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Staying Safe: Female Drivers

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 8 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Staying Safe: Female Drivers

Female drivers can often feel unsafe when driving, especially when they are travelling alone. This article offers advice on personal safety for female drivers.

Protecting yourself

If you are going to be driving alone, you should make sure that at least one person knows of your plans before you set off. They should be aware of where you are travelling to, what time you left, and the time that you expect to arrive back. Carry your mobile phone with you at all times so that you can be easily contacted. In many situations, it will not be practical or safe to use a mobile phone, especially if an incident occurs while you are behind the wheel. For this reason, it is also useful to have a hands-free or voice-activated option to use in an emergency for safety purposes.

Even if you never need to use it, you may find it comforting to have a personal alarm in the glove compartment.

Keep your doors securely locked, as thieves have been known to pounce on victims while drivers are stationary at traffic lights and in traffic jams. Keep valuables hidden out of sight to limit incentives to do so.

Avoid parking in areas with poor lighting, and keep your doors locked while you are in the car.

Personal safety during breakdowns

When you call for breakdown assistance, tell the operator that you are a female driving alone. This will often give you priority status, and help is likely to arrive more quickly.

If it is safe for you to remain in the car, sitting in the passenger seat will often deter would-be attackers, as they will tend to assume that you are travelling with someone else. If it is not safe to stay in the car (for example, if you break down on the motorway and are forced to park on the hard shoulder), stay near to your vehicle and keep the door slightly open so that you can easily get back into the car if someone approaches.

Keep your doors locked at all times. If someone does approach your vehicle, wind down the window slightly but do not open the door. When help does arrives, make sure that you get confirmation of their identity before you open the door, in case it is someone posing as breakdown assistance.

Emergency kits

It is useful to have an emergency kit in the boot or glove compartment in case an unexpected situation arises. This kit can include first aid essentials, a torch or flashlight (and spare batteries), bottled water, energy bars or snacks and a blanket (in case you are temporarily stranded and need warmth).

Footwear and personal safety

Wearing the wrong type of footwear for driving can have potentially lethal consequences and can severely compromise your safety. Research conducted by insurance firm Sheila's Wheels in 2007 - who specifically cater for female drivers - found that many women in the UK are putting themselves and other road users at risk because of their poor choice of footwear. Many women regularly wear heels and other inappropriate types of footwear to drive because they do not want to wear shoes that "spoil" their outfit.

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