Armed Defense

Transitions Safety Tips

We talk a lot about the skills necessary to protect ourselves and loved ones as a concealed carrier when out and about in public. The same goes for protecting yourself when you are in your home. But what about the transition? What about the time span when you are leaving the safety of your home to head to work, do some errands, or go have some fun? What about when you arrive back home? You must not forget to take the necessary steps to stay safe during these potentially vulnerable moments during a transition.

Opportunity for Criminals

Your garage serves so many important functions in your life. From keeping cars protected, storing mountains of treasured goodies that you just don’t want to throw out, or those holiday decorations that you only use seasonally. They house landscaping tools and who knows what else!! Perhaps you use yours as a laundry room, craft space, workout room, or carpentry projects. However you use your garage, it’s a space of many uses and opportunities.

Unfortunately, it is also seen as an opportunity for criminals. It is a place where they know you are vulnerable. Think about it, a garage is typically dark, and without windows. This creates the ideal place to do you harm as they are hidden from view.

About the Transition

When transitioning from one place to another your mind is focused on what you need to do to make the transition. Criminals and violent thugs know this and capitalize on it.

Imagine getting ready to leave your home. You walk out into the garage and hit the garage door opener. Do your mental check that you have what you need, and begin to think about where you are going.  You look for your keys but they are of course at the very bottom of your purse. You give a potential attacker the perfect opportunity while you are fumbling for them and distracted.

How Do You Protect Yourself During Transitions?

  • Do NOT open the garage door until you are in your car, the doors are locked and your key is in the ignition. Remember, do not start the car until the garage door has been opened as you must have proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • This way, you are safely locked in your car if an attacker were to enter your garage when the garage door opens. You have the opportunity to drive to a safe location and call law enforcement. If the attacker tries to breach your car, being locked in gives you the time to access your firearm if it becomes necessary.
      • Drawing your gun on a person is a last resort action and only legal if your life is in imminent danger. If you are able to drive away instead of drawing your gun – do it!
  • ALWAYS park your car facing outward.  It is best practice to back into your garage (or parking spot) either at home, at work, on an errand, or wherever you are going. By doing so, you will always have a full view of what is coming your way. This also allows you to drive away faster in the event of an emergency. In addition, you will be in a better position to use your car as a defensive weapon if necessary.
    • Backing in may be tricky and feel awkward at first. With a little practice and the commitment to parking your car this way, you will become a defensive parking ace.
back up for transition safety
  • When arriving home the same principles apply. Stay acutely aware of your surroundings and observant to ensure you are not being followed home by anyone. Verify that no one suspicious is lurking near your home. Keep driving and notify law enforcement if you notice someone following you or someone near your home that shouldn’t be.
  • Back into your garage keeping your eyes and attention on everything around you. Turn off the car, close the garage door, all while your doors are still locked. Once the garage door is closed and you are safe, exit the vehicle.

Sum It Up On The Transition

You must not let your guard down when you are transitioning from one location or activity to another. Do not disconnect from practicing situational awareness. Always remember to practice smart defensive strategies when transitioning and in all you do. Transition with your full attention and awareness. It is not the time to be on your phone, to look at receipts, or be doing anything other than paying attention. Violent criminals have the element of surprise on their side and determine when they attack. They will look for and wait for those moments when you let your guard down during transitions.

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11 thoughts on “Transitions Safety Tips

  1. Faith says:

    Just a note about backing into the parking space. In my state, at least, it is illegal to pull through a space or back into in a parking lot. We found this out when my sister was hit pulling out of a space. She was considered at fault because driving out of a parking space forwards is illegal. Check local driving laws before backing into parking spaces.

    1. Carrie Lightfoot says:

      Thanks for the comment – everywhere is truly different!

    2. Rena J says:

      Is this in California? I ask because I live in Ca & we have so many crazy & restrictive laws.

  2. Didrey Olson says:

    Great article! Thank you for touching on this topic! I wish everyone learns something from it. I am a victim of transition. I arrived home from the store after dark when I was a young single mother of a toddler. As I carried my sleeping child, purse and grocery bags (skills of a mother) up the apartment stairs I was unaware that someone was watching me. I went inside, dropped everything on the kitchen table and temorarily laid the child on the couch. I returned to the kitchen and there was the intruder standing there rummaging through my purse. I froze solid in shock. He grabbed my wallet and ran out the door. I called the police. It wasn’t until after the police were finished with their investigation that I realized all the things I had done wrong and all the horrific things that could have happened. I vowed to never let myself be vulnerable like that again. So again thank you for spreading the importance of safety to other women.

    1. Carrie Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for sharing your story – I’m so sorry you had to experience that kind of event, so glad you are ok!

  3. Tonya says:

    Thank you for the great tips on transitioning. I carry my gun almost 24/7, but it is times like you mention that did not cross my mind as being a more vulnerable time. I will definitely think/look twice now in my garage and exiting my vehicle.

  4. Gretchen says:

    Excellent Question in regard to gun-free zones. I recommend the Kubotan as taught by the Massad Ayoob Group, and pepper spray. With either kubotan or pepper spray it is good to take a training class where you can practice using it. Some pepper spray sets offer an intern training cell to practice dispensing it – without the effects. Taking a Kubotan class with a friend is a bonus, as it will give you a training partner to maintain your new skills with.

  5. Alyssa says:

    Looking for suggestions on transitions from the grocery store to the car with children

    1. Carrie Lightfoot says:

      Hi Alyssa,
      Here is what I recommend doing: talk with your kids about the plan. You should always walk straight to the car, this is not the time to talk/play with mom. This should be how they always leave any public place, if you do this every time will become the habit. You should make sure they are always walking with you and staying close. Once they get to car, instruct kids to always get right in, if you have a young child put them in right away. While doing this be sure to observe all around the whole time.

      You should have your keys already out before leaving the store and don’t be on phone at all. There should be no distractions. You should be observing everything on your way out, look around your car even under your car. If anything doesn’t feel right go back in and get an escort.

      Once you get to the car and ensure children are in, put your things in. Then get in your car, locking the doors once you close your door. Don’t look at receipts or your phone at this point, that should be done later. From here you can then start the car and leave. You should get in the habbit or parking densive or backing in.

      Try to always:
      Park near the store entrance
      Park under lights
      Park near the cart return

      I hope this helps!

  6. JDM says:

    Any tips for transitioning from “gun-free” zones where actual criminals are armed to 2A-actually-matters zones? For those of us who are 100% new, didn’t grow up around guns, don’t have any friends who carry, etc., this may be a clumsy, awkward time.

    1. Carrie Lightfoot says:

      Here is what we suggest –
      Plan your errands ahead of time and know the laws/restrictions before you go when possible. When necessary, lock your gun in a hidden gun safe or metal lockable box secured to your vehicle and out of sight. There are car safes available that fit into many center consoles or glove compartments. Do this as discreetly as possible, so criminals and thieves don’t see you leaving your gun in your car. Lock your vehicle and double-check to make sure it is locked.

      Have you seen our Online Course that goes over everything concealed carry? It is great for women just starting out. Find out more here

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