Mind & Spirit

9 ways to stay safe when walking alone

By: Carlye Malchuk

Author: Canadian Living

Mind & Spirit

9 ways to stay safe when walking alone

By: Carlye Malchuk

In life, there are times when one should just take a risk and be daring...but walking alone is not one of those times. Women who walk alone -- especially at night -- are at risk of harassment, or even assault. Yet no matter how you try to avoid it, it's almost inevitable you'll have to walk by yourself at some point -- to your car, front door, or perhaps the corner store. Make sure you follow these tips to stay safer.

1. Keep your keys ready
Even if it's a quick jaunt from your front door to your car, it's a good idea to keep your keys ready at all times. Hold on to them inside your pocket. Then, bring them out holding the proper key in position as you approach your car or front door. This will eliminate fumbling around in your purse for them outside, which will distract you from your surroundings.

2. Walk with confidence
Walk with confidence and purpose when you're out solo. Keep your head up and don't be afraid to make eye contact with those you pass. Walk at a steady pace and walk facing traffic to keep yourself visible. If you get lost, don't wander aimlessly. Keep your pace steady and head for the nearest store or restaurant to ask for directions.

3. Trust your gut
When out alone at night, your instincts are your best friend. If you are worried someone is following you, turn around. Let the person know you're aware of their presence. Don't head straight for your car or home, but go to a nearby store or restaurant, somewhere public and safe.

4. Carry a noisy friend
Keep some kind of noisemaker on your keychain or pinned to your jacket. A personal alarm or whistle can be used to let those around you know when something is wrong.

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5. Know what to do in the worst-case scenario
A woman's best defence against an attack is awareness and action. If you are faced with an uncomfortable or dangerous situation and you can escape, do so immediately. Only you can determine what you can or will do when faced with an attacker. Self-defence moves and tips can be found from various web sources, or through community self-defence classes.

6. Avoid struggling with lots of bags
Struggling with five different bags at night as you make your way into the house can be a fact of life, but you should avoid it whenever possible. Multiple bags can prevent your ability to react quickly should a dangerous situation arise.

7. Avoid hiding spots
Parked cars, dark alleys and unlit corners of parking garages are all places that you should avoid when you're out alone. Keep yourself in visible places on the sidewalk or street as much as possible.

8. Keep walkways clear
In the winter, it's important to make sure any pathway from your car to your door is clear of ice and snow. Shovel the areas regularly and keep a container of sand, nonclumping cat litter or ice melt handy to control any icy situations. Keeping an extra container in your trunk is a good idea for any ice you encounter away from home.

9. Choose your footwear wisely
Those leather pumps may look fantastic, but they won't provide the secure footing you need, especially in the winter when ice and snow are a factor. Choose footwear that is comfortable, such as runners. If necessary, wear one pair of shoes to the office and bring your indoor footwear in a bag.

Source: Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Community Services website

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Mind & Spirit

9 ways to stay safe when walking alone

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