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Street Smarts: 10 Commuter Safety Tips for the Rainy Season and Beyond

As a commuter, you’re exposed to danger every time you walk the streets, or get on and off public transport. We’ve listed down ways for you to keep safe as you make your way to and from your target destination during the rainy season and beyond.

Commuting can be difficult, whether during the rainy season or in the summer. Snatchers, muggers, traffic accidents, and health hazards await you left and right, and you, the commuter, must be equipped with survival strategies and tactics that can help you outwit crooks and stay safe.

1. Save it for a Rainy Day: Socks and Slippers 
You’ll never know if and when you’ll get caught in the middle of a downpour and get your feet wet, so a good commuter always has an extra pair of socks and slippers stashed away in their bag. Forget style and fashion, and leave a pair of slippers in the office in case you need to leave while it’s pouring rain. You may not be your best-dressed self, but at least you won’t damage your precious pair of shoes. If you get your feet wet, do wash them upon reaching home.

2.  Use a Coin Purse
Keeping a coin purse means you don’t have to take out your wallet all the time, which would give thieves an idea how many cards—and therefore, how much wealth—you have. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t think you’re wealthy (it’s all about perception).

3. Bring Alcohol and Face Mask

Just look at all the things you’re touching in public—elevators,  etc.—and imagine just how dirty your hands can be. So it’s good to have a small hand sanitizer or alcohol bottle in your bag for anytime hygiene. Face masks will help protect your lungs. Lastly, a small pack of wipes will be good to have in case you have a bathroom emergency.

4. Don’t Flaunt Your Phone
You can’t help but check your Facebook or Instagram account when you’re on the road, when you’re walking, or when you’re waiting for somebody. But the more you pull out your phone, the more you give bad elements a target, especially if your gadget’s a bit pricey. Moreover, if you’re out in the streets, anyone can easily swipe your phone and run off to a part of the city called You’ll-Never-Get-Your-Phone-Back.
Of course, there will be times when you really do need to use your phone, but at the very least, position your phone away from snatchers.

5. Avoid Distracted Walking: Focus on your Surroundings
It’s so tempting to check your phone every few minutes, but when you’re walking, just walk: don’t read a text or scroll through a feed. You might bump into somebody, or something that can embarrass you and annoy other pedestrians. It’ll also ensure you’re aware of your immediate surroundings. And if you do need to use your phone, step out of pedestrian traffic.

6. The Sound of Silence: Refrain from Listening to Music
Phones these days have allowed us to enjoy music virtually anytime, anywhere. But listening to tunes or podcasts with your earphones on is a safety risk, especially when you’re out in the streets. You may not hear cars honking, ambulance sirens, people who may be calling your attention, or other events that may need your quick response.

7.  Use Sidewalks and Pedestrian Lanes
Don’t make it worse for yourself and others by not following traffic rules and road signs. If a sign says, “do not cross,” find the nearest overpass or designated pedestrian lane. Resist the pasaway attitude. It may take longer to get to your destination, but the few extra seconds can save your life and help keep the flow of traffic smooth.

Traffic safety also involves a symbiosis between drivers and pedestrians. A basic knowledge about driving can make you a good pedestrian because you would know that you pose a potential risk to drivers and can thus act accordingly: use pedestrian lanes, obey traffic light stops, watch out for backing vehicles; and know—and avoid—blind spots where pedestrians, like yourself, are not readily seen.

For example, when crossing at an intersection, know that drivers turning left or right may not necessarily see you as they make a turn. So, when you do cross, look at the direction of oncoming traffic. It’s the driver’s responsibility to slow down when making a turn, but not every driver is on his best behavior, so it’s better be safe.

8. Have a Plan B: The Dummy Wallet and Phone
You’ve heard it said, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” In the same way, don’t place all your money, cards, IDs, and much else besides in one wallet. You can lose everything if you get mugged .

Just make sure to put some cash and stuff to spare in the dummy wallet, so in the (unlikely event) that they’ll look, the muggers will at least be content with a haul.

If you can spare it, buy one of those small, light, and affordable cell phones which you can hand over in case of hold-ups or muggings. It would be more painful to lose your iPhone 7 or the latest Galaxy 7 than to lose, well, other less expensive phone brands.

9. Weave Your Handbag Strap Around Your Fingers
You normally hold your handbag with the strap underneath your fingers, but consider weaving its strap around your fingers for a sturdier, snatcher-proof grip. Also, when you’re taking the train or are in any other crowded place, try putting your bag on the floor or as close to the ground as possible. This way, it’s harder to slash or snatch, since anyone would have to stoop down, which is harder to do in a crowded train. Lastly, when you’re on the sidewalk, carry your bag on the side that’s away from the street to help deter snatchers.

10. Bring Reading Material
Life in traffic or flood-prone.  So instead of playing Candy Crush or EverWing, why not keep some reading material with you to help pass the time? Read a book, collection of poems, or a thin volume of quotations.

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