20 Dangerous Mistakes to Avoid When Living Alone

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Living alone can be a liberating experience, filled with plenty of “me time,” fun with friends, and self-discovery. Yet, it can quickly become risky if you make these common mistakes.

Taking Extended Hot Showers or Baths


When living alone, it’s important to be cautious about the temperature and duration of your showers or baths. Prolonged exposure to hot water can cause your blood vessels to widen, which in turn increases the risk of fainting. 

If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, listen to your body—turn off the water and sit down to prevent any injuries in case you faint. Ending your shower with a burst of cool water might also help stabilize your body temperature and reduce the likelihood of fainting.

Displaying Valuables for All to See


Leaving valuables like cash, jewelry, or high-tech gadgets in plain view through your windows is practically a showcase invitation for thieves. To prevent tempting passersby, make sure to keep these items out of sight. 

Drawing the curtains or using blinds enhances privacy and reduces the risk of break-ins. It’s a simple step that goes a long way in safeguarding your precious belongings from unwanted attention.

Keeping the House in Darkness

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A dark home might save on your electric bill, but it also signals to intruders that no one is home—or worse, that it’s an easy target. 

Keeping your living spaces adequately lit, particularly in the evenings, can deter potential burglars. Investing in motion-activated lights or smart home systems that simulate occupancy can be effective strategies to keep your home secure while you’re away or asleep.

Sleeping Next to a Charging Phone


It might be convenient to have your phone within arm’s reach at night (especially if it’s charging), but his habit can be riskier than you might think.

Charging phones can overheat—especially if placed on beds or under pillows where airflow is blocked—leading to potential fires while you’re both asleep and home alone! For safety, it’s best to charge your phone away from flammable materials and not directly by your side while you sleep.

Leaving the Door Open to Strangers


Engaging with strangers at your doorstep can be risky when living alone. 

For example, if you open the door without verifying who’s outside, you might encounter unwanted guests—or worse, individuals with harmful intentions. It’s smarter to use peepholes or security cameras to check the identity of visitors before opening up.

Stashing Spare Keys Outside


Gone are the days when hiding a key under the mat was considered safe—times have changed, and this practice now invites more risk than convenience. If you’re still tucking your spare key in such predictable spots (like under a plant or inside a mailbox), you might as well roll out the red carpet for intruders.

Instead of relying on old habits, consider upgrading to a secure smart lock or a lockbox that only you can access. If high-tech solutions aren’t an option, entrusting a neighbor or friend with your spare key is a safer bet.

Ignoring Unusual Neighborhood Activity


Sometimes, the signs of potential danger come from the familiar—like unusual behavior from neighbors or strangers near your home. 

Turning a blind eye to suspicious activity can increase your vulnerability. Staying alert and reporting anything out of the ordinary can protect your home and also maintain the overall safety of your community.

Walking at Home Alone at Night


Walking home alone (especially through poorly lit or unfamiliar areas) can make you an easy target for threats. To enhance your safety, try to return home before it gets too late or arrange for someone to accompany you to your doorstep. 

If you find yourself alone frequently, consider carrying a self-defense tool like pepper spray or a personal alarm—these can provide a security boost when you need it most.

Neglecting to Secure the Garage Door


Leaving the garage door open (even for a brief period) is basically rolling out the welcome mat for intruders. The garage serves as a secondary entrance to your home and should be treated with the exact same security precautions as your front door. 

Burglars often scout for the path of least resistance, and an unsecured garage door offers just that. Moreover, if your garage houses tools like ladders, you might inadvertently provide a thief with the means to break into your home more easily. Taking a moment to close and lock your garage can significantly enhance your home’s security and prevent potential break-ins.

Announcing Your Solo Status Online

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Letting the world know you’re by yourself at home through social media might seem like a casual update, yet it could unintentionally make you a target. 

This info can help potential intruders plan when you’re vulnerable and make their wicked plans accordingly. Keeping such personal details under wraps protects your privacy and keeps your safety intact.

Broadcasting Your Location Online


While sharing every aspect of life on social media is quite common, posting your address or location can provide key information for criminals planning identity theft, fraud, or worse. 

While garnering likes for your home photos, you could inadvertently make yourself an appealing target. Living alone necessitates limiting personal details shared online, adjusting your privacy settings to keep location data private, and being selective about who can view your social media profiles.

Allowing Unverified Maintenance Workers Inside


Inviting maintenance workers into your home without proper verification can pose a serious security risk. Always ensure that any service personnel have valid identification and are expected. 

If in doubt, confirm their visit with the company before letting them in. This small step can prevent potential threats from gaining easy access to your home.

Lacking an Emergency Plan

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Not having a prepared response for emergencies (such as fires, burglaries, or natural disasters) can leave you vulnerable when quick action is needed. 

Establishing an emergency plan and familiarizing everyone in the household with it ensures that you can act quickly and safely in critical situations.

Not Keeping Your Cell Phone Charged


For those living alone, maintaining a charged cell phone is more than a convenience—it’s a critical safety measure. In an emergency, having your phone ready and able to call for help can be life-saving, especially since you might be the only one in the house. 

Treat your phone’s battery life seriously: keep it charged above 50% to ensure you’re always prepared. Although modern batteries are designed to handle regular charging, it’s smart not to keep it plugged in constantly at 100% to optimize its longevity and performance.

Leaving Deliveries Unattended

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Online shopping is convenient, but having packages left at your doorstep can attract thieves. To minimize the risk of theft, try to take deliveries inside promptly or consider alternative delivery options like a secure parcel locker or leaving them with a neighbor you trust. 

This step protects your purchases from potential thieves and also shields them from damaging weather conditions.

Forgetting to Secure Entrances


It’s easy to forget about locking up, especially after a long day. However, leaving entry points unsecured is practically an invitation to trouble. 

Always double-check windows and doors before settling down (a quick walk-through could save the day). This habit ensures no unwanted guests can make an easy entrance.

Skipping Home Security Measures

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It might seem excessive to some, but a robust home security system is critical in deterring burglaries. Not having such security measures can leave your home perceived as an easy target. 

Modern security systems come equipped with everything—cameras, alarms, and even remote communication features that alert you and the authorities of any unauthorized attempts to enter your home. Investing in a good security system enhances your safety and could also reduce your home insurance premiums, making it a beneficial addition regardless

Not Knowing Your Neighbors

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Knowing your neighbors—and them knowing you—acts as one of the most effective security measures. If neighbors are aware that you live alone, they can be extra vigilant. 

For instance, they might notice if someone unfamiliar is trying to enter your home and can quickly alert authorities if they hear or see anything suspicious. Establishing a friendly rapport with those living nearby fosters a sense of community and adds a layer of safety for times when you might be vulnerable.

Sleeping With Candles Burning


Going to bed while candles are still lit could set the stage for a dangerous situation. If left unattended, candles can cause the wax to overheat and ignite, potentially setting nearby items like curtains or furniture ablaze. 

Always snuff out candles before bedtime!

Forgetting to Turn Off Location Services


When you’re living alone, it’s tempting to use social media to connect and share snippets of your daily life (like binge-watching your favorite series or showcasing your lunch), but you need to ensure that these posts aren’t accidentally revealing your location. 

Some social platforms might share your location in subtle ways, which could be risky if it’s clear you’re always home alone. Tweaking your privacy settings to prevent location sharing and being mindful of the details you post can significantly enhance your security.

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Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.