“Home Safe” Calls – a standard of care
I frequently attend events by myself. If I am not actually solo at the event, there comes a time when I will be travelling solo back to my home. Most of my social engagements are an hour+ from my home. So, unless I have hubby in tow, I am going to be travelling a great distance, solo, and usually late at night/early morning.
A simple protocol
In a former relationship, we established a protocol and I have continued it. It was simple. I was to text him when I was leaving my home (usually in the middle of the night) so that he would know when to expect me. And, I was to text him when I arrived back at my house. If I stopped for any reason or visited with someone else before heading home, I would text him when I was finally en route.
This was not a control thing. This was a safety thing. Someone, preferably someone on both ends, knew when to expect me. If my text was not received in a reasonable time frame, someone had an early indication that something might be wrong.
For most of my social engagements, I have someone who will accept that text. Someone who knows me and cares about my safety. They usually also know what route I am planning on travelling. In almost all cases, when I arrive home, my husband is already asleep, so if I didn’t arrive, he may not notice for several hours.
Driving is riskier than play
We often think about the bad things that can happen when we play. We give consideration to safety calls when we are arranging to play privately with someone the first (or more) times. However, I don’t think there is enough consideration given to the hazards of simply being a solo traveller coming to and going from events.
I, myself, have had some scary experiences.
Mode of transportation risks
Firstly, I am driving in a vehicle. A lot of things can go wrong with my mode of transportation. I could be involved in a collision, or break down at the side of the road. I had a tire blowout once. When this happened, I ended up staying in the Barrie area 1)at my ex’s for an extra three days while we sourced a replacement tire. And these are the routine, run-of-the-mill things that can happen when you drive.
Secondly, there may be some other individuals who take notice that I am alone, late at night.
For the most part, I make sure that I have ample refreshments in my car before I leave. I do not want to stop along the way. I also make sure that I make a pit stop so I won’t get half way home and feel that my bladder is going to explode. However, what if I need to stop for gas? What if I do need to stop for a potty break?
My experiences with “people”
In the past few years, someone has followed me at least two times. Yes, actually followed, not just a paranoid perception.
The Samaritan Truckers
The first one was someone driving a very large pick-up truck. He started following me around Hwy 89. He would pull up right behind me so that I could not see because of the reflection of his headlights. When I changed lanes to allow him to pass me, he would pull in front of me and slow the fuck down. I would pull out and try to put distance between us.
It finally ended when I pulled into the On Route in Maple, Ontario. I pulled around the back of the building and parked my car where the transport trucks are. The pick-up truck followed me back there and after slowing while he passed me, he drove off.
I saw a couple of truckers going into the service centre and I followed them in. I told them what had happened. We arranged for them to walk me back to my car after we all had our coffees. They escourted me to my car about 30 minutes after I had pulled in. I hoped that was sufficient time for dickwad to give up on me.
I did not have any safety calls in place, so if something had happened to me, no one would know until morning. In fact, it might have been when hubby returned home from work since there had been times when I didn’t get home until he was either leaving for work or had already left. 2)For those that don’t know my local geography, this cat & mouse game lasted for about 20 minutes
The time I went to the police
The second occurrence involved me picking up a follower around Major Mac. I believe he may have noticed that I was alone when I stopped for a coffee and pee break at the Maple On Route. He followed me all the way to the very street on which I live in the south-west end of Mississauga. I did not pull into my driveway, instead, I took a rather indirect route 3)to determine that he was indeed following me to the Police Station. I tried to commit as many details of the vehicle to memory as I could.
He did not turn into the parking lot after me.
I went into the station and had a chat with the Desk Sargeant. Surprisingly, he took a report. Not that they would actually do anything now, but in case something did happen to me when I left. He commended me on my decision to come to the station and did not, in any way, shame me for being out late at night (and dressed in party clothes).
I still did not have a safe call protocol in place at the time. 4)Approximately 45 minutes to my home and another 15 minutes to the Police Station with a lot of back-tracking involved through my neighbourhood, so I know it wasn’t a coincidence.
“Home Safe” Safety Calls are my standard now
So, it is now my practice that when I attend anything late at night, especially when it requires me to travel a distance, I arrange for a safety text … even when it was a spur of the moment decision to go, I will find someone who I know who will accept my text to know that I am home safely.
I have also tried to make it a habit of popping onto social media and placing something in my feed so that all of my friends 5)especially those who saw me out & about know that I am home safe.
If you are someone who travels alone, I strongly recommend that you establish a “Home Safe” text/call protocol with someone when you attend events or go on a date. Let someone know that you have arrived home and are safe.
Safe travels, my friend.
Increased standard of care
I would love to see this become a standard operating practice. We are really good at watching out for each other at events, but that standard of care should continue until we know they are home safely.
I have FollowMee loaded on my home computer and phone, so hubby can always see my phone’s location if needed. If I leave my car for any reason, I have the phone on my person.
Some additional details of my own protocol:
- I make texts/calls when I leave home to go to an event, as well as when I leave the company of my friends to come home. There is someone on both ends who is aware of my ETA and proposed route. If I cannot reach hubby, I leave a voicemail. My machine date and timestamps the recording.
- If I feel I am being followed, I make a phone call and talk to someone. 6)I have a Bluetooth connection in my vehicle — please use hands-free methods to make the call! I will describe the situation and head for the nearest highly populated place, or a Police Station. 7)Some options: A gas station, the airport, a busy highway rest stop, bar or restaurant. I now know where the closest police stations are along my usual routes.
- If I have car problems, I have roadside assistance. Before I get out of the car, I call the service back to determine if they are authorised. While they are with me, I make a live call to someone I know and trust. I continue to talk to them while any work is being done to my vehicle. If I need to be towed, I ask that person to meet me where I broke down and travel with them.
- I have a document on my desktop entitled “Where the Fuck is She“. I update it each time I go out to an event with the details of the event, who I am going to be meeting, where I will be staying and the contact info of the Usual Suspects. 8)those I frequently play and/or stay with If I do not get home when expected hubby has all of the details required to start a search.
- When I arrive home, I make a final “Home Safe” text and post on social media. Additionally, the social media apps on my phone are not automatically logged in. If a post comes from one of my accounts, it is me (or someone who knows my password) making that status update.
From the archive. Originally posted on FetLife, 22 Jan 2015
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References [ + ]
|1.||↑||at my ex’s|
|2.||↑||For those that don’t know my local geography, this cat & mouse game lasted for about 20 minutes|
|3.||↑||to determine that he was indeed following me|
|4.||↑||Approximately 45 minutes to my home and another 15 minutes to the Police Station with a lot of back-tracking involved through my neighbourhood, so I know it wasn’t a coincidence.|
|5.||↑||especially those who saw me out & about|
|6.||↑||I have a Bluetooth connection in my vehicle — please use hands-free methods to make the call!|
|7.||↑||Some options: A gas station, the airport, a busy highway rest stop, bar or restaurant.|
|8.||↑||those I frequently play and/or stay with|