If you’ve never been stranded on the side of the road, you should count yourself lucky. Stranded motorists are often in predicaments that can severely jeopardize their safety and security. Whether a person has locked their keys in their car, or lost the key entirely, being stranded puts you at risk. So how do you deal with this state of vulnerability? It’s hard to plan for unforeseen circumstances but being armed with these five safety tips will help you better navigate the problem and stay safe.
1. Assess Your Surroundings
The first step to staying safe while stranded on the roadside is to assess your surroundings. Take the time to adequately analyze the immediate area around you, then take yourself out of harm's way. Pay close attention to the flow of traffic (if any) and the layout of the road or area that you are stranded on. Scenarios in which you might find yourself stranded can arise at any time and at any place, so always keep a close eye on what is around you.
In some cases, motorists jeopardize their own safety because they neglect to monitor the state of things around them. This puts stranded motorists at risk of being hit by another road user or getting injured on treacherous terrain. You should always assess your surroundings before you do anything else. This also gives you an opportunity to assess the state of your vehicle.
2. Make Yourself Visible
Visibility has a direct impact on your level of safety when you are stranded as a motorist. This applies whether you find yourself stranded during the day or at night. Always make it an effort for yourself and your vehicle to be visible. If possible, drivers should turn on their hazard/emergency lights. This will help keep other drivers alert and might even get you some help from a kind bystander.
While stranded in a parking lot visibility is also important, as you may be vulnerable to passersby as well as traffic. If you are stranded in a location with very minimal lighting, it makes it easier for criminals to sneak up on you or for you to be harmed without anyone noticing. Try to move to an area with better lighting. However, if your keys are still left in your car, do not leave your car abandoned. Instead, reach out to AAA, an emergency locksmith or other roadside assistance providers.
3. Utilize Personal Safety Tools
Driver’s should make a habit of carrying at least one personal safety tool in their vehicle at all times. Having a personal safety tool handy is one of the best ways to protect yourself, if you are stranded motorist. Sometimes, you will not be able to leave your vehicle to go get help but you still want to ensure that you are protected while you wait. These safety tools range from active safety tools to passive safety tools.
A common example of a passive safety tool would be the Mace® Brand LED Adjustable Safety Band, which helps keep you visible. An example of an active safety tool would be the Mace® Brand Peppergel Distance Defense Spray. Personally, I believe motorists should take advantage of both active and passive safety tools.
Having these tools on you will make it much easier for you to assess your vehicle safely and also protect yourself from any would-be attacker. Drivers can incorporate these safety tools into their road trip safety kit so that they can always stay safe while on the road.
4. Alert People To Your Location
It always helps stranded motorists to alert others to their location and their plight. Telling someone where you are and that you are stranded by your vehicle, only helps to increase your level of safety. It makes it easier for people to reach you and assist you because they know where you are, and they have also been made aware that you are in need of help. If you have locked your keys in your car, you can get assistance or have a friend bring your spare keys or supplies.
Ideally, drivers should have a shortlist of emergency contacts that they can reach out to in situations like this. This list can consist of family members, neighbors or any other close associates. However, motorists should always call 9-1-1, if they believe their lives are at risk while stranded by their vehicles.
5. Be Wary of Strangers
Stranded motorists often come into contact with strangers and while strangers can sometimes be of great help, they can also put your safety at further risk. Criminals often disguise themselves as regular, helpful individuals, so that they can take advantage of someone's trusting nature.
As a safety precaution for stranded motorists, always ask for identification from anyone that comes up to you offering assistance. This might seem like it does not accomplish much but it throws most criminals off guard and might deter them from taking advantage of you. On the other hand, a friendly passerby won’t mind obliging to your request.
Approaching every situation with safety in mind is the best way to navigate life but in the instance where you are already at a disadvantage, having these safety tips handy will do a great deal of good.
As we begin a new year, we seem to be inundated with health and wellness resolutions and information. Yet, January is also home to National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month. A month to help us increase our personal safety and make it a priority to build safety habits into our daily routines to keep us safer all year long.
If you hear the words self-defense and automatically tune out because you associate it with people training in martial arts, wearing uniforms and shouting “hiyah”, then this article is for you. Self-defense simply refers to the art of self-protection from all kinds of danger. That’s why it is so important for us to discuss personal self-defense habits with people of all ages because it’s never too early to learn how to protect yourself.
As a third-degree black belt in Hapkido (a Korean martial art), I trained for countless hours in the physical realm of self-defense. However, the art in martial arts can also be referred to as the mental and spiritual practice that helps increase our awareness. This in turn helps us to become more strong, safe and confident from the streets to the boardroom. I’ve also learned that most people do not have time to practice martial arts for a long period of time. Therefore, I’ve developed programs for the average person (both male and female) on how to enhance their safety.
