Going to school at night is a great choice for students who have jobs, kids, or other commitments during the day. But just like any other activity done at night, there are some risks involved. Parking lots and campus footpaths are particularly prime spots for unexpected, unwelcome events. Follow these tips to help you stay calm, confident, and less likely to be victimized.
- Make sure someone knows your schedule: where you are going, your expected travel time, and how long you plan on being there. You might want to check in with that person once you arrive safely back at home after classes.
- Know your walking routes ahead of time. Stick to well-lit, well-traveled thoroughfares and parking lots. Avoid quiet, deserted, and poorly lit areas.
Don’t Go It Alone
- Walk with friends or a group whenever possible. There’s truth to the old adage that there’s safety in numbers.
- Have phone numbers for housemates, friends, and/or family members, and don’t be afraid to use them if you feel threatened.
- Know emergency campus phone numbers and the locations of safety departments in case of emergencies.
- Many campuses offer free personal safety services, such as night shuttle buses, safe walking route maps, and trained escorts. Those services are often available round-the-clock, year-round, and may even extend beyond campus borders.
Keep Electronics and Valuables Put Away
- Avoid talking on your mobile phone or listening to music on your headphones. This will distract you from monitoring your surroundings and prevent you from hearing any potential danger signs.
- Keep valuable items in your purse or backpack. Having tempting possessions in plain view can attract unwanted attention.
Use Personal Safety Devices
- Be sure to keep any personal safety device in an easily accessible place or carry it in your hand. Don’t keep it at the bottom of a bag or backpack, where you can’t reach it. If you feel at risk, it’s better to use it and be mistaken. Personal safety devices only work if you use them.
- Campuses often provide personal safety alarms or whistles. Check with your Student Services to see what’s available to you.
- Consider carrying a pepper spray or mace dispenser. Look for one with a steady stream instead of a spray, or it could blow back in your face.
Act with Confidence
- Walk with your head up, eyes scanning your environment. Assailants target people that appear to be easy victims.
- In parking lots, have your car or house key in hand as you approach your vehicle. Check your car’s back seat and floor before getting in, and keep your car locked.
- If you’re being followed, head towards a public place. Text a friend to meet you or call the police.
- If you feel you’re in immediate danger, shout and run.
- If you see someone else in trouble, yell for help or call the police immediately. Getting directly involved may put you in personal danger, but never ignore someone in trouble.
- Consider taking a class in self-defense. Many campuses offer no-cost trainings to students. If they don’t, Student Services should be able to tell you where to find one that’s free or very low-priced.
At Rideshare Advocate Group, our goal is to help rideshare passengers stay safe. This includes giving tips for them to help themselves stay safe as well as helping to change the rideshare world to keep riders everywhere safe. We are working on bringing a lot of great safety tools to the rideshare rider world, but for now, check out our brand new and updated website for rideshare news and more tips!