As this Sunday marks the end of Daylight Saving Time, the clocks will go back, nights will start drawing in faster and people may increasingly find themselves in vulnerable situations during the earlier evenings. Here are the top twelve tips from Skyguard to make sure that you stay safe during the dark months ahead.
1. Plan Ahead
Whenever you’re travelling to and from work, school or out for an evening of fun, it’s always best to be organised and prepared. Before you go out, look at the necessary bus and train timetables, book your taxi (from a licensed company) well in advance and know how long it will take you to get to and from home.
2. Carry a Mobile with You
You’ll feel safer knowing that friends, family or even the emergency services are only a phone call away. Make sure that your mobile is charged and still has a good amount of credit remaining on it. It’s a good idea to keep taxi companies’ and a close friend or relative’s number on speed dial just in case!
3. Be Confident
Even if you don’t feel 100% sure, always try to look like you know where you’re going and what you’re doing. Assailants are more likely to attack someone who appears lost and vulnerable, so if you’re worried, take a moment to compose yourself, get your bearings and then coolly and confidently continue on.
4. Don’t Travel Alone
There is safety in numbers everywhere you go. But if you have to travel by yourself, especially when walking, often a ‘buddy system’ is best. This is when you plan to text or call a friend or family member at regular intervals just to let them know you’re safe.
5. Stay in Well-Lit Areas
Try to stick to busy and well-populated areas as these are safer than wandering the streets alone. Busy streets, main roads and footpaths are better illuminated than dark parks, alleyways and underpasses so are far less dangerous. If waiting for a lift or for a bus or train to come, always try to do so under a street lamp or by a row of bright shops.
6. Be Visible
It’s unrealistic to ask people to wear hi-visibility clothing when out at night, unless cycling or riding horses. For those out walking at night, when there is no pavement you should walk on the side of the road that opposes the direction of traffic so that you can see cars. Always cross the street where you are easily visible, and you may want to carry a torch just in case! It is a good idea to drive with headlights that are clean and in good working order so that other cars or pedestrians can see you.
7. Be Alert
When you go out you should keep distractions to a minimum in order to be fully aware of your surroundings. For example, wearing a coat with your hood up obstructs your peripheral vision, making you unable to know what’s going on in the area. Your hearing is also a good safety tool, so avoid listening to music through headphones as you walk. Never use your phone while driving and if you need to send a text or make a phone call while walking, make sure that you’re out of the way of possible traffic first. Drivers should always be checking for possible dangers in the road as it becomes more difficult to see at night.
8. Keep Your House Brightly Lit
It’s always nicer to arrive home to a well-lit house than to one that is dark and gloomy. By leaving the porch or hallway lights on before you go out or setting them to a timer, you can avoid a fumble in the dark for your keys by the door when you arrive home. Lights in a house are also a key deterrent for possible burglaries that could occur while you’re gone.
9. Consider Carrying A Personal Safety Alarm
If you do get into a dangerous situation at night when there’s no one around to help, you may not be able reach your mobile phone and a personal safety alarm could save your life. Especially if you may be travelling in some dubious areas, a personal alarm could protect you from the unthinkable, should a sticky situation arise.
10. Stick to What You Know
Late at night is not the ideal time to try a new route home or ring an unreliable taxi service. Use directions that you know will be the safest and easiest to get you where you want to go. If you aren’t sure, ask a friend before making any moves – you may not arrive perfectly on time, but it’s better to be late than never!
11. Keep Spare Cash in More Than One Place
If you happen to lose your wallet and it’s too dark to see it or too late to go out searching for it then a small supply of emergency cash is always helpful. This could be kept in a sock or in an inside pocket of your coat, just in case you need money for a taxi, public transport or payphone in the off chance that you don’t have your wallet.
12. Use Common Sense
In the end, you know what’s best for you in every situation. It’s a good idea to take these precautions to keep you safe, but your best tool is your common sense. Use it wisely this autumn to stay safe until the summer sun shines again!
To find out more about Skyguard’s personal safety alarms, click here.
Author: Faith Bryer-Ash