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Practical safety tips for women drivers

Whether driving to work, running errands, or enjoying a night out, staying safe on the road is always a priority. Unfortunately, this is even more true for women as they are generally perceived as easier targets in the context of South Africa.

That’s why we’ve assembled this list of practical safety tips for women drivers who want to take extra precautions on the road, especially at night.

Safety tips for women drivers

Incorporate these tips into your driving routine to keep safe while driving.

Lock your car

Keep your car doors locked before setting off on your journey. It’s best to make this a habit, like putting your seatbelt on, so you’ll never forget. Remember to re-lock them if you make a stop on your route.

Don’t be a victim of car-jamming

When using your remote to lock your car, ensure that you hear the beep of your alarm activating and see or hear the locks clicking into place. You can even check your door handle before leaving the car. You should especially do this when at a parking lot as this is often where cars are targeted.

Hide valuable items

Make sure that you put easy-to-grab items like your cell phone away. Put your handbag, laptop and other packages out of sight in your vehicle, preferably in the boot, to lower the risk of being an easy target for smash and grabbers.

Be aware of your surroundings

Pay attention to what’s happening around you, particularly at four-way stops and red robots at busy intersections. Leave enough space to pull out from behind the car you’re following in traffic if you need to make a speedy getaway.

Stay alert when walking to your car, especially at night or in a dimly lit or secluded environment. Scan the area for any suspicious activity around your car before getting in. For example, if you notice a van is parked next to your car at the driver’s side and you feel uncomfortable, rather go for a coffee and return when you feel safe.

Trust your instincts

If you ever feel uneasy or notice something out of the ordinary, trust your gut instinct. It’s better to be cautious and safe than to ignore potential dangers.

Keep your car well-maintained

Keep your car properly serviced to lower the risk of roadside breakdowns and unexpected issues. Use this maintenance checklist to ensure everything is in order.

Also, always ensure you have enough petrol for your trip as you don’t want to stop at an unfamiliar petrol station, especially in the dark.

Plus, check that your car insurance covers you for roadside assistance and keep their emergency help number handy.

Essential precautions when driving alone

Keep these safety tips in mind when driving alone, especially at night.

Plan your drive

Map out your driving route and familiarise yourself with the directions before starting your journey. This way, you lower the risk of getting lost and stopping in an unfamiliar area to find your way. Also, it will prevent you from having to look at your phone, which can lure criminals.

Choose busier roads and avoid shortcuts that may lead you through remote or poorly lit areas you don’t know.

Share your itinerary

Tell a trusted friend or family member about your travel route and estimated arrival time. Additionally, consider sending them your live location on WhatsApp, allowing them to virtually ‘follow you home’ and be alerted if something seems unsafe. Make sure you charge your phone and save emergency numbers in a way they are easy to find.

Use well-lit parking areas

When going out at night, opt for a parking spot near the entrance of your destination and close to a light to ensure you can see your car clearly when returning to it. Perhaps a motion sensor light system for your home to increase your safety while walking from the house to your car would be a valuable purchase.

Furthermore, hold your keys as you approach your parked car. Don’t wait until you reach the car to search for them in your bag; experts say you’re most vulnerable when getting into or out of your vehicle.

Trustworthy company

Whenever possible, try to walk to your car with someone you trust. Having a person by your side can discourage potential threats and make you feel more secure. However, if you are alone and worried, find an official security guard to walk you to your car.

Self-defence and personal safety tools

Learn essential techniques that can help keep you safe.

Learn self-defence

Take self-defence classes, like Krav Maga or martial arts, that can equip you with the skills to protect yourself if faced with a dangerous situation. This can also be fun to do with a group of friends and can boost your confidence.

Carry personal safety tools

Items like pepper spray, personal alarms, or a safety whistle can effectively deter potential attackers and draw attention to your situation if needed. Just make sure that you know how to use them beforehand and keep them within easy reach.

Drive with confidence and stay secure

Drive confidently, feel safe, and enjoy peace of mind on your journeys with a reliable car insurance company.

Prime South Africa is here to help you drive worry-free. From having someone at the touch of a button that can come and help you if your car breaks down, to making the insurance claims process easier, we’re always here for you. Simply download our Prime app to have all the emergency contacts you need with you wherever you go on the road.

Explore our car insurance options and get a quote today. T and Cs apply.

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