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Safety Tips for Women When Walking Alone at Night

Rohini Mohan
Irrespective of how safe a neighborhood claims to be, women of all age groups must be cautious when walking alone at night. This is the ideal time for most human predators to launch an attack on unsuspecting victims. Keeping a few safety measures in mind can ensure that you or your loved ones stay protected.

Did You Know?

... that a 1/2 oz. or 15 gram unit pepper spray contains 5 one-second bursts and can cover 6-12 feet when sprayed!
In a world full of predators, women have to be more alert, cautious, and take responsibility of their own safety before anyone else can. Just like how we can't predict the future, we can't predict the real intentions of people. Being on guard and protecting themselves must be the foremost priority for women.
Special safety precautions must be taken by women who get delayed at work, have late-night shifts, or simply happen to find themselves in a situation where they are forced to walk alone at night.
Criminals rarely ever attack women if they are with a male companion or walking with a small group of people. Defensive body language can also make a tremendous difference in dissuading strangers from approaching women.
Nonetheless, certain basic safety norms must be followed as an instinct, such as choosing to take well-lit streets and walking under streetlights, walking briskly and with confidence, walking with the crowd, and in the middle of the footpath or sidewalk, so that no one can try to drag you inside a dark alley or car.
This story presents some safety tips for women when walking alone at night.
Keep Your Phone Charged
No matter what, you must always ensure that your phone is charged and has sufficient credit to call people in case you get stranded or your car breaks down. Always carry a portable charger with you, as you can never be sure when your phone may discharge.
If possible carry a second phone, which can be used in case the other phone is stolen, lost, or stops working. Keep this phone as a backup and in a separate place, such as the inside pocket of your jacket or jeans.
Save Emergency Numbers
Have all the necessary numbers saved on speed dial. Always ask for someone to become your emergency contact person. Ensure that this person has a vehicle and can reach you as soon as possible.
Save numbers of immediate family members who can be contacted in times of distress. Save emergency numbers such as 122 and 911 as the first few speed dials, so you don't have to remember which number stands for which contact.
Know Your Route
It is absolutely dangerous to walk alone and not know the routes properly.
Take the help of the GPS navigation application on your phone, in case you are in an unknown area or are bad with directions and find it hard to differentiate one street from the other. Do not try to take shortcuts if you are not absolutely sure about the route or are aware that the route is relatively dark or unsafe.
Stay Alert
No matter how often you may have traveled through a particular route, you must never take your safety for granted. Always stay alert and do not talk on the phone while you're walking as that will distract you and make you an easy target. However, keep your phone in your hand so you needn't search for it when required.
If you are being stalked, call a friend and give a minute-by-minute account of where you are presently and where you're heading. If possible, try to describe the features of the stalker, or relay the vehicle number and the car model to your friend so that she/he can pass this crucial information to the cops.
Similarly, if the road ahead seems unsafe or too dark for walking, call for a taxi or a friend to come pick you up. Call the cops if you feel extremely threatened. Meanwhile, just turn back and head towards a safer place.
Dress Wisely
You do not want to be stuck in a situation where you are neither dressed properly nor wearing the right shoes to walk home. Make it a point to change into your walking shoes before you leave your college or workplace.
Similarly, do not wear clothes that attract unnecessary attention or make you an easy target for predators. In case you can't avoid dressing up for an event, make sure you carry a change of clothes and a pair of sneakers or flat shoes, that you can change into before leaving the venue.
Do Not Stop for Withdrawing Money
It is not advisable to stop for withdrawing money at night, especially if you are unaccompanied and walking back home. You must always carry emergency cash with you and never keep it in the purse along with the usual cash.
In case someone tries to extort money from you at gun or knifepoint, do not resist and handover your purse. Remember, you still have enough cash to reach a safer place.
Stay Alert in the Parking Lot
➜ Parking lots make convenient hideouts for predators who want to stalk women or attack them in some way.
While walking up to your car, make sure you do not have your headphones plugged in. You have to remain absolutely alert in order to realize if someone suspicious is following you or not.
➜ Secondly, check the tires and backseat as you approach the car. In case there is a van or another vehicle parked too close to the driver's seat, try to enter your car from the passenger door.
➜ In case you notice a suspicious person standing aimlessly near your car, do not approach the vehicle and return to a safer place, such as a nearby shop, office, or ask the security personnel to accompany you.
➜ Once you are in your car, start driving immediately. Do not wait around to check your makeup or your phone for new messages or calls.
➜ If possible, message or call your loved ones and inform them about your whereabouts, before heading towards the parking lot.
Safety Dos and Don'ts when Your Car Breaks Down
➜ Make it a habit to get your car serviced regularly and ensure that the tank is always full, to minimize the chances of stalling and breakdowns. However, in case your car does breakdown, call for assistance immediately and do not try to figure out the problem on your own.
➜ Head towards the nearest restaurant or shop where there are other people present. In case you're stranded on a highway or a lonely street, do not remain seated in your car. Instead, hide behind the rocks, trees, or bushes on the side of the road until help arrives.
➜ Lastly, never accept offers for lifts from strangers and step as far away from the stranger's vehicle as you can, in case it stops for you. Predators are always on the lookout for easy targets such as a lone woman with a broken down car!

Give Verbal Threats

It is very likely that your attacker may feign his disability or situation to win your sympathy and ask for help.
Even though it is good to help people in need, do not stop to help a stranger while you're alone and vulnerable. In case he persists, shout sentences such as "Leave Me Alone" "Back Off" or "Stay Away" so as to intimidate him and make him step away from you.
Defend Yourself
➜ Always carry a self-defense weapon with you, such as a pepper spray, alarm key chain, or a really loud whistle. Pepper spray is highly effective as it incapacitates the assailant's vision for several hours, which provides ample time for the victim to escape.
➜ It is also helpful to know a few self-defense moves, which you can use to attack the assailant. Hitting the assailant with your elbow will definitely knock him out, provided you use absolute force while attacking.

➜ The knees and the groin are other areas that can be attacked, however, if the attack is weak, the assailant will recover quickly, and that can spell serious trouble for the victim.
That being said, try to leave early from work so that you can make it home before it gets too dark or the streets become empty. Your safety is in your own hands, so be the guardian of your own life.