Car safety for women

Most of us at some point will have heard one of those horrible stories about the dangers faced by lone woman drivers. Although many are urban myths, some aren’t – so it’s still worth taking precautions to stay as safe as possible. The latest e-mail doing the rounds is supposedly a police warning to women drivers to beware if they see an infant car seat in the middle of the road. The e-mail claims the seat is put there to trick female motorists into stopping their cars to check if a child has been hurt or abandoned, so that gang members can attack and rob them as part of a gang initiation.
woman driving a car
Fortunately, this warning is nothing more than a nasty hoax, and the UK - certainly compared to many other countries - remains one of the safest places for women to drive alone. That said, however, it’s definitely important to make sure you stay safe on the roads to help minimise the chances of anything bad happening. Now I’m not suggesting you go as far as having one of those blow-up male dolls with a wig sitting beside you on long journeys, (unless, of course, you actually want to) but you should make sure your car is properly maintained to help reduce the chances of a breakdown. Have your car regularly serviced and, if you’ve got a particularly long journey ahead, it’s probably worth taking it to the garage for a quick once-over before you set off. After all, no-one wants to end up stranded by the roadside while they wait for help, which can be particularly daunting if you break down at night. It also makes sense to have breakdown cover in place, in case the worst does happen and your car conks out en route somewhere. Cover needn’t break the bank and you can get a comprehensive policy from as little as around £30 a year, which seems a small price to pay for peace of mind that help will arrive quickly whenever you need it. As well as having breakdown cover, it’s a good idea to let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to arrive before you set off. You should then give them a call once you get to your destination so that they know you are safe. If they don’t hear from you, they’ll know something’s up and they can start trying to track you down to see if you need help. Make sure your phone is charged before you leave – the last thing you want is to cause a full-scale panic because you haven’t been able to let someone know you’ve arrived safely thanks to a dead battery. Another way to ensure you stay safe while driving is to make sure your doors are locked, particularly if you’re stopping regularly at traffic lights or junctions. Although car-jacking in this country is rare, it does happen and you’re particularly susceptible if you’ve left a bulging handbag on the seat next to you. Always tuck your bag under a seat if possible so it’s out of sight, and don’t wear flashy jewellery as this could be a tempting target for thieves. Finally, and although this might sound obvious, never give a stranger a lift, or stop if a motorist flags you down. This might seem mean, especially if the motorist looks like they are in trouble, but it is much safer to carry on until you can pull over and contact the police so they can help instead. Similarly, if a car is flashing at you, drive to a busy area or a fast food restaurant car park where there are lots of people, and only then wind your window down a little to see what they have to say. If you’re suspicious, or they start acting aggressively, call the police immediately.

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