Staying Safe in Your Car is Mostly Common Sense

Women In Car

Women Have A Higher Risk Of Being Unsafe In Their Cars

All South Africans are vulnerable to crime, but women are most at risk. And that risk becomes greater when a woman is driving. It is not that women are bad drivers – they are not. A woman in a car, or approaching her car or getting out of her car is visible to the predator out there. Most predator violations are opportunistic crimes. They strike when they have the opportunity to do so.

So, how do you minimise or avoid situations where you are vulnerable? Here are some ideas to ponder.

Maintain your vehicle

Breakdowns can happen at any time or place. In the middle of the day in a crowded street – it is an inconvenience. A lonely road or at night can be a serious problem. Make sure you do everything you can to avoid a breakdown. Service your car according to the schedule, and rather use a well-known company than the guy in his garage.

Between service intervals, check oil, water, brake fluid and tyre pressure. If your car suddenly needs a pint of oil two months after a service, have it checked. This could be a warning of something that is about to fail. Don’t just ask the attendant to make the tyres 2-Bar. Ask if any of the tyres were lower than the rest. If, so have it checked and fixed. A slow leak can suddenly become a fast leak. Make sure your spare tyre is inflated as well.

The most common and most preventable breakdown is running out of fuel. Pick a point on your fuel gauge, say a quarter-tank, and fill up when it gets there. Don’t drive on the yellow light. If you are travelling on the open road, find out how far the next filling station is and plan accordingly.

Plan your trip

WhatsApp someone at your destination when you leave, so they will know when to expect you. If you are not sure exactly where your destination is, take a couple of minutes to enter it into Google Maps or Waze. You don’t want to have to stop to do so or ask directions. But keep in mind you’re your app is a navigation aid, not the boss. Don’t let it direct you into a short-cut through dodgy areas. Keep on the road more travelled.

Keep alert

Keep your doors locked and windows closed. A handbag on the passenger seat is an invitation to a smash-and-grab. So are bags or valuables on the back seat.

Keep alert until you are safely out of your car and inside your destination. Many attacks or hijackings occur near or at home. This could be because the attacker knows you go there, or because people relax and drop their guard when arriving. If you think something is wrong at your destination, keep going. Phone a friend or the police.

But don’t let your phone become the problem. Speaking on your cell not only distracts you, it advertises that you are distracted. Avoid using your phone when you are parking and getting out, or when you are approaching your car to get in.

Park in a well-lit area, where there are people and security about. Before getting out of your car, have a look around. Lock your car and make sure it is locked, don’t rely only on the beep of your remote.

When approaching your car, have a look are the area around it and take a glance at the back seat. Don’t waste time getting into your car. Make sure you have your keys in your hand when you approach your car. Think. Stay alert.

This discussion does not mean you have to live a life of paranoid panic. The precautions listed here are common sense and should be second nature. You don’t have to be afraid, just alert, to stay as safe as you can.

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