Safety advice for Female drivers
Over the last two decades the social and economic demographics of the UK population has undergone a dramatic change with more and more women owning their own or driving company cars. This has led to an explosion of single occupancy car journeys undertaken by lone females both during the day and at night-time. Because of lifestyle and work commitments many women are now travelling much greater distances than ever before.
Compared to other parts of the world the United Kingdom is still a relatively safe place for women to drive alone, even at night. While the risks for women driving alone are often exaggerated, it is still worth taking a few extra precautions that can protect you from potential harm or any difficulties you may face as a female driver.
Our aim is to educate women not to instil fear where none was before. Being prepared for the unexpected while driving will help women go about there daily business without fear or apprehension.
A commonsense approach for your own safety and adhering to our basic guidelines is the best way of avoiding any misfortune.
- Always make sure your car is well maintained and serviced regularly. See (Tips and Advice - Article No 3)
- To give peace of mind and security, Roaddriver recommends women join one of the National Breakdown and Recovery Services. If the worst comes to the worst membership will ensure a women driver gets home safe and well no matter the time of day or night. A good idea is to set up some form of reminder so your breakdown cover is always current and valid.
- For long journeys you should plan your route using motorways and main roads if possible and work out where and when you are going to stop for rest breaks and to refuel.
- It is advisable before leaving your home or office that you tell the person you're planning to meet your estimated time of arrival and the route you're planning to take. This is especially important when you are travelling long distances in the dark or to somewhere for the first time.
- Prior to getting into your car, it's a good idea to just have a glance inside to check all is well. (no one hiding inside)
- Before setting off in your car, in case of emergency get into the habit of ensuring you have enough money, a fully charged mobile phone with plenty of credit including a phone car charger. It is also good practice to carry a spare mobile credit phone card if necessary and a public phone card plus a bag of loose change, all should remain out of sight and locked in your glove compartment.
- To stay within the law you need to have a voice activated or hands free phone system. Bluetooth headsets are an option but your mobile phone needs to be in a cradle fixed to the dashboard and not obscuring the windscreen in any way. (Research has shown that using a mobile phone while driving is incredibly distracting akin to driving while drunk. We strongly advise you to only use a car phone while driving if a real emergency occurs where you are unable to pull over or park safely and legally).
- Carry a Car Safety kit: This will greatly help if you suffer a breakdown. Tips and Advice - Article No.4.
- Get into the habit of locking the car doors while driving, keep all valuables out of sight including laptops preferably all locked in the boot and keep your windows closed. Do not leave your handbag on the front passenger seat. If you do need to open a window keep the opening gap to a minimum, this will prevent potential bag snatchers or car jackers from leaning through open windows at traffic lights.
- Sadly Car Jacking is on the increase in some parts of the UK. A few basic precautions will help you avoid becoming another statistic. When you approach traffic lights or road junctions try to position your car in the middle of the road beside the central white line. Your car being as far away from the pavement as possible will help deter the car jacker.
- Don't unwittingly encourage thieves by wearing expensive looking jewellery or designer watches while driving, this is especially important if you are driving slowly late at night through town or city centres.
- Some women find a personal alarm comforting to keep in the side door pocket while driving and then transfer it to their handbag when they leave their car. Also some women on lengthy journeys find a male dummy figure placed in the front passenger seat makes them feel more secure. You can buy these through the internet or you could make one yourself. Whatever makes you feel more secure and gives you confidence to go about your daily business is a good idea but alarms and dummies are no substitute for keeping alert and focused while driving or out and about.
- When you are at the petrol station or fast food stop never leave your car unlocked even for a few minutes. Car thieves and car jackers are known to frequent these places looking for such an opportunity.
- If you do visit a cashpoint or a supermarket on route, when you return to your car immediately lock the doors. Women have a tendency to get into their cars and put their handbags on the passenger seat while checking the cash machine receipt or ticking the shopping list. This gives a potential bag snatcher a perfect opportunity to open the passenger door and make off with your handbag.
- If you stop to shop on route when parking your car in daylight, imagine what the same area may look like when the offices and shops are closed, particularly if you intend to return to your car in the dark. This is especially important in badly lit areas such as shopping centre multi-storey car parks. When you return to your car if you are in any way suspicious of a large van or car parked next to or blocking your car do not approach your car. Return to the shopping centre and ask a security guard to walk with you back to your car. (it is better to be safe than sorry)
- Never pick up hitch-hikers and do not stop if a fellow motorist try's to flag you down, carry on to a safe place and inform the police that you think a motorist is in trouble.
- If a car flashes their headlights at you from behind, do not pull over or stop. Carry on to a police station, fire station or busy well lit and populated area such as a petrol station. If the car followed you, park where people are around and stay in your car with the doors locked. If the driver approaches your car, wind your window down just a little to hear what he has to say, he or she may well have a valid reason to want to alert you to a problem with your car. If in doubt lock him out and call 999
- If you hear a siren or see police flashing emergency lights behind you, pull over and stop when it is safe to do so. Stay in your car with your doors locked until the police officer approaches your car. Wind down your window slightly to speak to him. If you are in any doubt of the authenticity of the police officer, you are within your rights to ask to see his identification, this is especially important if it is an unmarked police car. If in doubt lock him out and call 999
- If your car develops a fault on route follow our guidelines in our breakdown articles (Tips and Advice - Article No5 (Tips and Advice - Article No6) (Tips and Advice - Article No7)
Adhere to these basic guidelines and you should have a care free and enjoyable drive to your destination. Don't forget to let your family and friends know you have arrived save and well.
Women Driving Alone - Safety Advice - Tips and Advice - Article No1 RoadDriver 2010
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