Statistics show that while women are less likely to be involved in accidents, they are at risk from criminals of various kinds – especially when driving alone. Criminals see solo woman drivers as soft targets.

 

So what basic precautions should women take in order to minimise the chances of falling prey to carjackers, kidnappers or other criminals? Overall, the key to safety lies in always being alert. Some other tips to consider when travelling alone include:

 

  1. Plan your trips. Make sure you mapped out the route you’re traveling on to avoid getting lost or having to stop in awkward places. Don’t drive in the dark if you are not familiar with the surroundings. It’s also a good habit to always let someone know of your whereabouts to ensure your own safety should you need help.
  2. Make use of technology. Install a personal safety app such as the MiWay App on your phone to make calling for emergency assistance quick. Make sure your phone is charged as you will need it to get help should anything happen to you.
  3. Take note of your surroundings – and act accordingly. For instance, always park in a well-lit parking area with frequent movement from other shoppers or security personnel – and always have your keys in hand when approaching your parked car. Don’t linger around in your car at any time as this makes you vulnerable to predators. It is also wise to be conscious and aware of landmarks as it may come in handy should you need to inform someone of your whereabouts. At traffic lights, don’t be distracted by your phone or allow yourself to relax. Criminals often linger at busy intersections, watching for an opportunity.
  4. 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, especially if you frequently drive alone. It will also be wise to learn how to do some DIY maintenance like changing a tyre. Also, ensure your car insurance covers you for roadside assistance.
  5. Don’t stop for just 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 and follow the correct protocol. Don’t ever assume that an unmarked vehicle with flashing lights is a police car.
  6. Fill up. Make sure you have enough fuel to get to your destination. Don’t risk making stops at unfamiliar petrol stations where criminals are lurking.
  7. Keep your valuables out of sight. The last thing you want is to attract chancers and become a smash-and-grab victim. Don’t leave your handbag, purse, phone or any other valuables in plain sight as this will make you more of a target.

 

In general, be aware that anything that distracts you while in the vehicle could also leave you more vulnerable and open to preying criminals. There are many common distractions that could make you a target while you are driving a vehicle: be aware that criminals could be watching, waiting for you to be distracted. Remember to always keep a safe following distance to allow yourself opportunity to escape should danger arise. Keep your doors locked at all times and arrive alive!

 

MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970)

About The Author

Tumiso Mfisa

I'm currently a final year student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, studying ND: Management. I'm also an intern at Spice4life, and I define myself as the man of God, businessman, motivational speaker, debater, preacher, day maker and most importantly the family man. I'm goal driven and always look to assist others wherever I can.

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