Driving Alone as a Female
Women driving alone need to take extra precautionary measures.
If you notice that a vehicle has been tailing you, switch to a familiar road which you normal use when driving. It is important to be stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Should the vehicle follow you onto the same road, make a few other detours. Should the other vehicle persist to follow you, you can assume that you have become a target for foul play.
Avoid stopping and allowing the other driver to pull up alongside you, or trying to drive away from them. Instead, it is advisable to drive to the nearest police station. If a police station is too far away or you are unaware of where one is situated, drive to the nearest petrol station or shopping mall.
If possible, avoid driving in unfamiliar areas during dusk or late hours of the evening.
Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged, and invest in a charger for your vehicle.
If your vehicle is compromised in any way, pull off onto the side of the road and make a call for roadside/emergency assistance. Should someone offer to help you, remain in your vehicle and open the window by a few centimetres – just enough to notify the person that help is on its way, or to request that they assist in making a call, should you not have a phone.
Never accept a lift from someone you do not know.
Make sure that your car is regularly serviced and do a motor vehicle inspection before every long-distance trip.
Learn how to change a tyre, how to jump-start your battery with jumper cables, and how to change your window wipers. The more you familiarise yourself with basic maintenance, the less chance that you’ll end up in an emergency situation.
As a woman, you are often a target for offenders on the road who may try and make contact with you, despite the type of motor vehicle you drive. The safest reaction is not to react at all. Do not make eye contact with someone trying to get your attention. Keep driving or take a detour at the next intersection or robot. If it is a case of road rage, avoid getting into an altercation and ignore the person instead.
Keep the volume of your car radio or sound system to a reasonable level to ensure that you remain focused and alert on the road.
Despite how tempting it may be to text while driving or to update the status of your social media profiles while you’re stuck in traffic, you’re putting yourself at risk of being a victim of a hijacking or smash-and-grab incident. Remember, your phone should be turned off or placed on silent when you step into a vehicle. Texting and driving makes you vulnerable to the element of surprise that comes with hijacking and the likes.
Ensure that your vehicle is locked at all times, even when in motion. Many vehicles come with central locking systems which are highly beneficial.
Make sure that the windows of your car are not completely open, especially when nearing a crossing or robots.
Parking lots or shopping malls is a hotspot for all types of criminals. Make sure that you have your car keys in hand before exiting any building. Avoid using your cell phone in case it distracts you from your surroundings. Do not get involved with any strangers.
Should a large vehicle be parked alongside yours, or you feel uncomfortable approaching your vehicle for whatsoever reason, find a security guard to walk with you. When nearing your vehicle, be sure to circle your vehicle and check for any irregularities before entering it.
Be especially vigilant in connection to your tyres in case criminals have placed sharp objects in front of or behind your wheels in an effort to puncture your tyres.
When loading goods into the back of your vehicle, position your body and shopping cart so that you are at an advantage with a potential aggressor. Avoid using your cell phone or rummaging in your handbag, and do not lean too far into the back of your vehicle.
Lastly, do not just assume that an unmarked vehicle with flashing lights is naturally an official police vehicle. If you are unsure and a “police vehicle” approaches and tries to pull you over, keeping driving until you approach a well-lit area such as a petrol station. Park as closely as possible to the entrance of the kiosk or in line with a petrol pump. This will attract the attention of the petrol attendants and you will be much safer. Should the vehicle following you be actual police offers, they will approach you. Open the window just enough to converse with them and ask to see for their official police identification.
Remember, certain criminals use police uniforms to commit crimes, but at least there are people in the surrounding area and within open and well-lit areas. Stay safe, ladies!
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