Seven Tips for Walking Alone
Walking can be a great way to get around, whether you live in a big city or you’re attending classes on a college campus. It can be a great form of exercise, and it can save you a lot of money on gas when you’re running errands.
Unfortunately, walking can be dangerous too. That’s especially the case if you’re walking alone. Walking with a buddy is a great option, but what do you do if you don’t have anyone to walk with?
Driving or catching a ride is one option, but you can walk alone safely when you follow the tips on this list:
- Know what to do in a hit and run accident
- Set up your phone
- Avoid walking at night
- Stick to busy areas
- Eliminate distractions
- Tell someone else you’re walking alone
- Carry a deterrent
Know What to Do in a Hit and Run Accident
If you’re out walking, chances are, you will be crossing at least one street. That means it’s always a possibility that you could get hit by a car, and that car could take off.
Hopefully it never happens to you, but if you are hit by a car and the person behind the wheel drives away, there are some things you should do:
- Go to the doctor or the ER
- Contact the police
- Write down details
- Look for witnesses
- Notify your insurance company
- Contact an attorney
It’s also a good idea to know what you can do to avoid getting hit by a car in the first place while you’re walking. Always cross at crosswalks, wear bright, reflective clothing, and always look both ways, even if it’s your turn to cross the street.
Set Up Your Phone
You should always have your cell phone on you when you’re out walking alone. It can make sure you are able to get a hold of someone in case of an emergency, but how easy will it be to place that call?
If you’re being mugged, if you have been hit by a car, or you think you’re being followed, will you be able to unlock your phone’s screen, push the call button, and search for the right number?
Instead of relying on your ability to do all that work when you’re panicked, scared, or injured, add emergency info to your phone’s lock screen.
You can add personal contacts, like a family member or a friend to call in an emergency with the click of one button, but you should also include at least one professional emergency contact. That might be the local police station or campus safety. That way you can get a hold of someone who can help you by clicking a single button.
Avoid Walking at Night
It’s true that crimes take place pretty evenly throughout the day and night, but the type of crimes change when the sun goes down. In places like Chicago, the most violent crimes take place at night. For example, in the Windy City, the bulk of violent crimes happens around 9:00 PM. High profile muggings happen from 2:00 to 5:00 AM, while most murders happen between midnight and 4:00 AM.
If it’s at all possible, you should avoid walking around at night by yourself. Find a friend who will walk with you or adjust your schedule so you can avoid being out when the sun goes down.
Stick to Busy Areas
Most women who walk around at night have learned to stick to busy, well-lit areas. That’s because criminals are a lot less likely to strike if they can be seen easily, and if there are other people around.
Whether male or female, avoid taking shortcuts through back alleys and poorly lit streets. Even if it takes you longer, it’s much better to choose a popular, well-lit route.
Whether you’re walking around during the day or at night, on a college campus or as a tourist in a bustling foreign city, it’s important for you to eliminate distractions while you’re walking.
Your cell phone is the biggest culprit. Whether you’re talking, texting, or browsing social media, if you’re looking down at your phone instead of ahead of you, you’re more likely to get hit by a car, run into a pole, or trip over a crack in the sidewalk.
It can also keep criminals at bay. Many thieves strike because their target is distracted. If you’re walking with your head held high, surveying your surroundings, you’re a lot less likely to be targeted.
Tell Someone Else You’re Walking Alone
Would anyone else know to look for you if something happened? You should always tell someone that you’re out walking alone.
That doesn’t mean you should talk to them while you’re walking! Instead, tell a friend that every Tuesday night after class you’re going to check in with them when you make it home, or make sure a family member you live with knows to expect you at the same time every night. That way, if you don’t show up at home or they don’t hear from you, they know to start looking.
Carry a Personal Safety Device
Whether you follow the other tips on this list or not, it’s always a good idea to carry a personal safety device. Pepper spray was a popular option from the past, but you have many more personal safety options at your disposal today. Just a few ideas include:
- Keychain alarm
- Self-defense knuckles
- Bracelet that triggers a fake phone call
- Jewelry with buttons that contact the authorities
You can also find apps and programs for your cell phone and wearable devices, like a smart watch. From panic buttons to tracking apps that your friends and family can access, there are many personal safety features that you can download onto your device.
There’s nothing wrong with walking alone, as long as you realize that it can be dangerous. No matter what your age, your gender, or where you’re walking, you should follow these tips to make sure you return home every day safe and sound.