If your schedule leaves you walking at dusk or after dark, it’s essential to learn to do so safely.
As the winter evenings draw in, many of us find ourselves in a similar position with the need to get from A to B in the dark – whether that’s walking to and from work, jogging, or simply because your canine friend needs his daily exercise. As the light disappears, the chances of finding yourself in a dangerous scenario increases.
We’ve put together this blog to help you stay safe while outdoors this winter.
Reflective clothing is essential when you’re walking in the dark. Passing motorists may not identify you as human if there’s nothing to distinguish you from an animal at the side of the road.
Walking clothing should have reflective patches on the front, back and down the sides. Many coats, backpacks and shoes already have reflective sections for precisely this purpose.
Light The Way
Even when you’re travelling through areas with streetlamps, you may still have to walk through some dark patches. Then a modern, good quality, powerful, lightweight and highly-portable torch is ideal to remain safe, as this blog explains.
If you face a considerable walk home or you’re out jogging or walking your dog, then a head torch is perfect, since it eases the burden on your hands and wrist; completely freeing them up for holding a lead or concentrating on your exercise.
Keep Your Wits About You
At night, it’s critically important that you’re aware of what’s happening around you. Avoid using earphones and ensure that your clothing or headwear isn’t obstructing your vision. Knowing what’s happening around you ensures that you can react more quickly if something does occur – especially crucial since motorists are going to have a harder time seeing you.
Refrain from using your mobile phone. While they are a suitable light source, your vision won’t be as sharp and as attuned to the darkness if you’ve got your head down texting, which could make you a target for a mugging.
Confidence Is Key
Most street crimes are opportunistic, which means that those who appear nervous or edgy are prime targets. Walk with confidence; keep your head up, taking large strides.
If you’re walking home from work, then your journey will be the same every day. But if you decide to go out jogging or walk the dog, then plan ahead. Stick to a route you’re familiar with that avoids dark alleys, fields and car parks – even if it means deviating from your usual summer route.
Getting lost is a sure fire way to put you on edge, and as we’ve mentioned this nervous manner could make you appear as though you’re an easy target.
Shift Your Routine Where Possible
If you just aren’t comfortable walking in the dark, consider mixing up your routine. If your journey home from work is potentially dangerous, consider using public transport.
Use your lunch breaks to take a walk in daylight hours (short bursts of exercise have many associated health benefits) or even join a gym for the winter period. Also consider, if you live quite a short distance from your workplace, coming home to walk the dog at lunch or get up a little earlier to enjoy a dog-walk in the crisp morning air.
The fundamental rule to keeping safe while travelling in the dark is to trust your instincts. If you feel like something isn’t right, then it probably isn’t. If you feel anxious about a situation or you have an accident, then it’s important to call the appropriate authorities when possible.