Whether you drive, take public transport or cycle to work, it’s easy to get careless when you have to commute every day for months and years.
You begin to speed up more than you should or doze off with your backpack easily accessible by anyone. You get used to the daily humdrum of going back and forth between work and home.
Until the worst happens. You get into an accident or a pickpocket gets away with your valuables or something worse.
Staying safe during your commute is all about keeping a sharp eye all around you and taking preventive measures.
Here are some essential safety tips for commuters.
1. Stay Sharp
Always be aware of your surroundings. This applies whether you are driving your own car, taking a train or traveling by bus.
If you are driving, keep an eye out on the road ahead. Watch out for any construction zones and diversions. Don’t get complacent and start driving too fast. Don’t use the phone or do other activities while driving.
If you are using public transport, it’s an easy opportunity for pickpockets and thieves to steal from you. Know who you are sitting next to in case you need to provide descriptions later on to the police. Also keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.
Try not to doze off and if you do, make sure your handbag or backpack are properly secured.
2. Don’t Travel at Night
Night travel is inherently more dangerous than travelling during the day. If you can help it, avoid travelling when it’s dark regardless of your means of transport.
Not only is it likely that there are more ill-intentioned people around at night, it’s also harder to pay attention to your surroundings.
The risk of an accident, mugging or pickpocketing is much higher when it’s dark.
If you have to commute when it’s dark – maybe very early in the morning or late in the evening – take extra caution.
If you are driving, go slower and avoid all distractions. For cyclists, make sure you are visible. Wear reflective gear and light up your bike on the front and rear. If you are using public transport, keep your bag close to you and pay more attention to everything around you.
3. Leave Your Valuables at Home
There is always a chance of someone stealing your wallet or snatching your backpack no matter what you do. As long as they think you are carrying something valuable, they’ll try to steal it.
If you can, leave your most valuable items at home. This applies even if you are driving. It’s not that hard for someone experienced to break into your car and take the laptop bag you’ve left on the back seat.
Only carry those things you really need like passport, driver’s license and credit cards. Leave the other important stuff either at home or the office.
This way, even if your backpack gets stolen, you won’t lose much.
Tip: Make sure you have copies of all your important documents. If they are stolen, it will make it much easier to replace them.
4. Secure Your Backpack/Handbag
If you have to carry valuable things with you, like your laptop or documents, at least make it difficult for anyone to steal them.
Most backpacks and even handbags have zippers that can be locked.
If you commute by train or bus, buy a strong leash and attach the bag to your hand or something fixed. This will prevent anyone from snatching it even if you doze off.
Or you can just buy a secure backpack. These anti-theft backpacks come with several security measures including combination locks, hidden compartments, locking cables and anti-slash protection.
5. Be Considerate of Others
Commute is tough on everybody. Don’t make it harder by being inconsiderate. You don’t know who might fly off the handle and cause you harm.
This is especially important for drivers and cyclists. Road rage is a real thing and you can easily end up hurt even for something as simple as going too slow and holding up other drivers.
If you are commuting by train or bus, don’t talk loudly on your phone, listen to music on your phone’s loud speaker, take all the elbow room or do other things that might irritate other commuters.