Spring has well and truly sprung, it’s daylight when the alarm goes off, and the sun has finally got his hat on.
With summer on the horizon, attentions are already turning to chilled out afternoons at beer gardens and BBQs with friends. And with the arrival of warmer, lighter evenings, it’s more likely the car will be left at home in favour of a stroll in the sunshine.
We would always recommend that if you do walk, you should do so in a pair or group. But if you find yourself walking alone, here are some tips to stay safe:
1: Wear appropriate footwear
High heels or wedges may look good on the dance floor or to but they’re impractical for walking. If you think there’s a chance you’ll end up walking home at the end of an evening, try to wear shoes that are comfortable for the trek. And if trainers just aren’t a realistic pairing for the summer dress, pack a pair of sandals or lightweight pumps in your bag to swap into for the walk.
2: Stick to well-lit, busy routes
Always stick to routes that are busy and well lit, and try to stay in areas densely populated with houses. The shortcut across fields, through parks or down dark alleys may knock minutes off your journey, but it is not worth the risk.
3: Phone a friend (But don’t text)
Call a friend or relative to chat whilst you’re on your journey to let them know where you are. A chat can also calm you down if you’re feeling nervous at all. Stay on the line chatting until you reach your destination, whilst keeping focused on the direction you are taking. Although a chat can provide a welcome comfort for a walk alone, refrain from texting or playing games on your phone that will require you to look down and distract you from your surroundings.
4: Keep your house keys to hand
Hold on to the key you need inside your pocket. When you get to your destination, you’ll be able to open the front door to your home straight away without fumbling through your bag or getting distracted.
5. Carry a panic alarm/whistle
If you think there’s a chance you could find yourself walking a route alone, at any time of day, carry a panic alarm or whistle in your pocket. Make sure it’s always within easy reach to allow you to attract attention easily in the case of an injury or to act as a deterrent if you feel threatened in any way.
4: Appear confident
Those who appear confident are less likely to be targeted. Even if you feel nervous, maintain the appearance of confidence by taking steady strides and keeping your eyes up and looking ahead. Always walk facing traffic to keep yourself visible and don’t be afraid to make eye contact with people you pass.
7: Use your phone as a flashlight
If the light drops on your walk home, make use of your phone’s in-built flashlight to help guide the way.
8: Never wear headphones
Listening to your favourite songs may seem like a great accompaniment to a solo walk home, but wearing headphones greatly impacts on your ability to stay alert to your surroundings, such as detecting and responding to traffic noises or people approaching.
9. Plan your route
Planning the direction in advance will allow you to project confidence as you walk and lessen the chance of finding yourself in a position where you are unsure of your surroundings. If for any reason you do get lost, do not wander aimlessly. Find the nearest shop, petrol station or restaurant to ask for directions.
10. Avoid carrying multiple bags
If there’s a chance you will find yourself walking alone, try to carry all possessions in one bag. Having multiple bags will restrict your ability to respond to a situation quickly if one arises.