We are all alone at some point during the day—whether it be walking to our cars or going for a jog. Stay safe by learning how to evaluate your surroundings and change your routine so your whereabouts aren't predictable.

The below safety tips aim to reduce opportunities that make you a target.

Transportation Safety

Always choose well-populated areas when traveling, whether taking public transportation, walking or driving.

When using public transportation, be alert. Avoid the use of headphones, game consoles and cellphones as these items can divert your attention. When traveling on a train during non-peak hours, opt to sit in the conductor’s car.

In any public transpiration vehicle, avoid sitting near the doors. This provides someone the opportunity to step on, snatch your belongings and quickly step off. With this in mind, keep any loose belongings (purses, book bags, wallets) close to your person.

If traveling alone via car, keep the following in mind:

  • When approaching your car, already have your keys in hand. Avoid a lapse of time between arriving at your car and entering it.
  • Look around to make sure no one is crouched down near your car.
  • Lock your doors the minute you sit down in the driver’s seat.
  • Never drive through an unfamiliar area.
  • Ensure your GPS and/or smart phone are well charged.
  • Print out directions to have as a back up.
  • Park in a well-lit area close to the doors of your destination, and lock your car doors.
  • When parking, remove valuables or cover them so they are not in plain sight.

Continuously be alert of your surroundings as you enter your vehicle, drive and exit. Take note of the cars surrounding you on your trip. If you suspect you are being followed, take a few turns down populated streets. If the vehicle is still following you, head to the nearest police station or fire department—do not go home.

Be Street Smart

If walking alone is unavoidable, employ your inner street smarts and keep the following in mind:

  • Only walk in well-trafficked, familiar areas.
  • Keep a tight grip on personal belongings.
  • Avoid eye contact with strangers.
  • Alert a family member or friend of your whereabouts and when you expect to arrive. If they do not hear from you by then, they should notify the police.
  • Avoid flashing expensive items. Tuck any bracelets, necklaces or other jewelry into your shirt, and turn stone rings toward the palm of your hand.
  • Call someone on your cellphone or pretend like you’re on it. Someone is less likely to approach you if you can easily alert help.
  • Carry pepper spray in an easily accessible place. Some attach right to your keychain.

Safety Tips for Arriving Home

As you approach your home, look around to ensure you have not been followed. Have your keys out and ready before you reach the front door. Lock the door behind you after entering your home and set your alarm.

See here for further methods to stay safe when living alone.

Image Source: Vishwaant Avk via Flickr