You’ve finished your classes for the day. You’re done with work. Now, it’s time to head home. The only problem is the sun has gone down, and now you must make the journey alone in the dark. Whether it’s trekking across campus to your dorm or even just getting to your car, there are several things you can do to keep yourself safe when walking alone at night. 

Phone a friend 

If it’s not possible to walk with a group or friend, calling someone is the next best thing. If nothing else, this will make you feel less alone. If you’re on the phone with someone and you suddenly hang up, they know exactly where you were, what you were doing and how to help you if something happens. Also, talking on the phone makes you appear busy and less like an easy target. This plan is not always foolproof, but it can be a great action to take if feeling uneasy while walking in the dark. 

Walk on well-lit neighborhood streets

When walking alone at night, it’s ideal to stay near well-lit streets. Not only does this help light up your walkway, but these areas are usually more populated. The busier an area, the more people there are to step in if a problem occurs. It’s better to be in an area with more people — even if some of those people seem like they would not help — than to be completely isolated and have no chance of someone hearing your calls for help.

Be extra careful when crossing streets

When it’s dark outside, it is harder for drivers of vehicles to see you.  Due to your lack of visibility, it’s important to be extra careful when crossing streets. Actually, it’s better to just avoid traffic in general. Because the chance a driver will see you is less likely at night, if you see a car in the distance — even if they’re decently far away —  let them pass before you cross. Just because you have the right-of-way and a walk sign doesn’t mean they will see you crossing the street.

Carry self-defense equipment

Another good safety measure is to invest in and carry self-defense devices to help you defend yourself if absolutely necessary. This can be anything from a simple alarm — a small hand-held gadget that will sound a loud noise when you pull the pin or push a button — to more intense electrical tasers and pepper sprays, both of which are legal in Nebraska but not permitted on campus grounds. 

If you don’t want to carry such gadgets but still want to learn how to defend yourself, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a women’s self-defense class. The next class is offered on Sept. 25. More information regarding sign-ups is available online.

Also, UNL’s Police Department has a program called Husker Safe Walk, in which a police officer or campus security guard can escort you across campus. 

Finding which safety method works for you predominantly depends on what makes you feel the safest. Ultimately, none of these methods alone is the solution to on-campus issues, but by being aware of your surroundings and taking precautionary steps, you can help prevent a situation where your safety is compromised.