For those students just entering, or those who are currently in college, safety is something that can be pushed into the back of your mind once you become more comfortable in certain situations. Getting picked up by an Uber, walking to your car from your apartment or dorm, or even being at a friends house for a party can be a safe situation that can potentially be turned hazardous. Here are just a few helpful tips and ways to keep yourself safe in your everyday environments.
1. Be Like An Owl and Work That Neck Swivel
All jokes aside, keeping an eye up and away from your phone and on your environment can be a huge safety benefit when walking alone at night or even in a seemingly empty area. As you are walking, keep your eyes forward, but also occasionally check around to your sides and peek over your shoulder to check your back. Also, don't look down at your phone, as this can make you an easy and distracted target for someone.
2. Keys are the Defensive Key
If you are someone who feels confident using pepper spray or having pepper spray on your keychain, DO IT. Having this so close and constantly available can be a quick and easy defense mechanism if you use it properly. This means that as you are walking alone at night, don't leave your keys in your bag or backpack, keep them handy. Have the pepper spray ready to use or have your keys wrapped in between your fingers to use as a weapon in case of emergency. Take advantage of what you have.
3. Bottles, Bags, Bet
Following along with the theme of taking advantage of what you have available to you, don't be afraid to use your bag or water bottle as a weapon in case of emergency. Hold your backpack in a way that will easily allow you to swing it around your shoulder in case of emergency, and hold your water bottle the same. These things may not seem like much in theory, but something is better than nothing.
4. Never Offer, Always Ask
On campuses around the world more and more students are getting hurt, injured, or even killed due to voluntarily getting into fake or dangerous Uber's alone. One thing many students do when approaching an Uber is ask, "Are you here for 'insert name here'?" DO NOT DO THIS. When approaching the Uber, ask the driver, "Who are you here for?" Also, don't be afraid to take a moment and double check the license plate and car type. Also, if you can avoid taking an Uber Alone, do. However, if you have to, keep your camera on record and videotape your ride, and sit in the back seat. Better to be safe over sorry.
5. Lock It Up
Now this one may seem simple or overstated, but that would be because it makes sense. When entering your car, apartment, or any place that has a door you can lock, LOCK IT. As soon as you get in, lock it up, then set your GPS or adjust your music. Also, for your car, place your stuff in the passenger door, then walk around to the opposite side of your car to get in. The less you have in your hands when getting into the driver's seat the better.