Self-defense tips: How to escape a tail on foot or in a vehicle
By Grace Olson // Dec 08, 2019

Being followed around by a stranger is an anxiety-inducing experience. If you find yourself in this situation, the most important thing to do is try to shake off the person "tailing" you. (h/t to


Things to remember if you're being tailed

The first thing to do is to remain calm. Panicking won't help, so try to keep a clear mind. Here are some things you need to remember if you're being tailed:

1. Anticipate violent action

Always prepare for the worst. You don't know the other person's intentions; assume that it's something harmful. When you confirm that someone is following you, whether it's a man or a woman, keep your guard up. As much as possible, do not attempt contact.

2. Do not lead them to your house

People feel the urge to immediately go and hide inside their houses where they feel safe. This is a big mistake.

Leading the tail to your house means that they can monitor your every move, including when you leave the house, when you come back and when you go to sleep. Once they get a grasp of your schedule, you're now more vulnerable to an attack. Not only that, it also endangers everyone living with you.

3. Stay in a populated area

Forget your house; lead the tail to a public and populated place. Never go to less-traveled roads, empty alleys and similar areas. Make sure that there are enough people around to watch your back in case something happens.

4. Do not let yourself get trapped

When people panic, they lose good judgment and go to places that can get them boxed-in, like a dead-end road. Keep a clear head and be aware of where you are. Do not go to unfamiliar areas when you're trying to lose a tail. For all you know, he may be more familiar with the area than you are.

How to escape from a tail

Armed with things that you should and should not do, here are some ways to shake off that tail:

1. Establish distance

Make sure that the stalker does not get close enough for contact. Try to find ways to shake him off. A classic way to do this is to abruptly turn a corner, then run as fast as you can to the other street. To the tail, it will seem like you disappeared. If the stalker is in a car, this method makes it a lot more difficult for him to follow you.

2. Break the trend line

Generally, people have expectations for other people's movements. Once you're done browsing in a store, a stalker would expect you to go out into the street and would prepare to follow you out. Break that trend by dashing into another store immediately after exiting before the tail realizes what happened.

3. Change your appearance

If you have a change of clothes or you see a shop with an incredible sale, consider changing your look. A stalker has already established an image of the person he's following. Change into a different color shirt, remove your glasses if you're wearing them; just try to change your entire outfit as much as possible.

People who physically stand out may have a harder time, like being significantly taller than the rest of the crowd.

4. Get on a vehicle or public transport

If the tail is on foot, this is a great way to establish distance. Get on the vehicle or bus at the last moment so that the tail gets left behind.

If the stalker has been following you in a car, inform your driver and have him bring you to the police station. That should dissuade the tail from approaching.

5. Call for help

If you feel that the stalker is quickly closing in, don't hesitate to call for help. However, bringing out your phone may alarm the other person and cause him to attack. Get inside a store or restaurant first and discreetly inform the waitress or cashier that someone is following you. Have him or her call 911 for you.

Having a stalker follow you is a distressing situation, but don't lose your cool. Remember these tips, along with other practical ways to defend yourself at

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