Across the UK today, thousands of us will be encouraged to leave the car at home or ditch public transport and make our way into work on foot for National Walk to Work Day.
With lighter mornings and a promise of sunnier weather, the timing of this particular event could not be better. For those who choose to get involved, walking to work has many benefits. It’s not only kinder to the planet and good for our health, but also getting out in the fresh air first thing is a great way to start the day and avoid the usual stresses of commuting.
If you’re taking part, it’s important to be mindful of your safety especially those who may be doing a journey for the first time. We’ve rounded up some of our top personal safety tips to help you on your way.
You may not be familiar with the route if this differs from the way you’d drive. So check before you head out and if you do need to look at a map, make sure you stop somewhere safe, ideally with lots of people around.
Let your colleagues know that you’ll be walking in and when you should arrive. If possible exchange mobile numbers so you can let them know if there is an issue.
Keep your head up and walk at a steady pace, don’t be afraid to make eye contact with passers-by – this makes you less of a target to potential attackers.
This obviously goes without saying for comfort but also safety. Wear sensible shoes that will allow for you to make a quick getaway, running in heels is a no-no as anyone who’s ever tried will testify! Instead opt for flats or trainers and leave your shoes in the office.
Maybe something that applies more in the winter, but if you’re walking to work when it’s dark, make sure you can be seen when crossing roads.
Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts through woods, alleyways, fields or parkland, it’s not worth the risk – adding a few extra minutes onto your journey won’t hurt you.
Stand up straight, look ahead and pay attention to what is going on around you. Don’t wear earphones or have your eyes glued to your phone, as you’ll be less likely to notice someone creeping up on you.
Always walk facing traffic so you can see cars coming towards you, that way you’ll be aware if there’s an accident ahead and vehicles can’t pull up behind you.
You need your hands free so you can react, being weighed down makes you an easier target for those looking to cause harm.
Don’t walk around with expensive jewellery or gadgets out on display, Smartphone theft in particular is on the rise so keep yours safely tucked away to avoid losing it.
Alarms that are linked up to a monitoring centre are recommended over traditional screech alarms, as they offer more support and the ability to get help discreetly if you find yourself in a difficult situation. If you’ve been issued a lone worker alarm by your employer remember to take it with you on your journey.
If you see someone ahead who looks suspicious then cross the road, or change your path. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
We hope you’ve found these tips useful, for further advice on staying safe when walking to work you may want to read these articles on what to do if you are being followed and walking to and from work in the dark.