Whether it is after a night out with friends or coming home from work, many residences in Cardiff will find themselves walking alone at night. For some living in Cardiff, it is a regular occurrence – for others, it is a far less common thing. Either way, walking at night can be a daunting and slightly scary experience – especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.
To keep yourself safe and to make your night-time journeys a bit more bearable, here are some tips for staying safe while walking at night in Cardiff.
Keep your keys ready
If you’re walking home or to your car, hold your keys in your pocket. Select the one you need and keep it in the proper position so that when you get to your destination you don’t have to fumble for keys and get distracted.
Wear or carry appropriate shoes
A good set of heels can finish the perfect outfit, but they aren’t the most practical to walk in. If you are planning on walking home at some point during your night out and your journey home, try to wear shoes you’re comfortable walking in. If trainers aren’t a realistic option (they don’t fit in your handbag) stash a pair of lightweight pumps, before you go out.
Stick to well-lit areas
During the day it is easy to take shortcuts through side paths, lanes and parks to get to your destination quicker. But these areas can change during the night and can become perfect places for someone to hide in the dark and attack. It may take longer than normal to get to your destination, but it is important to stick to well-lit areas and densely populated areas such as housing estates. Try to avoid walking through lanes, side paths, parks and open fields. If you are forced to walk on the road – face traffic coming towards you, meaning both yourself and vehicles will see each other in the night.
Fake it until you get home.
Criminals will often target people who don’t look confident while walking home. If you are someone who feels nervous while walking, try to make yourself look confident, walk tall, take speedy strides and keep your eyes forward (don’t be afraid to make eye contact with those you pass). If you get lost or begin to start to feel panicked don’t change your gait, just head to a nearby store, restaurant or pub so that you can gather your bearings.
A lot of us like to walk while listening to music to help calm our nerves (especially during the night) but wearing headphones affects your ability to detect sounds around you. To remain alert, keep your headphones out. This will help you avoid traffic and notice and respond to any unusual sounds.
Phone a friend
Call a friend or family member. If it is early in the night a pleasant chat with a loved one will calm your nerves and let people know where you are. Even if it is very late. If you are genuinely concerned, someone will be happy to take your call. Stay on the phone until you reach your destination and talk them through what is happening.
Worried? Head to a safe place
Even at night, you can use certain places to seek refuge. For example, many bars and pubs will have security officers positioned outside. If you’re worried and such a venue is nearby, walk toward it – the presence of trained security guards and member of the public will deter criminals from targeting you. Other safe places include corner shops and police stations. If you strongly believe that ones if following you, call the police.
A few other tips:
· Mobile phones can double up as a torch
· You can carry a whistle around your wrist or hand in case you need to raise an alarm.
· Regardless of the cost, if you are tired, lost, drunk or distracted take a taxi home.
· Don’t text or play games on your phone while you walk.
· Leave valuables – such as Laptops or tablets – at home.