Keeping you up to speed
It is much more commonplace for women to drive, and drive alone, today then it has been in the past because of lifestyle and work commitments. However, while men’s view of women drivers may be changing, the view of women as an easy target for attackers and thieves is just as strong.
On the whole, Britain’s roads are a safe place to drive for women’s drivers compared to many parts of the world; however, as a woman driving alone, there are a few things to avoid to reduce your risk.
Most thefts are opportunistic, so you can significantly reduce the risk by removing the opportunity. Don’t place your handbag, laptop or other valuables on the passenger seat as you drive. Women in particular tend to throw their handbags on the passenger seat. This places them closest to the kerb and is simply asking for trouble when you stop at lights or junctions. The same goes for valuable or obvious jewellery; wait until you get there before you put it on, so you are not driving around as an obvious and easy target for thieves.
You should try to keep your car doors locked at all times when you are driving, especially when you are in slow traffic in city centres. You should also make sure that your car is locked whenever you leave it, even if this is just for a few minutes while you pay for your petrol or nip into a shop.
You should never pull over in response to someone flashing you from behind, even if you suspect that there may be something wrong with your vehicle. This is especially true in remote or dangerous areas and women drivers are particularly at risk.
If you are flashed by an unmarked police car, you are not obliged to pull over unless you feel safe to do so. Instead, you should indicate that you have seen them, and drive slowly to a safe area, such as a 24 hour petrol station, where there will be other people around. Even then you should not open your door or window until you are completely satisfied that they are legitimate police officers. Check their ID, and if in doubt call the local police to verify their credentials.
It is worth noting that, according to the Police National Law Database, an unmarked police car cannot pull you over unless they have a uniformed officer with them.
Avoid rough parts of the city centres, roads through wasteland known to be dangerous and avoid minor roads as far as possible at night. Keep to main roads and carry an up-to-date map or have a satnav so that you can drive yourself out of trouble and get to a place of safety.
If you are a woman driving alone, it can be tempting to pick up hitch-hikers for some company, but this is simply asking for trouble. You should never give a lift to anyone you do not know and trust, even if it is a friend of a friend. It is simply not worth the risk.
Make sure you have a phone charger in the car so that if your mobile is running low on power you can charge it while you drive. This way you should not be caught out by a flat mobile battery. Just make sure that you have a hands free kit in your car if you do want to take call while driving.
Remember, the chances of anything happening to you are much smaller than the press horror stories would have you believe. Nonetheless, following these few simple tips can help to make sure that you are safe on the roads when you drive alone.