Safety Tips For Women Drivers

Women who drive alone should take a few extra precautions that can protect them from potential problems on the road.

Driving home from work after dark, you notice a vehicle following you closely. Turning down a different street than usual, you can see that the person turns as well. Weaving through an unfamiliar neighborhood you notice that the driver behind you is sticking close and you question his motives. What should you do?

a) Pull over, get out, and confront him?

b) Try to out drive him?

c) Head for home and hope you can get into the house before he catches you?

None of the above is a good idea. Any competitive response is likely to keep your pursuer engaged. Instead, drive to the nearest police station where there are sure to be police vehicles parked on the street, with a few officers coming or going. Roll down your window and call one over to explain the situation.

If this is not possible, drive into a well-lit convenience store or shopping plaza. Honk loudly to attract attention and roll down your window to explain to a respectable looking group of pedestrians. Or quickly get out of the car and merge with a group headed into the store where you can telephone for help.

Women who travel alone need to be aware of their surroundings, both in and out of the car. Here are more safety tips:

1. Don't drive after dark into unfamiliar areas if you can avoid it. It's easy to get lost, appear confused, or stand out as a lone driver in neighborhoods you don't know. Predators will quickly pick you out as a potential victim.

2. Avoid traveling alone. Instead, take along a friend or co-worker if possible. That way you will face less risk of being singled out for trouble.

3. Take a cell phone with you. Be sure it is charged or you have the battery cord to use if necessary. Have a plan ready to get help if you are approached by someone with ill intentions toward you.

4. For long trips, you may want to bring along a "pretend friend" that is actually a dummy figure with a ball cap pulled low to look as though a male passenger is snoozing alongside you in the car. You can purchase these if you don't want to make one yourself.

5. Keep an emergency kit, flares, food, and water with you in the car at all times. If your car breaks down, you won't have to get out and walk for needed items.

6. If your car does stop running, pull to the side of the road and call for emergency assistance on the cell phone. Set up flares if no one is around to bother you. If someone pulls over and offers to help, stay in your car and roll down the window a few inches only, just enough to tell the person that help is on the way or to ask that he make a phone call for you if you don't have a phone.

7. Never accept a ride with a man you don't know. Even if he seems friendly, you don't know what may happen. Stay put until help arrives.

8. Take a car repair class so you can handle the basics. Learn how to change a tire, jump the battery, or maneuver a series of possible problems. Then you won't have to rely on strangers as much and you may not need to call for help.

Don't become a travel statistic. Plan ahead to protect yourself by following a few basic tips like those outlined above.

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