alive, it isn’t required to say something.  However, a simple “take it easy” or “have a nice day” is always a nice gesture.


    • Finally, just remember that there is a possibility you could be stuck with this person for hours if something goes awry.  So don’t say or do anything that you might regret for the next few hours!



  • Turnstiles, Metal Detectors, Explosives Detectors, and Body Scanners.


    • We’ve all experienced heightened security measures in this day and age, so I’ve got some tips for that too.


    • If the device operates in two directions, follow the stop sign rules.  One person goes from one direction then a person goes from the other direction.


    • Do I REALLY have to say “one at a time please”!  Ladies (or Men for that matter) again I give you permission to appropriately maim the person who violates this rule.


    • In the case of Body Scanners, do what your mother taught you and “Wear Clean Underwear”! Have mercy on the airport staff please, they are just doing their job! (no matter how enjoyable they may find it, it’s still work right!?)


So that’s all I can think of at the moment.  I am always open to your suggestions for additions to these “rules”.


Remember to be polite and courteous, it not only can make you feel good but it can really make the difference in someone else’s mood.  A smile really can change the world. (or is that a coke? I know they make me happy)


If, however, you are one of those people who are as dangerous on the road as a 2 year old with finger paint; then maybe the reverse should be the case and you should apply your walking habits to driving!


That leads me to the next logical progression on this subject titled “What if the Other Driver could hear you?” so check that out next.

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