How to safely return home from the store or work

The evenings and nights are a particularly dangerous time of day. It is dark and the parking lots are getting more empty every minute. With fewer people, criminals may be less noticed by others, giving them more freedom to act, to increase the risk of robbery or theft.

Safety procedure – car parking

When entering the parking lot, especially at night when the place is poorly lit, try to be vigilant. If the car park is lit only in its center, try going to its shaded parts. Walking in the shade, our eyes adjust to the darkness and we can see what is beyond the shadow. We are not blinded by the parking lot lights. It’s sort of like a kitchen with tinted windows. Being inside, we can see quite well what is going on outside, but from the outside we can’t see what is hidden inside.

Why a flashlight?

Of course, it is very helpful to have a flashlight with you in case something falls, or to illuminate the lock in the door of our car. But that’s not the only reason why you should carry a flashlight. It is a good tool for self-defense. It is best to equip yourself with a tactical flashlight with several lighting modes. The strobe mode can be especially useful, as it allows you to blind the attacker and run away. If we are in a short distance, e.g. someone catches us, then we can hit the attacker with a specially constructed flashlight. In such situations, the flashlight should always be ready for use, because in an emergency, there won’t be any time to look for it. Stress/panic significantly reduces human mobility and dexterity. It is then extremely difficult to find and take out small objects.

More on which flashlight to choose and how to use it, read here. (link will be added later)

Something's not right

Regardless of whether you have a flashlight with you or not, when you enter an empty parking lot and you have a bad feeling, go back to the shop/workplace. Find and ask a trusted person to accompany you to the car.

  • If you go alone and hear someone else’s conversation, you can listen in for a while to get some context. Try to recognize the age of the people talking, origin-nationality, and the tone in which they’re talking. This may give you a clue as to whether you have anything to fear or it’s just a chat between friends.
  • If you can see these people, their appearance will also give you some determinant of the threat. Pay attention to the style of clothing: normal, gangster, sloppy, dirty, working, for example, a farmworker. The next thing is to see if people have any potentially dangerous weapons, e.g. knife, sticks, etc.
  • If you feel very concerned about the presence of these people in the parking lot, inform the store or office security guard and ask to be escorted to the car. As a rule, the presence of such a person will cool down the thieves. You can also call someone to come pick you up, such as your husband, wife, parents, friend, etc., and as a last resort call a taxi.
  • If the people are not aggressive, drunk, etc., I would rather not call the police, although it is an individual decision. If the people talking are far enough away from you and your car, or you find the situation safe, go to your car and try to not make unnecessary noise. But also don’t sneak, it looks strange and funny, and can also provoke the aggressors/hooligans looking for “entertainment”.

Use common objects

When you have decided to go to your car and the situation suddenly changed you can use common objects. You can use anything close to you to defend yourself, such as sticks, rocks or timbers. If the place is “clean” and there’s nothing like that you may have some coins or keys in your pocket that you can throw at the attacker’s face. This can give you a split second to deliver a preemptive attack that will buy some time needed to escape. Then if you can go to the car and proceed as below.

You're in the car

The first thing to do after getting into the car is to lock the door locks so that no one from the outside can get in. Then turn on the engine and drive the car out of the parking lot. If you feel safe you can stop and complete the procedure that we usually do before starting the car, namely fasten seat belts, check the mirrors, turn on the radio. Some thieves tie cans or other noisy objects to the car to disturb the driver enough to stop the car and get out to check what is happening. Then the car is stolen. When you feel in great danger, stop only after a dozen or so meters, when you think it’s safe, and then check. REMEMBER that this is an emergency procedure and not a normal exit from work or the store where seat belts must be fastened before driving the car.

Tinting the windows in the car

It is also worth having a car with tinted windows, originally or professionally tinted in factories that specialize in this. The tinting studio should:
– work on top-quality,
– uses branded tinting film,
– gives warranty.

Which windows to tint?

Particularly, it is worthwhile to tint the window of the rear section of the luggage space in the case of SUVs or vans. As a result, items left in the trunk or on the rear seat do not attract the unnecessary attention of a thief who may want to break in or wait for the owner of the car to rob the owner (less likely but more dangerous). It is also possible to install the foil on the side seams of the front and windscreen. Unfortunately, they cannot be darkened too much. If we are talking about safety in a car accident, sticking an ordinary tinting foil to the glass will result in the fact that most of the broken glass will be stuck to the foil during the accident, which will reduce the possibility of injuring the eyes and face.

How much can you tint the windows?

According to the law in Ireland

  • back section: as much as you want. The darkest one is 5% light transmittance
  • front section: front windshield and front side windows must be at least 65% of VISIBLE LIGHT TRANSMITTANCE
    More info about Irish Laws  

More info on tinting windows foil can be found here

How about anti-theft films?

There are also anti-theft films which give us quite good protection for the car and belongings left inside. However, in the event of an accident in which the car falls into the water, breaking the glass will not free us from the vehicle.
Here is a video showing anti-theft foils mounted on the car when attempted to break in with various tools.


Pay attention to your gut feelings, remember that thanks to this, people survived on Earth for about 200,000 years. I think that’s a good enough reason to trust them. Furthermore, remember that letting yourself be sucked deeper into a dangerous situation, only becomes worse, so if you can, prevention is the safest way out. . The advice contained in this article is worth implementing, although let’s not fall into paranoia and be afraid of our own shadow.