ORLANDO, Fla. - It’s late in the day, you’re tired and you’re just trying to get home. You look back in your rearview mirror and you think this car has been following your every move. Emotions start to set in and you begin to panic.
"This is where I come in and tell you, 'Take a deep breath,'" News 6 Traffic Safety Expert Trooper Steve said. "A calm demeanor allows you to think clearly and get to safety. Who knows? maybe you're tricking yourself."
Cathleih, a student at the University of Central Florida, asked, “Trooper Steve, can you give us some pointers of what to do when you think someone is following you?”
Montiero answered her question in Monday's edition of "Ask Trooper Steve."
[ASK TROOPER STEVE: Submit your questions here]
Here's what he recommended:
First and foremost, do not go directly home.
"Try to head toward a heavily populated area," Montiero said. "A large shopping area, well-lit gas station or a fire department or police station are also good options."
Next, it's important to remain calm.
"When we begin to stress, we make unrealistic decisions that can get us hurt," Montiero said.
Never hesitate to call 911 for help. Even if it turns out not to be an emergency after all, you can have peace knowing that you were better safe than sorry.
"Emergency departments are there for a reason and will never look down upon you for calling on what you think is an emergency," Montiero said. "They will give you instructions on what they want you to do. Once you’ve made that call, its time to listen and do as they say. Things are going to happen in order to ensure your safety and that a possible threatening situation is handled accordingly."
Perhaps you're on the highway and think someone may be following you. Trooper Steve also had specific advice for that sort of scenario.
He recommends that you exit off the interstate like you normally would. Then, when the traffic control signal allows for it, simply get right back on the highway.
"This would reveal any driver that is intentionally following you," Montiero said.
According to Montiero, you could also do something similar on local roadways to test whether someone is purposely staying behind you.
"Making multiple right turns would show an obvious driver following you," he said.
Montiero said something you don't want to do is contact someone who may not be able to provide you immediate help in a possibly dangerous situation, like a friend or family member.
"A lot of people say they would call their parents or a significant other in a situation where they need help," Montiero said. "Unless they are sitting in the 911 center or have the capability of coming to your rescue right then and there, then emergency authorities are the phone call that needs to happen first."
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