15 Ways To Protect Yourself & Keep Safe

When You Use Public Transportation

  1. 1. Reread and follow the above safety precautions.

  1. 2. Have your pass, token or fare ready in hand when you board the bus

  1. 3. Ride as close to the driver as you can, especially early in the morning, late at night and in off hours

  1. 4. Have your pass, token or fare ready in hand when you board the bus

  1. 5. Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or subway

  1. 6. If someone on the bus, train or subways is bothering your, change seats, tell the driver or report it.  If there are other passengers around you it, raise your voice and tell the person to stop.  Don’t be afraid to make noise or insistent.

  1. 7. Look around when you get off a bus, train or subway.  Be aware of the people around you and also what is going on around you.

  1. 8. When you enter or leave a vehicle, watch for slippery or uneven pavement and other hazards that could cause you to fall or twist an ankle.

  2. 9. When you enter or leave a train or subway car, be sure to “mind the gap.” There is a gap between the edge of the train platform and the subway door. Watch your step.

  1. 10. Stand slightly to one side to let people exiting the train or subway car get off before you try to board. It’s not only a matter of courtesy, but also one of personal safety.

  1. 11. Remain alert and brace yourself when a bus, train or subway is slowing down or turning.  Stay seated and hold on to the stancion to help maintain your balance

  1. 12. Never try to get onto the train or subway once the doors begin to close. If the train is too crowded for you to board safely, wait for the next train.

  1. 13.Do not carry too many packages; always leave one hand free to grasp railings to balance yourself

  1. 14. Allow yourself extra time to cross streets, especially in bad weather.

  1. 15. When you take a taxi, buckle up. People who are conscientious about wearing seat belts when they are driving or riding in a private car often forget to do this when they are riding in a taxi.


Everyday activities like driving, going to work, or walking down the street include some risk to your personal safety. People and events can be unpredictable. You can’t avoid every single risky situation, but you can do a lot to protect yourself by taking common-sense precautions when you go out in public.

Think how you would handle different dangerous or emergency situations and create a safety plan for each one.  By anticipating things that could happen when you’re out in public you can come up with an action plan that will help you make good choices if something does happen.

What if you are out in public and are physically assaulted?

There is no “right” way to respond if you are physically assaulted. 

  1. Be realistic about what you physically can and can’t do in a situation.

  2. Try to stay calm.  Keeping calm helps you make better decisions about     what you should do to protect yourself.

  3. Listen to your intuition and follow your instincts to safety.

  4. Don’t be afraid to be insistent, demanding or impolite when you are in danger or in an emergency situation; and never stay in a threatening or uncomfortable situation.

Protect Yourself When You Are Out Walking

•Re-read and follow suggestions from the above list.

   •Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.  Don’t wear headsets or ear buds that impair your ability to hear or respond to potentially dangerous situations.

   •Carry a noisemaking device with you at all times, and use it if you suspect you are in danger. 

•Avoid walking alone at night.  If you must go out, take someone with you.

•Avoid shortcuts and dark, isolated areas.  Use travel routes that are well lit.

   •Walk purposefully, know where you are going, and project a no-nonsense image.  Dress in clothes and shoes that don’t hamper movement.

•If you feel threatened, cross the street, locate an emergency phone, or enter a store or place of business even if you have just left it.

•Have your door keys ready; carry them in your pockets, not buried in a purse.

•If you carry pepper spray, be familiar with how it works and have it available in case you need it.

•Call 911 to report suspicious persons or activity in or around your neighborhood.

13 Steps You Can Take To Protect Yourself In Public

  1. 1.  Don’t go out alone, especially at night.  Go out with family or friends.

  1. 2.  Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you, or wear valuable jewelry.

  1. 3.  Don’t carry extra credit cards if you don’t need them.

  1. 4.  Use direct deposit for your Social Security and other monthly checks

  1. 5.  When you’re walking, keep to the inside of the sidewalk - away from the curb and road.

  1. 6.  Walk facing oncoming traffic. You can see what’s coming at you and be better prepared to react to it.

  1. 7.  If you carry a purse or bag, carry it close to your body.  Be prepared to let it go if it is grabbed.  If you carry a wallet in an inside coat or in your front pants pocket. 

  1. 8.  Don’t carry too many packages.  You need to keep one hand free to  open doors, grab railings or otherwise steady yourself.

  1. 9.  Allow yourself extra time to cross streets, especially if it’s raining or the weather is bad.

  1. 10. If you go out at night, wear light colored clothing and carry a flashlight to make it easier for drivers and others to see you.

  1. 11. Don’t wear headphones or talk on your cellphone when you are walking; you won’t hear car horns, emergency sirens or if someone is approaching you.

  1. 12. Trust your instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable, leave.

  1. 13. Take self defense and safety awareness classes so you feel better prepared and  more secure when you go out.


More than 4 out of 5 seniors believe that public transit is a better alternative to driving alone, and 83% agree that it offers easy access to the things older adults need in everyday life.  (Harris 2005)

When you’re out walking or biking, pay attention to your surroundings and where you are going, and don’t go out alone.  Take a noisy alarm and a friend along with you.

Whenever you’re on a bus, sit close to the driver or close to an exit door so you can get out if you sense you may be in a dangerous situation.

Some transit authorities are working to enforce existing rules such as giving Senior Citizens and disabled riders priority seating.

Don’t forget to buckle up.  Use your seatbelt when you ride in a taxicab.

How To Protect Yourself

When You Go Out In Public

There are many steps you can take to keep safe and avoid becoming a crime victim when you go out in public.

Senior Self Defense classes are offered through many Senior Centers or public safety agencies and organizations.  Call or check online with your local or county Public safety or recreation department to find information about classes.

Public transportation can be a safe, convenient and economical way to get around for Seniors if proper precautions are taken.  Provides Free, Reliable Senior Information and Resources

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