Personal safety is important at all times. We live in an often dangerous world, whether we’d like to admit it or not. Stories come out every day describing a crime that could have been prevented if attention had been given to personal safety. In this blog post, I’d like to talk about personal safety tips, being aware of your surroundings, and emergency planning.
The easiest way to avoid danger is to not put yourself in dangerous situations and to pay attention to your surroundings. In corporate America, I have met several women who believe they are safe simply because they live in a nice neighborhood and know their neighbors. It may not be your neighbors you need to worry about, so preparedness continues to be beneficial no matter where you live. Here are a few simple tips to help keep you safe.
Keep Door Locked
While at home, even if you live in a “safe” neighborhood, keep your doors locked. Whether you live in a big city or out in the country, opportunists can come along at any time. I have read too many stories on news sites and neighborhood apps where strangers come through neighborhoods looking for open doors. They walk into open garages and steal tools and equipment. They walk right up to the front doors and try the knobs and even force their way in when someone answers the door. Be safe by acknowledging and preparing for opportunists.
Locking doors also applies to your car doors as soon as you get in and as soon as you get out. Don’t sit in your car in your driveway or in a parking lot with the doors unlocked. This is also true at the gas station. There have been reports of people opening the passenger side door and stealing purses while the driver is pumping gas. Keeping the car doors locked will help prevent you from becoming a victim.
Don’t be a Target
I’m sure by this point, the word jugging is not a new term for anyone. Be sure that when you leave a bank or financial institution you pay attention to your surroundings. If you feel like you might have been followed, take several turns in the same direction. This will either stop the person from following you or confirm that you need to take action to protect yourself. If you are followed, drive to a police station or a parked police car.
Where I live, road rage is a major hazard. In high-traffic areas, anger leads to dangerous situations. To avoid road rage, be a kind driver and take your time. If you end up in a bad situation, get away if you can and contact the police. Although it may not always be possible, try to give yourself a way out. Do this by leaving enough space between you and the car in front of you in traffic jams and even in drive-throughs. As you pull up behind another car, be sure that you can see some concrete between the front of your car and the back tires of the car in front. This way, you can turn and leave.
Don’t be Distracted
Another common mistake is being distracted by phones while walking through parking lots. To protect yourself when walking alone, walk with intention, scanning your surroundings, with no distractions. If carrying a purse or bag, wear it across your body instead of carrying it in your hand or on your shoulder. All of these things help make you less attractive as a potential victim.
Plan an Exit Route
Whether you are at home, out driving, or even at a concert or grocery store, always have an exit route or evacuation plan in mind. Do your best not to get stuck with no way out. Make plans with your family or household members on what to do in case of an emergency.
The bottom line is to pay attention to your surroundings, make plans, and do your best not to become a victim.
Bonus Tip: Most vehicles with electronic locks can be programmed to your specific needs. For example, I programmed mine so that only the driver’s door unlocks when I push the unlock button once on the key fob. This way, no one can pull open one of the other doors as I’m getting in the car. Check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle has this option.