Safety in the Dark

Short days and long work schedules may mean you lace up your walking shoes before the sun stretches its first rays or long after they’re retracted. Don’t forget to patrol your walk with these safety cues:

Turn up your auditory senses. Save the headphones for your day treks, and avoid using your cell phone — the distraction amid darkness could be risky. But keep it with you for quick access to 911 for an emergency.

Keep to the curb. Stay in well-lit, open areas, and hug the sidewalk’s edge (someone could be hiding behind shrubs or structures). If a vehicle approaches, step back to answer any questions from a distance.

Illuminate yourself. Choose light-colored clothing and reflective gear to enhance your visibility to traffic. Reflective vests aren’t expensive and even come in doggy size if you take your pup. Wear a cap or headband with reflective strips and make sure your shoes glow, too.

Be oppositional. Always walk against oncoming traffic. Remain confident in your stature, scanning your environment at all times. If you encounter a suspicious subject, make eye contact… then head to the closest public area. Reverse directions to force anybody shadowing you to do the same — the abrupt turn-around often encourages followers to ditch your trail.

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