Pepper Spray: Like Dialing a Phone or Driving a Car?
April 6th, 2012
Dialing a telephone is pretty simple. Pick up receiver, press buttons, say hello. Even babies catch on quickly. When you look at a canister of pepper spray, it ostensibly seems just as simple to use. Grip, unlock, point, and spray. And it almost is that simple in casual circumstances, but you have to consider the pressure you would be under in the event of an attack.
Think about the first time you got into the driver’s seat of a car. It feels strangely foreign. You probably didn’t get behind the wheel for the first time on a highway. It’s more likely you started out in an empty parking lot.
The first-time driver starts by getting comfortable with switching from gas to break and back while staying between the lines. After a couple hours of this, the new driver is feeling pretty confident with the simple movement of gas, break, steer in the empty parking lot. No problem.
Now it’s time for the open road. Shortly after pulling onto the street, an aggressive driver comes speeding up behind the student driver. That one second is flooded with uncertainty and extreme pressure not to crash. Consequently, the learner loses control, drives up onto the curb, and slams on the breaks. What happened?
The Police Policy Study Council says “with intense fear, there is also temporary loss of fine visual-motor (e.g. eye-hand) coordination.” On the other hand, this can be combatted with experience, familiarity, and practice.
Learning how to use pepper spray is far from the ordeal of learning how to drive, but they are similar in that building confidence will help you cope in a stressful situation. You can start by simply holding the spray in your hand, getting comfortable with the shape and unlocking the safety tab. Practice this until you are able to pick up the spray with your eyes closed and know which way is forward. (Do not deploy spray with eyes closed!)
The next step would be purchasing an inert practice canister. This will give you the opportunity to deploy a spray safely with water. You can experience first-hand the distance it gives you and how quickly you are able point and spray.
Finally, the Sabre Personal Safety Academy provides even more critical, life-saving skills. You gain the necessary reality-based practice to most effectively protect yourself in a high-stress situation. These classes will help reduce fear during an attack, giving you the greatest advantage to escape.