By: Coua Thao – S&FRS

We all walk back to our car in the dark at some time or the other. It could either be in an empty parking lot, airport parking after a late flight, garage or even an isolated street. In such moments, you must know how to keep yourself safe.  First and foremost, if you feel that you are in an emergency situation, CALL 911.  Make sure that someone else is aware of your travel plans or share your location with a friend or family member if you are in an unfamiliar place.  Remember, that if you must flee, run to a populated area, and be ready to leave heavy objects and packages behind.  Be aware that talking on your phone or using headphones in dark and dimly light locations while walking to your car, reduce awareness of your surroundings. 

Here are a few practical tips that will keep you safer while walking back towards your car alone at night:

1. Preplan the Walk to Your Car

If you’re in an unfamiliar or isolated place, like a hospital parking lot, or a far-flung part of town, you must know the way back to your car. Have your keys ready.

2. Don’t Forget Where You Have Parked

Never forget the spot where you’ve parked the car. You can make a note of the numbers on parking lot pillars where you have parked the car or even save the location on your phone. Remember the level, in case you have parked in a multi-leveled carpark.

3. Be Cautious

Carefully scan the surrounding area before walking back to your car. Always follow your instincts and if something doesn’t feel right, avoid heading to the car alone.  Walk in the center of the parking lot; it prevents surprise attacks from anyone that might be hiding behind a pillar or another vehicle.

4. Avoid Distractions and Be Alert At all Times

You should always stay alert and avoid distractions when you’re walking alone towards your car at night.  Remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid wearing headphones or earphones as it prevents you from paying attention to the surrounding area.

5. Lock Your Door

Check your back seat before getting into your car to assure no one is there. As soon as you get in your car, lock your door. Make it a habit even if it’s daylight.

For more safety tips, visit http://modelmugging.org/vehicle-safety/walking-to-your-vehicle/