I feel that safety is something that is not discussed nearly enough, especially this day in age when there are so many crazy things going on in the world. However, it's extremely important and I think everyone should know these tips! Feel free to add more in the comments as well, as it's impossible to cover everything and it is always great to learn something new, especially if it can keep you safe!
One of the two most important safety tips to me is to ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. Don't mill around aimlessly with your face buried in your phone or spaced out in a daydream. Pay attention to what is going on around you at all times, and walk with a purpose, as if you have somewhere important to be and need to be there by a specific time. Predators often target those who are not paying attention and are distracted. I've been told as well that making eye contact with people is a good way to discourage them from committing a crime against you as well, as you have a better chance of identifying them in a lineup if you've gotten a good look at them, which they obviously do not want. I think this very much plays into not being distracted or preoccupied with something else, and paying attention to your surroundings.
The other most important thing to me is to ALWAYS follow your gut instinct, for it is rarely wrong. To me, it is much better to be safe than sorry. If I get a strong feeling that something isn't right, I try to get out of that situation immediately. So far, my intuition has never been wrong and has potentially saved me from some bad situations. Even if it means hurting some feelings or having someone thinking you're rude, it's worth it to be on the safe side.
One that most people know, but certainly never hurts to be reiterated, is to avoid secluded and/or poorly lit places at night, as these areas are more prone to criminal activities.
If, God forbid, you are ever snatched up by someone, fight with all of your might to escape. Reach for their eyes and attempt to claw them out (not to be gruesome, but most people will let go of someone if they are reaching for their eyes and attempting to poke/claw them out). Make a huge scene and be as loud as you can, as to attract as much attention to the situation as possible. It is better to at least try to fight for your life than to allow them to take you to a secluded area, where they will most undoubtedly kill you.
When I worked late nights and early mornings for years, I always carried a can of wasp spray for protection. I was told that it is even more lethal than pepper spray, and that while criminals can "get used to" pepper spray, they cannot do this with wasp spray. It comes in a big, clunky can, which is certainly not convenient, but good for if you are opening or closing a place by yourself late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. I have also always carried the much smaller and easier to carry pepper spray both in my glove box in my car and in my purse. These do expire over time, so make sure to replace them as needed, and familiarize yourself with how to use them so you will be prepared if you ever need to. I still have the wasp spray in my car as well for the odd times I work alone and late.
Driving/Parking Lot Safety
When walking to my car in a parking lot, I always wait to unlock my door until I am at my car door, and immediately lock it once I am inside. It is also recommended to check your backseat before entering your vehicle. When I leave my car once I've parked, same thing; I immediately lock the door the moment I step out. Even while pumping gas at the gas station or stepping outside of my car quickly to grab something, I always lock my car door behind me.
I also hold my car keys in a manner to where they could be used as a weapon if needed. I was taught this when I first began driving as a teenager. This way, if I were ever to be grabbed in a parking lot, I wouldn't have to fumble for them (or anything else to use as a weapon) while trying to fight the perpetrator off, but yet I would have them already in my hand and ready to fight back with.
If you ever find yourself in the middle of a road rage incident, do not engage and simply try your best to ignore the other person. I try my best to refrain from gesturing, making faces, throwing my hands up in the air, etc., simply because you never know who is behind the wheel of the other car and what will set them off. People have been killed in road rage incidents, and a petty disagreement over driving is not worth anyone's life. If the other person persists even after you refuse to engage, call the police.
If you are ever being pulled over and question the authenticity of a cop car, I have always been recommended to call 911, or the local non-emergency number if you have it handy, to verify that it is, in fact, a real trooper pulling you over. While doing this, slow down a bit and turn your flashers on, while driving to the nearest well lit and occupied public place, especially at night.
Online Safety/Meeting Up with People
Never give out personal information and especially your home address to strangers, in person or online. If you decide to meet up with person with someone you met online, ALWAYS do it in a well populated public place and NEVER invite them to your home. Also NEVER accept an invitation from them into their home or to any secluded place. It is wise to not enter a vehicle with them or allow them into yours until you get to know them, as well. You don't yet know exactly who this person is or what their intentions are. Really, no matter where you meet someone, it is safest to make at least the first few meetings public.
One thing I think often goes unmentioned is to never post or send anything identifying (or linked to an identifying account) that you wouldn't be comfortable with being public knowledge. This includes private photos, secret confessions, etc. Do not ever allow anyone to try to manipulate you into sending anything you are not comfortable with, either. I watched a crime show on TV a few years back about a teenage girl who had just gotten a phone and social media, and was promptly sent a friend request by an adult male posing as a teenage boy who attended a nearby high school. They chatted online and eventually started an "online relationship" with each other, and he convinced her to send him a nude photo by pulling the "if you really love me, you'll do it" line. (Don't ever fall for that line of crap in any situation! If they really love YOU, they would never pressure you into doing something that makes you uncomfortable and has no benefit to you.) He ended up using the nude photos to blackmail her into meeting up with him and getting in his vehicle even though he was obviously not the guy in the photos on the profile, and he sadly ended up murdering her. I know most people probably think, "Well, most situations will not end in murder." But, why put yourself in a situation in which you could be publicly humiliated, blackmailed, or put in danger?
Not to mention that if anyone ever does try to blackmail you over something you sent, never be afraid to report it, regardless of how embarrassing it may feel, or if you are a minor, what consequences you might face if your parents find out. Your loved ones would much rather be disappointed in a mistake you made (and as long as you learn from it and nobody ends up hurt, that is all that matters), than have you end up in danger, missing, or dead.
If you are planning to leave town or are currently out of town, do not announce it on social media. Save your vacation photos for when you get back, instead. Most people have more than just very close friends and family added on social media (and some have public profiles as well), and you never really know what some of your Facebook/Instagram/etc. friends/followers' intentions might be. Posting anything indicating that you are not currently home or will not be home during a specific timeframe offers the perfect opportunity for someone to break in.
If you have newspapers delivered to your doorstep, have a neighbor or house sitter pick them up for you. Piled up newspapers, packages, and mail is a telltale sign that no one is home.
While I have been gone for short periods of time, I have left a small lamp on inside that is visible from outside of my house and makes it look occupied, or leaving the TV on. I have heard that leaving a radio or TV on is a good defense against burglars, as the sounds of voices (or just the sound of a radio or TV) make them think the house is occupied.
Stay Safe Out There!
I hope you enjoyed reading this and learned some valuable information! As I said above, please feel free to add any tips you know of as well!