Tips for Staying Safe When Walking Alone at Night
July 30, 2018 | Personal Injury
In life, some things are worth taking a risk- asking someone out on a date, trying for that job promotion, or finally getting the courage to go bungee jumping. However, taking a risk when it comes to walking alone at night is not one of those things we should be avoiding at all costs. Women who walk alone — especially at night — are at risk of harassment, or even physical assault. It is always best to walk with someone or in an area where there are other people- but even with the best planning there will likely come a time you will need to walk somewhere alone at night. Whether it’s to your car after a late night at the office, heading to your car after a late-night store run, or walking home from the public bus station, you may find yourself out at night alone. Frequently, these situations arise walking back to your dorm after a late night college class as well. Make sure you follow these tips to stay safer:
Keep your keys ready
Keep your keys ready to go, even if you are simply walking from your front door to your car. Hold on to them inside your pocket. Bring them out when you are a few steps away from the car door and then unlock the door and get in. This will eliminate fumbling around for the keys in your purse or pocket, which is a prime time for someone to jump you as you are distracted. Once you are in your vehicle, lock the door and start the car, don’t sit there idle with the door unlocked and the car not running because someone can still approach you.
Walk with confidence
If you have to walk at night alone be sure you are walking with an air of confidence and with purpose. Keep your head up and don’t be afraid to make eye contact with those you pass. Don’t keep your head down or avoid eye contact as this could give the impression that you are timid, weak, or scared. Walk at a steady pace and walk facing traffic to keep yourself visible. If you end up getting lost don’t wander around, head to the nearest area that has people and ask someone for directions and head on your way with purpose once again.
Trust your gut
When you have to be out alone at night, your gut instincts are often your best defense and they are your best friend. If you are worried someone is following you, turn around and acknowledge they are there. Let the person know you’re aware of their presence. You do not have to confront them but let them know that you know they are there. If you feel you are being followed do not go to your car or to your house. Head to a public area like a store, restaurant, or police station if one is nearby and find someone to help you.
Carry a noisy “friend”
Women are often targets of violence, abuse, and abduction because they are seen as easy targets that will not put up a fight and will not arouse anyone to what is going on. The best way to fight this is to always have something on you that can be used to draw attention to yourself. Keep some kind of noisemaker on your keychain so you can get to it easily if someone approaches you and you need help. A personal alarm or whistle can be used to let those around you know something is wrong and can scare off an attacker in many cases.
Know what to do in the worst-case scenario
A woman’s best defense against an attack is mindfulness and action. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation or a situation that makes you feel unformattable or at risk and you can escape, do so immediately. If you need to fight back, you need to be prepared to do so and know what you will do to defend yourself. Only you can determine what you can or will do when faced with an attacker. Many women take self-defense classes to help prepare them for these cases so they know what to do when the adrenaline is flowing and they need to act.
Avoid struggling with lots of bags
Struggling with five different bags at night while walking to your care or to your front door is a common occurrence for many women, but you should avoid it whenever possible. Multiple bags handing on your arms and shoulders make it where you cannot use your hands freely and can prevent your ability to react quickly is a situation were to suddenly turn dangerous. Use a shopping cart to carry bags from the store to your car and make multiple trips to the car if you need to bring a lot of bags into the house.
Notify someone of your plans
If you have to walk alone at night, give someone a call or text to let them know where you are and what you will be doing. Make sure to tell them your plans, travel routes, and expected arrival time. You want to make sure if something happens someone knows where to start looking for you or when they should be worried that you are not home or haven’t checked in yet. There are several apps you can download on your mobile phone to track your location and send notices to family of when you should arrive home. These can be valuable for women who live alone and end up walking alone often.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions.
The final thing you can do to keep yourself safe if you have to walk alone at night is to make sure you are alert and are not letting yourself get distracted. You need to always be aware of where you are what is going on around you. Do not wear headphones or listen to music while you are walking alone. Don’t text or use your phone to browse the internet while you are walking. If you need to call someone do so and talk to them while you are walking and don’t let yourself lose track of what’s happening around you as you walk. Being alert is the best way to avoid dangerous situations.
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