10 tips for women driving alone
How to feel safer when driving alone
As modern, independent women – we often drive alone, we get ourselves where we need to be day or night. Women are regarded in the insurance industry as "safer” drivers and less likely to be in a road accident. The sad reality, however, is that even though all motorists need to be alert and cautious, female drivers, unfortunately have to be even more vigilant in order to avoid falling prey to criminal acts such as hijacking, intimidation or worse.
With these kinds of hazards in mind, we suggest these 10 safety tips for women traveling alone:
1. Always be alert
Take note of your surroundings, it is also wise to be cognisant and aware of landmarks as it may come in handy should you need to inform someone of your whereabouts.
When you park, always do so in a well-lit parking area with frequent movement from other shoppers or security personnel. Do not linger in your car, move swiftly – lingering makes you vulnerable to predators.
2. Keep your valuables out of sight
Do not leave your handbag, purse, phone, laptop or any valuables in plain sight. The last thing you want is to attract smash-and-grabbers – leaving valuables in sight will make you more of a target.
3. Plan your trips
Make sure you know the route you will be traveling, to avoid getting lost or having to stop in awkward places.
Map it out or programme it into your GPS before you go. Do not drive in the dark if you are not familiar with the surroundings. It is also a good habit to always let someone know where you are going to ensure your own safety.
4. Do not stop for just anyone
You simply cannot 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.
Do not ever assume that an unmarked vehicle with flashing lights is a police car.
5. Make use of technology
Use a GPS or the maps application on your phone to give you directions. Make sure your phone is charged as you will need it to get help should anything happen to you.
6. 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 at a reputable service centre, especially if you frequently drive alone.
Also, make sure your car insurance covers you for roadside assistance and keep their emergency help number handy.
7. Fill up
Always check your fuel level before traveling anywhere. You do not want to be making random stops at unfamiliar petrol stations in the dark, in areas you are not familiar with.
8. Do not be distracted
Be wary of the common distractions that could also leave you more vulnerable and open to preying criminals. When driving, avoid answering your phone and always keep your eyes on the road.
Read '5 tips to avoid distractions whilst driving' here.
9. Practice extra caution
Remember to always keep a safe following distance to allow yourself the opportunity to escape should danger arise. Always keep your doors locked and windows opened at a controlled level.
10. Follow your instincts
If you feel uneasy, trust your gut.
Drive straight to a place of safety – a family member or friends’ home or the nearest police station.