All motorists need to be careful on the roads, but female drivers need to be even more attentive to a potential hijacking or sexual assault.
With this in mind, Niki Cronje, Group Marketing at IMPERIAL Road Safety, shares some tips women should keep in mind when driving on our roads.
- Getting into your vehicle
- Hold your keys in your hand as you approach your parked car. Don’t wait until you reach the car to search for them in your purse, as this is when you are most vulnerable.
- Before you get in, have a glance inside to check all is well and that no one is hiding inside.
- Before you pull off, get into the habit of ensuring that your handbag is out of sight, either locked in the boot of your vehicle or underneath your seat.
- Similarly, the best place to keep a laptop is in the boot – away from prying eyes that may look into your vehicle when you stop at a robot or stop street.
- Avoid unnecessary distractions
- Put your cellphone into your handbag, so that it is out of sight. This way you are less of a target at a robot or intersection, and you aren’t distracted by messages and social media.
- If you have to use your mobile to make or accept a call, rather install a hands-free kit.
- Never text and drive, as this could slow down your brake reaction speed by 18%, meaning that by the time you have realised you need to break it is likely too late.
- Try to keep the volume of your sound system at a reasonable level so that you are aware of your surroundings.
- Keep in mind in an emergency
- Should your vehicle break down, pull over, turn the hazard lights on and call for emergency assistance.
- If someone offers to help you, stay in your vehicle and roll down the window just enough to tell the person that help is on the way, or to ask them to make a phone call if you do not have a phone.
- Never accept a ride with someone you don’t know no matter how friendly they may seem. Stay in your vehicle until help arrives.
- Empower yourself
- The more you know the basic maintenance tips, the less the chance of you being the damsel in distress.
- Practise changing a tyre and learn how to jump-start a battery.
- Get into the habit of filling when the tank’s half empty, rather than waiting for the warning light.
- Get faults fixed promptly rather than waiting for them to get worse.
- Keep your car in good mechanical condition and have it serviced regularly by a reputable garage.
- If you are being followed
- If you believe a car is following you, turn into a different road than the one you would normally take. Should the other vehicle turn into the same road, take a few more turns, while avoiding any dead-end roads. If the other vehicle continues to stick with you, and you are convinced that you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station.
- If the police station is too far or you don’t know where it is, drive to the nearest petrol station or shopping centre.
Source: IMPERIAL Road Safety Image: Land Rover