It?s that time of year, summer has been and gone, and winter is fast approaching. Students are thinking about Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas, and the dark nights are starting to draw in.
Undeniably it?s important to stay safe and be cautious at all times of the year, but it?s particularly true this time of year as the mornings stay darker for longer and the afternoons and evenings become darker much sooner. So, below are a few top tips on staying safe.
1. Stick together
Whether you?re leaving university late, going to a friend?s house or are heading home after a night out, avoid walking by yourself. Try to walk with others that you know; safety in numbers is key when it comes to walking in the dark.
2. Know your route
If you have to walk in the dark, especially if you?re on your own, be sure to know where you?re going. Stick to well used main roads and pedestrian areas, and ones that are well lit. And even if you know a short cut, don?t stray from the beaten path and avoid cutting through remote alleyways, parks, wasteland and canal towpaths.
3. Plan ahead
If you?re out for the night and know you need to get home at the end of the night, then be sure to plan ahead. Arrange with a friend or family member to pick you up or book a taxi. If you?re planning on getting a taxi, make sure you keep money aside to pay the fare and be sure to use a licensed taxi firm; never get in an unmarked taxi.
4. Stay in touch
Make sure someone knows where you?re going and what time they can expect you back. If you have to walk, or if you?re getting in a taxi, let someone know when you?re setting off, and then get back in touch with them when you?ve arrived at your destination. That way, they should know if something is wrong if you fail to contact them as expected. And remember, when going out for the night to have a fully charged phone.
5. Be alert
If you do have to walk alone in the dark, avoid things such as listening to music or talking on the phone for too long. It?s important to be fully alert and aware of your surroundings, without any distractions. It?s also a good idea to keep any valuables such as phones, headphones, money, keys etc hidden, as they will draw attention to you.
If you’re new to a city or town and aren’t sure of the safest routes back to your accommodation, or you need the number of a local taxi firm, speak to your Host team and they’ll be happy to help.