Here are a few things that everyone can do to enhance their personal safety this year and beyond without having to learn and practice martial arts for years:
1. Practice powerful body language
Predators are looking for a weak or vulnerable target. The first signal a predator looks for is body language. Your body language will communicate non-verbally with the predator and will either tell the predator that you are aware and alert or distracted, scared and/or vulnerable.
Vulnerability looks like rounded shoulders and slouched posture. Vulnerable could also look distracted, which is most of us as we look at our phones while walking down the street or getting into our cars. Strong body language includes great posture with shoulders back and head up, as well as making direct eye contact with everyone around you. This alone could deter a potential attack.
2. Carry pepper spray for self-protection
When you own and carry a Mace Brand pepper spray or gel, you automatically think about your safety when you touch or see that product. The pepper spray in your hands heightens your awareness when you are out running, commuting, walking, or running errands. It sends a signal to your brain that you bought this or were given this product for a reason; to be safe.
3. Learn how to use your body as a weapon
When I teach physical self-defense, this is one of the first physical lessons. You need to know how your body can act as a weapon, if you were grabbed, attacked or threatened.
Hands, elbows, knees and feet are going to be our most powerful weapons and knowing how to strike with them can save your life in many situations. This is where a self-defense lesson or two will definitely come in handy. Even if you do not want to take martial arts as a practice, many schools will offer one-off or a series of self-defense classes to teach you the basics. I highly recommend putting this on your to-do list for 2018 as soon as possible. Not only will you learn how to defend yourself physically but will also leave feeling a little more confident than when you walked in. It’s a byproduct of self-defense training.
4. Avoidance is your best line of defenseIt goes without saying that not being in a dangerous situation in the first place, is the best place to be. That’s not always an option, especially when it comes to surprise attacks. With that being said, there are some situations where we may have the ability to avoid and that usually happens by listening to our intuition. If you have a gut feeling that tells you to not go somewhere, or not trust someone, then it is definitely worth listening to. You never know when your gut may save your life!
Are you sick of setting resolutions around losing weight or giving up things that make you happy, only to give up on them before February even begins? This year, instead of resolutions, how about trying something new to help form a foundation for you to build the most empowered version of yourself?
As a Mace Brand ambassador, my goal is to help people empower themselves to be strong, safe and confident; not just on the streets but in all aspects of their lives. In alignment with the launch of the Mace Brand Purple Empowerment line, I thought it would be a powerful start to the New Year to share three different ways to set yourself up for a stronger, safer and smarter New Year:
1. Set an intention for the year
An intention is kind of like a theme for your life, work and relationships. You can have one theme throughout all of those different categories or different themes for different categories. An intention can be one word or a phrase that sets up a framework for you to live in.
This word or phrase can be used as a mantra throughout the year to keep you focused on your intention when the going gets rough or you start to get distracted.
For example, my intention for my body and health this year is STRONG. Therefore, my framework for my health and body is to take actions that will keep me feeling strong. I will continue to strength train to keep my body strong, cardio to keep my heart strong, yoga to keep my mind/body connection strong and eat foods that will keep my insides strong. When I get tempted to eat foods that will weaken my body, energy and immune system (like sugar), I will simply repeat my intention to stay focused.
2. Develop a healthy habit checklist
If setting intentions sounds too heady for you, maybe developing a healthy habit checklist will be a better fit. Set anywhere from three to seven healthy habits that you will commit to for the year to help set you up for a successful year. These healthy habits can be for all areas of your life including body, mind, career, fun and family. Or perhaps you want to do one checklist for your entire life. There are a number of ways to create this visually but I like to set up Excel spreadsheets for my clients. Habits along the top and dates down the side. Each box on the spreadsheet is used to check off after you’ve completed that daily habit.
Examples of healthy habits can include:
- Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water.
- Break a sweat.
- Write in journal.
- Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- Give someone a compliment.
- Meditate for 5 minutes.
- Eat 50% of my plate in vegetables.
- Read before bed.
Or any specific healthy habits that you want to incorporate into your year to empower you to be your healthiest self.
3. Set goals and write them down
If you are motivated by reaching goals, then writing your yearly goals will be a great practice for you. Writing them down helps solidify them in your mind and make them more real. What people usually miss is that they should be somewhere visible and accessible so you can review them all year long.
Once you write down your goals for what you want to have accomplished by this time next year, the next step would be to break each of those goals down into smaller goals and write in your calendar what needs to be done by certain dates.
For example, if you want to run a marathon this time next year, then you will likely have a lot of training to do. You can write in your calendar how many miles you will have to run and by when. Start from the marathon and work your way backwards. If the marathon is in December, then by November you will have to do a 22-mile run. In October, you may have to run 18 miles. By August, you’ll have to run 14 miles and so on. Those are just numbers I made up but I hope you get the picture. Big goals are great but remember to chunk them down into smaller goals too.
Lastly, remember to reward yourself when you do reach your goals so you recognize your commitment and hard work!
Cheers to an empowered year and setting ourselves up for success! Happy 2018!