Best Safety Tips for Women Driving Alone
As the crime rate surges in a society, it is the women who are most affected by it. And these aren’t just women at home; women driving on the roads are equally vulnerable. Criminals often perceive women drivers as vulnerable and target them for carjacking, robbery and even sexual assault.

On this International Women’s Day where we celebrate the many achievements of women, we shouldn’t forget that this is the 21st century and women still think twice about driving alone. This becomes an even bigger challenge when a woman has to drive alone at night.

While we cannot change societal attitudes overnight, we can provide some safety tips to our women drivers. These should be able to help them stay safe on the road.

Here they are,

Well maintained car

Women often fall victim to heinous crimes when their cars break down on the road. Therefore, a well maintained car is your best friend on the road.

Before leaving home make sure there is enough petrol in your car. Also give a quick look at the tyres. A flat tyre is easily noticeable. A tyre with low air pressure is also noticeable. Practice changing tyres at home quickly.

What is not easily noticeable is the car’s coolant level, including the battery’s coolant level. Make sure you learn how to check them.

What if your car breaks down

What to do if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere?

You need to note your location and try to figure out where you are. Similarly, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Look for a landmark, a milestone, lamppost, or anything else that would help a person easily and quickly find you. Then call someone you trust like a family member or a friend. Also call the police and give them your location.

If you’re stranded on a Motorway, call their emergency number: 130.

What if you have a flat tyre?

It’s dark. You don’t know where you are and you think one of the tyres has gone flat. What should you do in this situation?

Slow down and drive to the nearest petrol station if you see one nearby. Otherwise, simply drive to the nearest public place. Also, keeping a tyre sealant and an inflator in your car at all times is a great idea. The sealant will quickly plug the leakage and the inflator will inflate your tyre in no time and you’ll be on your way.

Where to park at night?

Park your car in a well-lit spot. Also make sure you do not park in a deserted parking lot. There needs to be cars where you park. However, do not park next to a car with tinted windows. You can’t tell who is sitting in there.

Lock the doors

As you sit inside the car, make sure to lock all the doors and roll up all the windows. Not all cars come with an auto-lock function, so you’ll have to make sure that the doors are locked. And if your car doesn’t have AC and it’s hot, roll down the windows enough where you get in outside air. Avoid rolling windows all the way down especially when you’re stuck in traffic.

A distracted driver is a vulnerable driver

Stay vigilant and alert at all times. You should be able to tell what’s happening around your car. You should be able to tell who is driving oddly in front of you or who has been behind you for a while. And to stay alert and vigilant, you need to avoid using mobile phones or switching music channels, etc.

Is someone chasing you?

Never leave home without having the emergency number – 15 – on your speed dial. If you think you’re being chased, never doubt yourself and call the police.

“Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt”

Once you’ve made contact with them, tell them where you are and where you’re headed. It is better if you can drive straight to the nearest police station. However, for this to happen, you’d need to know beforehand where it is. If you can’t drive down to the nearest police station, then drive to the nearest petrol pump, market, bank or any other place where there are a lot of people.

Do not stop till you get to a safe place even if it means not stopping at traffic lights, etc.

Change your route as often as possible

As a general practice, don’t follow the same route everyday.

Also, avoid leaving your home, or office at the same time. If you can’t change the road back to your home or office, etc., you can always break your journey by stopping over at a relative or friend’s place before heading again for your final destination.

Having the knowledge of how to use Google Maps is a plus since it would help you choose alternative routes.

Do not help others on the road

Yes you read it right. It’s not a typo.

This is especially true when you are driving alone. Remember your car is your fortress. As soon as you step out of it, you lose that protection.

If you see someone in need, what you can do is call the police or RESCUE at 1122 for them. There is no need to stop for them, get out of the car and enquire about their health, etc.

Let your friends and family know where you are

When leaving work at night, for example, call home and tell someone that you are about to leave and should be home by a specific time. Also tell them the route. If you have to make a stop on the way, inform your family.

Ignore and drive on

If someone throws an egg on your windshield, DO NOT switch on the wipers. If you do, you won’t be able to see ahead. Just make do with the limited vision and keep driving. The idea once again is to get somewhere safe.

Similarly, if there’s a fluttering pamphlet outside, do not try to remove it. You can remove it when you reach home/office.

Road rage and tailgating

Tailgating is dangerous, intimidating and against the law.

If someone is tailgating you, let them pass. Do not engage with an idiot on the road, it is not worth it. However, if someone is tailgating you on purpose, do not slow down and flash your brake lights; it will likely aggravate the situation. Rather you should diffuse the situation by changing lanes and letting him pass. DO NOT make eye contact with him.

If this doesn’t diffuse the situation, change route and go to a public place and park in front of a bank or inside a petrol station where there are armed guards. Stay inside the car. If he shows up there as well, call the police.

What to do if someone offers help?

So you’re stranded on the road and someone approaches you to help. What should you do?

Roll down your window only a few centimeters. Make sure you do not get out of the car and that the doors are locked. Tell the person the police know where you are and they are on their way or your family and friends are coming over.
If the person tries to break into your car, start honking the horn as much as you can.
No matter how much of a gentleman he looks, do not get out of the car or accept food and water from him; follow him or accept a ride from him.
Additional safety tip

At the traffic signal. Always leave enough space between your car and the car in front. This will help you pull out quickly if you find yourself in a sticky situation.

Sum Up
A former US First Lady once said: ‘The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls.’

We know where our society stands vis-a-vis women freedom. Therefore, identifying the problem alone isn’t enough. A wise man once said: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

While we hope our archaic attitudes are changing for the better, what can we do as a society in the meanwhile?

Change begins at home. It is taught in schools. And it takes time. So, while we go through an attitudinal evolutional, the above mentioned tips should help our women drivers stay safe on the roads.

Are you a woman driver? Do you often drive alone? What problems have you faced on the road that you’d like to share with others on this platform? Do you have safety tips to share? We’d like to hear from you.

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