Safety 4 Sistas
IT'S the Yuletide season ladies and the season brings with it the usual excitement of shopping and increased social activity. However, do not get carried away with what's great about the season and ignore the 'not so great' issues, which include the need to be extra alert.
Take the time to read and apply the following safety tips, continued from last week, which may save your life or the life of a loved one.
* Always check your car before entering. Don't check texts etc once you're sitting in your car — lock the doors and drive away immediately.
* High risk areas include stepping out of your car either at home or in isolated areas, and also walking to your car, so always approach your vehicle with the keys ready.
* Keep your windows up and doors locked when driving to avoid picking up unwanted passengers at intersections/stoplights, especially when travelling at night.
* Never leave your car unlocked, even for a few minutes to pop in somewhere. Attackers have been known to lie in wait for such an opportunity.
* Never get into a car if you are being forced to do so. Scream immediately and try to run away and call for help. Forget about looking pretty — open your mouth and scream! It's much more likely that the attacker will drive away than come after you.
* Never pull your car over on a quiet road, even if someone drives alongside your car pointing at the tyres, for example. Continue driving to a well-lit area such as a gas station or a crowded area before exiting your car.
* If you have car trouble and are walking to look for help, always walk against the traffic so that you can see what is coming.
* Always be alert in parking lots, especially in the dark. Look at the cars parked on either side. If you are afraid, don't be too shy to ask someone to escort you to your car. If there are onsite security guards, ask them for assistance.
When travelling on foot:
* Always follow your instincts. If you see or sense any problems while walking, change your route regularly to avoid anyone studying your travel pattern and being able to predict which route you will take home. Try not to act or look like an easy target -- take a good look at those around you, note physical attributes, clothing, etc and be aware of your blind spot.
* Identify buildings at intervals on each route that you often use. These buildings can be used as safe houses in the event someone attacks you. These include business places or houses that you know are occupied. Try to incorporate these safe houses whenever you vary your route. Don't fall prey to complacency and presume that because your area has been safe thus far, it will continue to be so.
* If you think you are being followed/shadowed by a car, don't presume it's just a coincidence. Turn around and run back in the direction from which you came. It will take the driver some time to turn the vehicle and come after you.
Jerome Morgan is a personal security and self defence enthusiast with over 11 years experience in security and intelligence locally and internationally. He is also a certified private investigator, black belt instructor and Krav Maga, who is passionate about helping the most vulnerable, including women, to defend themselves. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Archangel on Facebook.