Female? Driving alone? Our tips for keeping safe
It is a sad reality, but women drivers are at risk when driving on their own, especially at night. Thankfully, attacks, thefts and other issues are quite rare, but they do happen. So if you are out on your own, there are a number of steps that you should consider to ensure your safety and security:
- Get ready while approaching your vehicle – have your keys out of your bag as you approach your car, but do not use remote locking until you are at the vehicle. Always check before you get in that there is no one hiding inside, then lock the doors as soon as you are safely in.
- Keep the doors locked – this is particularly important when driving at night or in rough or remote areas. Stop at a red light and it takes a thief just a few seconds to open the passenger door and steal your bag or your mobile phone. Keeping the doors locked also prevents an attacker from getting into the car to assault you, or pulling you out of the car to steal it.
- Keep valuables out of sight – don’t leave valuable items, such as your handbag, laptop or mobile phone on the passenger seat. You should also avoid driving while wearing expensive jewellery or watches that show when your hands are on the wheel.
- Keep moving – try to avoid stopping in unfamiliar areas, even to ask for directions when you are lost and never stop for anyone who flashes you from behind or pulls alongside you pointing at your tyres. Find somewhere safe and well lit, such as a garage or a fast food restaurant, and pull in there to get directions or check your vehicle.
- Keep your car well maintained – have a regular service, get any problems fixed sooner rather than later and make sure your tyre pressures are correct and that you carry spare water for your windscreen washer bottle. You are less likely to end up in an unexpected situation in which you could be left vulnerable.
- Don’t risk running out of fuel – no woman, or indeed man, wants to be stranded on their own at the roadside waiting to be rescued, so make sure you keep your tank topped up to avoid running out. Regular servicing is also important to reduce the risk of breakdowns.
- Keep your phone with you – if you do breakdown, or get lost, you need to know that you can summon help as quickly as possible from a trusted source, such as your breakdown recovery service. Just make sure it’s not on view.
- Trust no one – it’s a romantic notion that a knight in shining armor will come to your aid at the roadside and help you out, but in reality, you can’t tell the heroes from the villains. It’s best to be cautious about any offers of help from strangers. Similarly, you should not stop to help anyone who looks stranded and you should never pick up hitchhikers.
- Ensure you have a map with you – Sat Nav and maps on phones are great when you have a signal and when they’ve been programmed correctly. For times when they fail you, the old fashioned map may well save you.
- Asking for directions – if you do have to ask for directions, try not to wind the window down completely, only a few inches so that it would prevent an arm coming through and stealing anything from your passenger seat or unlocking the door.