Tuesday 9 August is National Women’s Day, and the Automobile Association (AA) joins South Africa in honouring the women of our nation. For all the women drivers out there, here are our tips for staying safe when travelling on the roads.
The Association said while women are still, unfortunately, seen as easy targets for criminals, there are ways in which they can minimise their risk while on the road.
Some tips to consider while driving (alone or with children) include:
• Firstly, always adhere to the rules of the road and buckle up. This includes putting children in age-appropriate baby or car seats, and ensuring all passengers are also strapped in.
• Keep your handbag, computer and other valuables in the boot of the car, not on the front or back passenger seats where they can easily be reached.
• Avoid travelling in areas known to have high crime, or which have been identified as smash-and-grab hotspots.
• Avoid travelling in dimly lit areas at night.
• Ensure you have enough fuel for the trip you are making, including the return trip.
• Keep your car in good condition to avoid unnecessary breakdowns or stops. This includes the tyres (and spare tyre), windscreen and wipers.
• Don’t talk on your cellphone, or be distracted by anything else, while driving. Focus on the road and what is happening around you while driving.
• Keep moving. Criminals will sometimes bump your car from behind to make you stop and get out, especially at night in quiet areas. If this happens to you, keep moving and go to the nearest police station.
• Keep your cellphone charged in case you need to use it in an emergency.
• Don’t leave your car unlocked, even for a minute, and pay attention to the risks of signal jamming in car parks.
• If, for any reason, you feel unsafe or threatened, go to the nearest police station for assistance.
• If you are going on a long journey, keep family and friends informed of your location at regular intervals.
• Get into the habit of letting people know when you leave for or from the office or an event, and again when you get home.
The Association said that downloading the free AA Rescue APP will help keep you safer on the road.
“Besides being available to assist in case of a breakdown, we also offer the services of a security guard to wait with our Members while roadside assistance is on its way. Women who feel unsafe where they have broken down, will have peace of mind knowing help is on its way, and that they are not alone while it gets to them,” the Association said.