Posted in Blog on June 27, 2019
Night walks feel great. Walking once it gets dark because of short winter days, or to beat the heat of summer require strategies to be sure to stay safe. Short walks to the car, or long walks for exercise, all need the same precautions.
Differences between walking after dark and walking in daylight means changing habits to stay safe.
Reflective stripes allow cars to recognize night walkers. Small reflective patches, especially on black, make it harder to see people walking on the side of the road. Night walking clothes need reflective stripes on both the front and back, as well as down each side. Backpacks and shoes with reflective patches make excellent additions, while a reflective vest still remains the ultimate choice.
Even areas with streetlights have some dark spots. Lightweight LED flashlights come in handy. Some night walkers prefer a hands-free headlamp to eliminate the stress on their wrists. LED lamps provide light for much longer before the battery needs replacing. Many models allow an adjustment to the angle of the beam to focus it to the best advantage.
Hats with built in LED lights in the brim, or units that clip onto the bill work well, but the angle of light depends on how the wearer tilts their head.
Fear of strangers keeps many potential night walkers indoors until dawn. Strangers who attack at night just look for an easy target.
Trust those instincts. If worried someone follows them, night walkers should simply turn around. Letting the other person see their presence is known reduces risks. General advice says go somewhere public and safe.
By walking with a friend or dog nightwalkers reduce the risk of attack. Carrying a big walking stick helps, too. Confidence projected while walking makes an attacker think twice. Distractions like wearing earphones or gazing at a phone increase risk. When a suspicious person appears, crossing the street or otherwise changing paths to avoid them works.
Keeping some keys handy at all times sounds like an old cliché. Fumbling around for them outside the door or at the car distracts from the surroundings. Holding them inside a pocket, then bringing them out with the right key ready and in position minimizes distractions.
A handy flashlight or GPS on a phone help some, but the phone also provides big distractions. Night vision diminishes looking at a lighted screen, making the shift to the path ahead more difficult. Vehicles cannot see nighttime walkers very well, so anyone out at night needs to pay more attention to the vehicles.
Night walks become a full night of entertainment by entering a night walking event. Local walking clubs frequently host special event walks such as Christmas Light walks, or Halloween decoration walks.
Women walking alone –particularly in the nighttime – risk harassment, or assault. Yet, night walks happen. These tips help everyone to stay safer.