Unfortunately crime is a reality so here are a few tips on how to be extra vigilant.
All motorists need to be careful on the road, but female drivers have to be doubly alert. It’s an upsetting reality that women are easier targets for hijackings, intimidation and other criminal acts.
It is not your fault when someone attacks you and criminals strike at even the most vigilant civilians. But here are a few positive tips to help you claim back independence.
1. Always alert someone when you are departing and give them an estimated time of arrival. Allowing someone to know where you are ensures a form of backup should things go wrong and you haven’t arrived at a given time. Just be sure to include any stops you may make along the way.
2. Ensure you have enough fuel to get you to your destination. Please, do not try and guess whether those two bars on your petrol gauge will get you there. Even if you have an extra R50, get some more petrol.
3. Avoid driving on unmarked routes and back roads at night. These roads can be dark and confusing at night. So remain on a well-lit road where there are more cars.
4. Do your homework: Plan your route ahead of time. Knowing where you’re going will not only cut down on travelling time but it will ensure you don’t get lost.
5. Check your vehicles basic safety features before departing. Make sure that your lights and hazards are working properly as well ensure that your tyres are in good condition.
6. Keep a safe distance to the car ahead of you at intersections so you can easily pull away and check your blind spots for potential hijackers approaching you. Be sure to do so at robots too because they’ve also become a prime spot for smash-and-grabs.
7. Do not text and drive. Not only does it distract you from driving and is likely to cause an accident, you will be unaware of what is happening around you, and may not notice smash-and-grabbers, for example.
8. Take note of landmarks and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be an ‘I don’t know where I am’ kind of driver. Getting lost is not always fun, especially at night. Know where you are because this makes it easier for you to explain to someone where you are should you get lost.
9. Ensure your vehicle is locked at all times (many vehicles have self-locking doors which is very handy) and make sure your windows are not open all the way down, especially when you approach intersections.
10. If you suspect you’re being followed, turn into various roads that you know. If the suspected vehicle persists, turn into the nearest police station, petrol station and even a convenience store. Whatever you do, don’t allow this vehicle pull up next to you and don’t try to out-drive them.
11. Do not leave your handbag and any other valuable items such as laptops on your passenger seat – rather put them in your boot. Leaving them in view of passers-by makes you a big target for smash and grabs.
12. Make sure your cell phone is charged or buy a car charger. The last thing you don’t want it not being able to contact a friend or family member when you really need to.
13. Lastly, do not assume that an unmarked vehicle with flashing lights is a police car. If you are not sure and a suspicious looking “police vehicle” tries to pull you over, keep on driving with your hazards on until you can pull over in a well-lit area such as a fuel station or closest police station.
This tips are courtesy of Imperial Auto.