Last week I was out for a run on campus when a car with duct-tape holding its windows together stopped in the middle of the road next to me. A man I have never seen before got out and started walking towards me. I frantically looked around, and hoped for someone else who could witness what was about to happen. I put my hand on my phone-armband trying to get it out quickly to call the police. I genuinely thought I was about to get abducted… or worse.
Luckily for me, this man was simply trying to help me by handing me a flashing light to strap on my arm while I ran. He said he was worried that other people would not be able to see me – on the sidewalk or even underneath streetlamps.
Unfortunately, not all women are pleasantly surprised like this when a stranger approaches them while they are out alone at night. Nowadays, there are numerous applications on your phone and even small Life Alert type gadgets you can get in case you ever find yourself in a bad situation. Here a couple of my favorites that I’ve found:
Companion: Never Walk Alone – Your Personal Safety Service and Mobile Blue Light (available for both iPhone and Android)
How it works: You pick from your contacts in your phone who you want to send an “alert” to. This alert will simply let this person know where you are, where you’re going and that you’re alone. This way, if you never reach your destination they can check-in or call the police for you. The app also will check-in with you and ask if you are okay. If you click yes, it lets your contact know. If you click no, it will let your contact know and give you the option to call the police.
Pros: It’s free, easy to use, and reliable.
Cons: You HAVE to be holding your phone in order to use it.
Wearsafe: Your Personal Safety Device
How it works: This little gadget, which looks like a Fitbit pedometer and acts similar to Life Alert button is another way to stay safe. It connects to an application on your phone, where you program specific contacts to be recipients of your alert. Wearsafe will call a specified contact and/or the police for you. It will also share your location and live audio and video will start automatically recording on your phone. In case you have your hands on your phone, you can also send an alert from the application.
Pros: It’s discrete, water resistant, has a long battery life (6 months on one charge!), a long range (it will work up to 200 feet away from your phone), and can attach to a keychain or clip onto your clothes.
Cons: It’s a paid service, so after the free trial is over you must pay a small subscription fee ($5 per month). It’s also very small – which is great for being discrete but could be easy to lose.
Drunk Mode: Get Crazy and Stay Safe! (available for both iPhone and Android)
How it works: On a lighter note, check out the “Find My Drunk” feature on Drunk Mode’s app. Their motto is ,“The app that helps you get crazy and stay safe!” Tired of losing track of your drunk friends during a night out? Or maybe you’re the one who always goes MIA. Either way, this app lets you track your friends or helps them find you via phone GPS. This app lets you add “Drinking Buddies” before a night out through Facebook, Twitter, or text. It even has a “Breadcrumbs” feature for when you just can’t remember what you did last night.
Pros: Easy to add people multiple ways, free!
Cons: If you or a friend in your group loses their phone you are out of luck.
Stay safe out there Gusties! HCXO!