Protect Yourself With These 5 Self-Defense Tips That Could Save Your Life

self defense tips
stevecoleimages/Getty Images

It seems like we hear about assaults, robberies and other violent crimes every day.

The reality is there are a lot of factors that determine how likely you are to be the victim of a violent crime, so it’s not something that will definitely happen to you.

Even so, it’s a good idea to think about what you know about self defense and what you can do to protect yourself if you need to.

These tips can help keep you safe and just may get you out of a bad situation. I hope you never have to use them, but they’re good to file away in the back of your head.

As our parents always told us, better safe than sorry.

How to Escape From Zip Tie Handcuffs

Plastic zip ties secure more than just boxes and hubcaps — criminals can use them to quickly bind their victim’s wrists together.

If you ever find yourself in zip tie handcuffs, you can try chewing through them or twisting your way out of them.

If you’re wearing sneakers or other laced shoes, however, there might be a faster way.

Untie your shoelaces and thread one of the laces through your handcuffs. Then tie that end to the end of the lace on the other shoe.

Pick your feet up off the floor and straighten your legs until the shoelace loop pulls taut against the zip ties. Alternate pushing one foot away from you, then the other, as if you were pedaling an invisible bicycle.

The friction of the shoelace against the zip ties will saw through the plastic and free your hands.

Check out this video and then practice a few times with some zip ties until you get the hang of it.

How to Get Out of Duct Tape Handcuffs

Criminals also tend to be fond of wrapping their victim’s wrists in duct tape. Fortunately, there’s a way out of that too — no shoelaces required.

Begin by raising your arms over your head as high as you can (you obviously don’t have full range of motion when your wrists are bound, so do the best you can).

In one rapid motion, bring your arms down, pulling your elbows behind you as far and fast as you can. The force of your hands hitting your abdomen splits the tape apart and frees your hands.

While the maneuver sounds painful, it’s really not (I tried it). Watch this video of the move in action then grab a roll of duct tape and see for yourself.

How to Signal for Help From Your Bedroom

If your car has a built-in alarm that’s activated by a key fob, you’ve got a free crime prevention tool right in your pocket.

Make it a habit to keep your keys on the nightstand when you go to bed. If you hear someone break in during the night, grab your keys and set off your car alarm.

The last thing criminals want is something that calls attention to their presence so a blaring alarm may be enough to scare them off.

You’ll double your chances of success with this safety method if you make your neighbors aware that they should call the police if your car alarm activates during the night.

If you don’t have a car alarm or worry that your neighbors would ignore its incessant beeping, there are other ways to dissuade criminals from targeting your house.

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Department recommends posting conspicuous “Beware of Dog” signs around your home.

Even the most hardened criminals don’t want to risk a dog bite, so post the signs whether you have a dog or not. It’s okay to lie your pants off to bad guys.

How to Break Out of a Trunk

Even the mere idea of being trapped in a locked car trunk is enough to make many people squirm. The thought of being kidnapped and shoved in a trunk is the fuel of nightmares.

Fortunately, cars made after 2001 have a built-in trunk release lever. One pull and the trunk lid pops open so you can flee.

It’s important to have a few other tricks up your sleeve though, in case the lever malfunctions or you’re in an older model car.

First, feel around you to see if there’s a tire iron or anything else you can use to pry the trunk open. If not, kick out the car’s tail lights so you can stick a hand or foot through the opening and alert other drivers you’re trapped.

If the car you’re in is empty and no one’s there to notice, use your feet and legs to kick out the back seat and escape through a passenger door.

How to Use a Personal Security App on Your Phone

Being outside alone at night can be scary but it may be unavoidable if you need to get to your car or wait for a bus.

Companion uses the power of technology to let your friends and family to help keep you safe no matter where they are.

When you launch the app, the people you’ve designated in your phone’s contact book can monitor your location in real time. Simple taps dial 911 to send for immediate help.

Companion also has a feature that keeps you company while you’re somewhere you feel threatened.

A large onscreen button requires you to tap it every 15 seconds so the app knows you’re okay. If you don’t respond, it assumes you can’t and alerts your pre-selected contacts you could be in trouble.

The free app is available in the App Store or on Google Play.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Back when she was a kid, her mother stacked glass soda bottles inside the front door so they would loudly tumble around if someone opened the door. She’s clever like that.

Did this article help put money in your pocket?