What to do if you feel you are being followed

Janet's Story

Imagine the scenario:

Its 5-30pm and time to go home, Janets very excited because it's her wedding anniversary and she's going out to dinner with her husband Jim.

Janet hurriedly leave's her office and gets into her car for the journey home. She notice's a red car parked across the road with someone sat in the driving seat. She doesn't recognise the car nor can she see who the driver is. He's not doing anything suspicious but it just seemed a bit odd as there's not normally a car parked in that particular space at this time of night.

Janet drive's off and little further down the road she notices the same red car had followed her. She stops at the lights and the red car closes in behind hers, she can't see the driver as the red cars headlights are dazzling her in the mirror. Janet utters aloud, I hope that red car isn't following me? Don't be silly Janet; he's probably just going in the same direction as me.

She travels for a further mile or so making her way through the traffic when she sees the red car is still behind her. She mutters to herself, that blooming car is following me. What can I do? I know Janet utters, I'll turn down a different street than usual to see if he follows me. The red car turns down after her and Janet remembers the article in the paper about the man in London who was stabbed trying to stop his car being car jacked.

Now shes really beginning to panic, she can feel the sweat on her brow and her hands are clammy. What do I do now she grumbles? I'll turn again and see what happens but I'd better not do anything silly or he'll know I've noticed him. When she turns into Watling Street the red car turns down after her and is now sticking very close to her bumper. Janet shouts what the heck do I do now?  I'll call the police on my mobile but then Janet remembers she forgot to charge the phone. Oh my god Janet what an idiot, why oh why didn't you charge the phone she exclaims. 

Now I'm really in deep trouble, I have no phone and no way to contact Jim or the police. What can I do? I know I'll pull over, get out and challenge him. No, not a good idea Janet mutters, I'll try to outrun him?  No not a good idea either, I could have an accident or hurt someone; anyway, I'm not Lewis Hamilton. If I drive straight home, can I get in my front door before he catches up with me, probably not! In any case I'd have to drive through the Blackhills Forrest it's deserted at night, many deer but no people, anyhow what's the point of letting him know where I live. Stupid idea Janet mutters.

Janet tells herself to calm down and to concentrate; she decides the best course of action is to drive the 2miles to the nearest police station. Janets just about to turn left when she remembers that it's late-night shopping at the Millennium Shopping Centre, it's closer and there's bound to be loads of people about and the centre has their own security guards. As Janet approaches the Millennium Centre she makes a mental note to make sure to park next to where people are around and not to park in that dark bit in the lower car park. I can use the phones inside to call the police; I'll be safe in there! 

Janet gets inside and immediately hears hurried footsteps behind her, there's a tap on her shoulder, where do you think your going? I thought we were going out to dinner? It's Jim; he was the one following her. I tried to surprise you at work, I wanted to show you my nice new shiny red company car, but you just drove off before I could talk to you. I must say you were driving down some strange streets Janet! 

At this point Janet was so furious that she didn't know whether to burst into tears, punch Jim with her car keys or to thump him on the head with her umbrella.

If the same happened to you, would you have the presence of mind to calmly think things through and make the right decisions as Janet did? 

Britain on balance is still a very safe place for women to drive alone even at night. The chance of a car following you is thankfully very slim. Our aim is to educate women to react correctly to given situations, not to instil fear where none was before. But, women need to have a basic understanding of how to deal with the circumstances that Janet found herself in.

RoadDriver strongly believes that knowledge and understanding of these issues help empower women to go about there daily business without fear or apprehension.

Personal Safety - What to do, if you feel you're being followed

Tips and Advice - Article No8 RoadDriver 2010

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