Taking a relaxing walk, walking to the store, or even simply walking from your job to the parking lot can be dangerous. Here are some tips to help you avoid dangerous situations while walking. We're not suggesting that you walk through life being paranoid. We simply want you to be aware so you can avoid dangerous situations.
The most important defensive tool is "awareness." Knowing what's going on around you can keep you from becoming a victim. Jeff Cooper, author of Principles of Personal Defense , developed a color code that defines different levels of awareness. He classified the levels into four colors: white, yellow, orange and red. (For a link to a site that explains more about the color code, see below).
White is a completely relaxed state. This level should only be used when you are safe at home with the doors locked.
Yellow is a state of relaxed alertness. You are alert and aware of your surroundings. Your head is up and you are looking around and being observant. You are not expecting to be attacked, but you are aware that it could happen.
When you leave your home, be sure to mentally "flip the switch" from white to yellow. Most attackers are looking for someone who appears to be timid, unsure and unaware. Psychiatrists have found that the right body language (looking alert and walking with confidence) will make attackers think twice about approaching you. Get into the habit of walking confidently. Keep your head up. Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
Walk with a friend or coworker. Just remember to remain alert. It's easy to get talked up in conversation and forget to be aware of your surroundings.
Whenever possible, stick to populated routes with good lighting. Take a route that you are familiar with. Become familiar with stores, service stations and other safe places along the route.
If you get lost, do not stop on the sidewalk to look at a map or your phone. Go into a building like a store or restaurant to get your bearings. You'll be less vulnerable to thugs that way.
Do not walk close to parked vehicles that have people sitting in them, especially if the engine is running. Cross the road if necessary and remain aware of them. Likewise, if you spot a suspicious person or group of people, do not walk through them or next to them. Consider crossing the street.
Do NOT walk alone at night when you are upset or have been drinking. Your awareness level will be low and you will be a walking target.
Do not wear anything on your head that restricts your peripheral vision (like a hood, for example).
Stay off your phone. When you are on the phone, you are devoting your attention to the conversation instead of your environment. You can not possibly have 100% awareness if you're carrying on a conversation. Without it's an emergency, wait until you are somewhere stationary and safe before texting or phoning someone.
Face oncoming traffic. You'll be able to see what's coming toward you and vehicles will not be able to approach you undetected.
Do not walk close to bushes or areas with any kind of tall overgrowth. On the sidewalk, walk near the curb and away from doorways. Be especially cautiously when approaching corners. Give a wide berth in case someone is hiding behind the corner of the building.
Walking your dog? While a dog may be a deterrent for thugs, do not depend on the dog alone for protection. Not all thugs care if a dog is involved. You should still be aware of your surroundings and use your awareness skills to avoid danger.
Consider carrying a defensive tool such as pepper spray, a kubotan or a firearm. Make sure you learn how to use the tool (s) you carry. And remember, a personal defense weapon is useless if it is at the bottom of your purse or pocket.
If approached by strangers, be suspicious of their motives. If a driver stops to ask you directions do not get close to their vehicle. You could be dropped inside. If a vehicle pulls up suddenly along you, and you do not know the passengers, quickly walk away. Get to safety as soon as you can.
Be aware of strangers entering your personal space. If someone requests for the time or directions or tries to initiate a conversation, you do not have to respond. If you do, keep it brief and move on.
If you become suspicious, or feel uncomfortable, make eye contact and tell them to stay away. Be firm. Move away from them and seek help from Police, Security or someone you trust. Could it be embarrassing if it turns out that you misunderstood the situation? Sure. But embarrassment is infinitely easier to recover than than an assault!
Never accept help from a stranger offering to "walk you home safely." You have no idea what their intentions are.
When it comes to strangers, trust your instincts. Heed those inner alarms. Listen to the voice in your head when it says that the situation is dangerous. Say No! Make a scene! Be offensive! It could save your life.
Think you're being followed?
Do you keep seeing the same person during your walk? Perhaps he is following you and is looking for an opportunity to make his move. If you think you're being followed, head for a crowded place. Call the police. If you do not have a cell phone, go into a store and ask them to call for you.
If you're in a residential neighborhood, try to find a house with an open front yard and not a lot of shrubs or trees blocking the view from the street. Call the police. If you do not have a cell phone, knock on the door and ask for help. Tell them someone is following you and ask them to call the police. Again, trust your instincts, heed those inner alarms, and take action!
Not paying attention and not having hands free are two tracks that thugs look for in victims. Being distracted and unaware can make you easy prey. Thugs like to use the advantage of surprise and most of them are adept at choosing targets who appear to be unaware of what is going on around them. Be aware of your surroundings. Appear confident. These behaviors can help you avoid becoming a victim.
To find out more about the color code, follow this link .