College students are starting a new school year. But with that comes risks, so Inside Edition enlisted the help of safety expert Steve Kardian to get his tips on staying safe as a young woman away at school.
One of the most vulnerable times for young women is from August to Thanksgiving, according to Kardian. It's a time known as the red zone period, and it's when women are most at risk for sexual assault, typically because many are away from home for the first time and don't yet have an established group of friends.
Unfortunately, that means going on the offensive to avoid becoming a victim. Kardian recommends keeping a close eye on your drinks and never leaving them unattended. Not paying attention leaves you at risk of being taken advantage of.
He also says there's safety in numbers. If you gather a group to go out together, make sure you're all together at the end of the evening. And if you're using a ride-sharing service to travel to and from parties or bars, always check the license plate, car make and model, and driver photo to ensure you're getting in the right vehicle. Whatever you do, don't fall asleep in the car.
Above all? Trust your gut. If someone seems fishy, they probably are. And if someone gets too close, don't hesitate to defend yourself.
Check out the video above for more tips.