MOTORING NEWS - All drivers need to be cautious, and female drivers even more so. We can unfortunately not predict every emergency situation and there is often little we can do to avoid them.
What should we do during an emergency? Arrive Alive gives advice.
Breakdown / accident
Always, but always have your cellphone with you - fully charged and with enough airtime. Have an emergency kit, snacks and water in the vehicle at all times. A coat, sensible shoes, blanket, torch and money will provide comfort in an emergency.
Should your vehicle break down, pull over, turn on the hazard lights and call for emergency assistance.
If someone offers to help, stay in your car and roll down the window only a few centimeters - just enough to tell the person that help is on the way. If someone tries to get into your car, attract attention by sounding your horn.
Never accept a ride with someone you don't know - stay in your vehicle until help arrives.
Don't get lost. Never follow a stranger who offers to help you find your way. Use Google Maps or Waze - download it immediately if you haven't already.
If you have a flat tyre in a dark or dangerous location, drive slowly to the nearest service station or public place. Even if you ruin the tyre, you will not have risked your life.
On highways it is safer to retreat and park up the bank or behind a barrier rather than wait in the car exposed to danger from passing vehicles. If you do feel at risk from another person, return to your vehicle by the left-hand side and lock all doors.
If your car is rammed from behind, stay in the car with the doors locked. Wait for the police to arrive.
You are being followed
Turn into a different road than the one you would normally take, but take note of road signs and landmarks so that you remain aware of your surroundings.
Should the other vehicle turn into the same road, take a few more twists and turns. If the other vehicle continues to stick with you, it would be safe to assume you are being followed.
Do not stop or allow the other driver to pull up beside you, or try to out-drive them. Drive to the nearest police station - but if it is too far or you don't know where it is, drive to the nearest fuel station or convenience centre.
Do not assume that an unmarked vehicle with flashing lights is a police car. Keep driving slowly until you can pull over in a well-lit area such as a fuel station. Park as close as you can to the entrance of the kiosk or a fuel pump and hoot to attract attention.
Should the vehicle following you be genuine police, they will approach you. When they do, open the window just enough to speak to them and ask to see their police IDs.
Parking areas safety
Women should pay close attention to safety when parking their vehicles in the street or at the mall. These car parks are often a haven for criminals.
• Always park in a central, well-lit place, preferably where there are attendants on duty or people passing by.
• Note which floor and area you have parked in, and have your keys ready when you return.
• Try to park so that you will approach the driver's side of the car when you return to avoid being surprised by someone crouching near the door.
• Hold your keys in your hand. Don't wait until you reach the car to look for them in your purse. You are most vulnerable when you are getting into or out of your car.
• If there is a large vehicle or suspicious-looking car parked next to yours, find a security guard or car guard to walk you to yours.
• If no one is available, look for a nearby couple or group of people and either ask for an escort or simply blend in with them should they be walking in the direction of your vehicle.
• Always walk around your car to check for irregularities.
• Wait until you're close to the car before unlocking it, and if the car design allows it, unlock the driver's door only.
• Avoid conversations on your cellphone as you return to the car.
• Do not fiddle with your handbag and do not lean too far into the boot.
• Check the back seat before getting into the car, even if you had the doors locked.
• Be particularly vigilant with regard to your wheels, as criminals often place sharp objects either behind or in front of your tyres.
• If you park on the street, always choose a busy, well-lit spot.
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