The common question of which gender is “better” on the roads is one that is always argued over. In most cases, it is posed with driver behaviour in mind and not so much with the consideration of driver vulnerability to lurking dangers.
With hazards such as carjacking, abductions, preying criminals and police impersonators a reality, women traveling alone need to consider the following:
- Always be alert – take note of your surroundings. When you park, always do so in a well-lit parking area with frequent movement from other shoppers or security personnel. Don’t linger in your car– this makes you vulnerable to predators. It is also wise to be conscious and aware of landmarks as it may come in handy should you need to inform someone of your whereabouts.
- Keep your valuables out of sight– the last thing you want is to attract chancers and become a smash-and-grab Don’t leave your handbag, purse, phone etc. in plain sight as this will make you more of a target.
- Don’t stop for just anyone – with all the lurking dangers, you simply can’t just trust anyone. Be aware of police impersonators, hitchhikers and “stranded motorists”. If a police vehicle tries to pull you over and you feel unsafe, acknowledge them and indicate that you wish to be followed to the nearest police station or public area. Don’t ever assume that an unmarked vehicle with flashing lights is a police car.
- Plan your trips– make sure you’ve mapped out the route you’re traveling on to avoid getting lost or having to stop in awkward places. Don’t drive in the dark if you are not familiar with the surroundings. It is also a good habit to always let someone know of your whereabouts to ensure your own safety should you need help sent to you.
- Make use of technology– install a personal safety app such as the MiWay App on your phone in case you need emergency assistance while traveling alone. Make sure your phone is charged as you will need it to get help should anything happen to you.
- Keep your car well maintained – a well-maintained car is less likely to break down or give you problems. Keep your car in good mechanical condition and have it serviced regularly, especially if you frequently drive alone. It will also be wise to learn how to do some DIY maintenance like changing a tyre. Also, make sure your car insurance covers you for road side assistance.
- Fill up– Always have enough fuel to get to your destination. You don’t want to be making random stops at gas stations while preying criminals are lurking.
While keeping in mind these safety tips, be wary of the common distractions that could also leave you more vulnerable and open to preying criminals. When driving at night, avoid answering your phone and always keep your eyes on the road.
Remember to always keep a safe following distance to allow yourself opportunity to escape should danger arise. Keep your doors locked at all times and arrive alive!