Come on, we have all been there. Walking out of a shop, pulling away from the lights or walking home at night, everyone has at some point in their lives scared themselves senseless thinking they’re being followed.
Thankfully, most of the time we’re not, but this is something we’re quizzed about all the time. What to do if you’re being followed, or at least, think you are?
So we’re going to tell you because knowing a few tricks will help put your mind to rest. It may also mean the difference between safety and vulnerability. Today’s global cities can often be dangerous places to live but there are a few tips we can offer to help avert risks.
First of all, focus. This is one of the most important factors in any walk of life. Take note of your surroundings, look from left to right and take in what’s on either side. Are there windows you can see a reflection in, or some shiny cars, the glass in bus shelters, anything. Once you have mastered this, you’ll find yourself walking down the street picking out reflective surfaces without thinking about it.
Remember fear comes from a lack of knowledge, so if you start to feel uncomfortable with someone’s presence, confirm whether he or she is actually focused on you. Take the time to have a look and access what you think. There are a number of ways of doing this.
If you are walking down a street use the Green Cross Code to your advantage. Stand on the side of the road and take a good look around while you wait to cross. A good trick is deciding not to cross at the last minute and watching what your suspect does. Do they do the same?
Always remember to vary your walking speed, as anyone pursuing you will try to keep up. Listen out for their steps, do they mirror yours? It’s always worth changing direction a complete 180 degrees, particularly if there are other people near you, as this can put you face-to-face with your suspect. If they look surprised or change direction as well, then it’s possible you’re being followed.
If you are being followed the best plan is to head for a busy, populated area such as high streets, a shop, or a taxi rank if it’s late at night. Look where you’re going, plan 10 steps forward until you see somewhere to avert your direction. As soon as you reach a safe area, find a sheltered place and call the authorities.
Any pursuer, regardless of their intentions, will be deterred when you enter a public space due to potential exposure. If you find yourself in this position and have already identified who the pursuer is then establish eye content and let them know you have compromised them. This in itself is likely to deter the suspect.
If you ever fear you’re being followed in your car by another vehicle, change lanes and see what the other vehicle does. Also remember to alternate your speed, the same as if you were walking. It’s always worth indicating to exit at a junction but not actually doing so, does the suspect vehicle do the same?
If so, use your surroundings to your advantage, such as roundabouts. Go around them a couple of times, this will not only help you ascertain if you really are being followed but also give you an opportunity to see who your pursuer is. As with before, if they feel they have been compromised, they will extract.