Have you ever felt frightened or intimidated when walking to your car? Have you ever wondered what you should do if approached by an attacker? Have you ever worried about becoming yet another car thief victim?
The sad reality is that we live in an increasingly violent society in which the fear of crime is ever-present. Personal safety has become an issue of importance for everyone, but especially for women
Tip 1 – Jump the lonely robot
If it is safe to do so, treat the deserted traffic light as a stop street, especially if you are in a high crime area at night and you’re driving alone. Sitting at a traffic light when nobody is around automatically puts a bullseye on the back window of your car. Obviously, I am loath to promote illegal activity, but this is the lesser of the two evils. Just be sure that the road is clear of traffic and pedestrians. Be sure to look out for vehicles that may be driving without lights and pedestrians can be especially hard to see at night. Proceed with caution.
Tip 2 – Be careful where you park
Find a well-lit spot that is easily seen, whether it’s indoors or out. If you plan on being out late at night (whether for work or pleasure); and didn’t get a ‘good’ parking when you arrived, keep an eye out for a better spot and take a moment to move your car while there’s still lots of movement outside. Avoid spots where few cars are parked and greet your car park attendant, it will make them more aware of your vehicle and they will also keep an eye out for you when you return (also it’s an unspoken way of saying you will tip if your car is safe upon your return, so do that as well).
Tip 3 – Always have your keys in hand
If you’re about to leave the building to walk toward your car make sure you have your keys in hand. You can’t be digging around in your handbag for your keys, especially if you need to get into your car quickly – should things turn sour.
Tip 4 – Always let someone know where you are going
Before you head out alone, let someone know where you are heading, when you expect to be there and when you expect to get back. This allows for point of reference should you ever be hi-jacked or taken (God forbid). It’s also I great way of planning ahead, especially if you are going to a new location, map the route so you don’t get lost. Don’t forget to check-in with that person from time to time. It is no fun having your big night out interrupted by armed security guards and or the police searching for you at your last known location, just because you forgot to tell Aunty May that you had arrived at Beefcake’s on time as planned!
Tip 5 – Pay attention to the vehicles around you
If you have any suspicion that you’re being followed, alert a loved one and stay on call (via hands-free) with them noting your location. In the case where you see adjacent cars pulling up fast, or coming up fast behind you – honk your horn continuously, check if it is safe to proceed and drive toward a populated area – like a mall, or better yet, a police station, provided you know where it is, and it is safe to get there.
Tip 6 – Use all your car’s safety features
Lock the doors, rollup your windows to the point where it’s impossible to stick your finger in through the opening and store your handbag under the passenger seat or in your boot. Keep your pepper spray/taser in the door panel of the driver’s door for easy access. Stow flats under driver seat for a quick change should you need to run the moment you leave your car. You can also consider installing anti smash film on your car windows if you don’t already have it.
When you’re a woman driving alone, car crashes are far from the only risk you face. Hi-jacking, abduction and smash-and-grab incidents as well as being targeted by sexual predators – all pose additional hazards for women.