When faces of the youth are plastered on the 6 o’clock news with the bolded letters “MISSING,” our city propels itself into immediate paranoia – rightfully so. What’s frightening is that these incidents happen to be right around the corner from you, and it’s fair to think, “That could be me.”
Traveling alone late at night, especially after a night out, is a big no-no. But sometimes if no one is heading your way, you may not be left with much of a choice. If you’re looking to feel more at ease during your lonely commute, here are the 10 ways to feel safer.
1. Stay on the phone with a friend or significant other
Your best bet is to be on the phone with a friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend while being alone late at night. It’s comforting and it’s reassuring that someone’s concerned for your safety. It also allows the person on the other end of the line to have a true confirmation of whether or not you’ve made it home in one piece.
2. Text your friends or family members that you're on your way home and again when you arrive home
It’s always good to give your family members or significant other a heads up that you’re on your way back home. You’ll feel safer knowing that someone knows that you’ve left and that your arrival home is expected soon. It’s also a good idea to text the friends you’ve just been out with once you’re home so that there’s a confirmation of your safety.
3. Avoid walking
It really isn’t such a smart idea to roam the streets of the city all by yourself. No matter how adventurous it will make you sound – it’s dangerous. Sure, walking a block or two isn’t outrageous, but when you’re on foot by yourself for over 10 minutes after 2 a.m., do yourself a favor and find transportation.
4. Plan ahead and set a few dollars aside for a cab
It’s as easy as it sounds: put more of your money towards getting safe transportation home and less of it on booze. It’s best to plan ahead of time in terms of transportation, that way you’re not completely stuck when it’s time to leave. Set aside enough money beforehand to ensure you’re safety.
5. Use the STM
If you don’t feel like forking out $20 and more, you can always resort to your trusty opus. If it’s early enough during your night out, head to the nearest metro station or bus shelter. It’s guaranteed that some of the faces lurking around those places late at night aren’t so comforting, but if you filter through the crazies, you’re bound to come across someone reassuring. The STM is one of your safest ways home.
6. Make sure to be in an area that doesn’t look deserted
If you have no choice but to walk and you don’t want to feel truly alone, do so in an area that is still as busy as can be that late or early in the morning. It’s best to position yourself on big boulevards rather than small side streets because no matter what time it may be, at least a few people will be traveling down the same road.
7. Sober up before it’s time to leave
You know you have to go home alone, you shouldn’t be nearly as inebriated as you were two hours before. It’s common courtesy not to let someone extremely drunk go home alone – but then again, who knows what kind of friends you have? Take it upon yourself to stop drinking at least an hour before you have to leave, that way you’ll be in a much better state in terms of decision making while commuting alone.
8. Arrange to travel back with a friend heading in the same direction
It's better to jump in a cab with someone you know than being by yourself. The reason you’re commuting alone in the first place is because none of your friends are headed in the same direction. But it couldn’t hurt to travel with the friend or acquaintance that lives the closest to you, even if it could potentially be out of your way. That way, you’ll be traveling the majority of the way home with a familiar face, and you'll get a feel of your cab driver with someone else in the car allowing you to feel much safer.
9. Plan to leave slightly earlier than you would if you were with friends
Take precaution and don’t decide to leave when it’s 4 a.m. Staying out late is fine, but when you know you’re going home alone, it’s safer to leave at least an hour before you normally would if you were leaving with friends. You’ll feel more at ease at 1 or 2 in the morning rather than 3 or 4 because you’re more likely to be surrounded by normal people (so we’d hope).
10. Be aware of your surroundings
Don’t keep your nose in your phone. Yes, text your friends about your current situation, but don’t be fixated on your cell. Keep your head up so that you can be aware of your surroundings at all times, whether you’re in a cab or you’re walking. You’ll have the best judgment if you know what’s going on around you. It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry.