As women, we should know that we are the easier targets for hijacking and other scary car-related situations. We hear those tips on staying safe, be it on Facebook, from the police or from a friend, but do we really act on those tips and do enough to ensure our safety?
We at Women on Wheels have talked to a few knowledgeable people when it comes to the above-mentioned topic, and we have assembled the following list of DO’s and DON’Ts.
Firstly, there are reasons that women are the ‘easier’ targets, and it is not always because we are the ‘less muscled gender’. Apparently, ladies tend to be less aware and alert than our fellow guys. You have to know where you are and what is going on in your surroundings. Our body language shows that we are more vulnerable. Always keep your body in an upright position and look attentive when walking to your car alone.
If you are getting into your car after shopping, visiting a friend, or a party, DO NOT sit and linger in your car and check your phone or scramble around in your handbag. This only gives the predator more time to check you out.
This is a very simple one, a good percentage of women don’t lock their doors. Please girls, as soon as you get into your car DO lock your doors before you drive.
Watch out for persons following you to your car. If you notice a dodgy guy walking alone and strangely in the direction you are walking, rather be safe than sorry and DO walk into a crowd or walk back into the mall etc. Rather ask a guard or a security person to accompany you back to your car.
DO park in a well-lit, busy parking area. Avoid the secluded parking areas.
DO service your car when it is necessary. This is a good precaution as it will give you the surety that your car won’t break down easily.
Always DO have a fully charged cell phone with you if you know you will be driving alone and in case your car does break down, you get lost or feel unsafe.
Always know where you are heading. DON’T just drive into strange places if you don’t know the directions or make sure you have a GPS-device. You don’t want to find yourself alone at night in a dodgy neighbourhood.
DON’T run out of fuel. Fill up rather than waiting for the warning light.
DO learn how to change a tyre, jumpstart a car and replace a wiper blade.
DO keep your valuables out of sight- especially when you are stopping at crowded robots.
When you stop in traffic or park DO leave enough space to pull out from behind the car in front of you.
DON’T pick up hitchhikers- women tend to be more sympathetic, but you never know. A well-dressed person might be the next predator!
If you are in the situation where the predator has a gun/weapon, but you are not under his control DO run. If he does shoot he will only have a small chance (not even 10%) of hitting you.
DO have an emergency kit in your car that contains a warm coat, blanket, comfy shoes, water, snacks, a flashlight and maybe an extra emergency cell phone. You never know what you might need in case of an engine failure.
If you suspect that you are being followed or you have car trouble or a flat tyre late at night, DO drive to the nearest public place or police station.
DON’T assume that any vehicle with flashing lights is a police car. If that vehicle tries to pull you over, keep on driving until you can pull over in a well-lit area. Park as close as you can to the entrance and hoot to attract attention. Should the vehicle following you be genuine police, they will approach you. When they do, open the window just enough to speak to them and ask to see their police IDs. If they are indeed police and you still feel unsafe you should not exit the vehicle. You have the right to drive to the nearest police station. So make sure you know the police stations in your area.
DO try to rather drive in a group, even if you are only two people. If you have to drive alone at night try to have a cap on your head or another disguise so that some predators mistake you for a guy.
When it comes to the safety of our fellow women, we fall onto the old, yet reliable motto ‘rather be safe than sorry’. Safety precautions might be a little extra effort, but it is definitely worth it.