Monday, December 17, 2012

For the Ladies - Stay Safe on the Road

Taking simple safety steps could help keep you safe when shopping or running errands on your own.

It is not uncommon for women to travel alone in the car to drive to work, run errands or go shopping. Unfortunately, women who are unaccompanied are targets for robbery and assault. You may think you're prepared should anything happen, but everything you learn may escape you if you actually find yourself in a situation. If you travel by yourself regularly, we encourage you to implement protective measures and should have a plan in the event they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

Selective parking: Whether it’s an outdoor parking lot or a covered garage, make sure the lot and space you are parking in is well lit. Avoid parking away from other cars, and be aware of parking beside commercial vans without glass side panels where potential attackers could be hiding. When you return to your car, quickly survey your surroundings including under your vehicle and the back seat.

Have your keys in hand: Before you leave the store, take the time to find your keys and have them in hand as you walk to your car. Women who rummage in their purses once they get to their cars, are leaving themselves open to a potential attack. If you are faced with a dangerous situation, the keys in your hand can also be used as a weapon against your assailant.

Avoid Playing Good Samaritan: While your heart might be in the right place, it’s not a good idea to stop to help someone when you are by yourself, especially if you are in a remote area. It is best to call 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher know the location of the person who is stranded.

Use your car’s safety and security features: Take the time to familiarize yourself with the safety and security features of your car. Does your car have a GPS? Is there a feature that will alert emergency personnel if you are involved in a car accident?  Automatic car starters are a good feature because they could save you critical time if you are in a bad situation. 

Keep your vehicle serviced: A poorly maintained vehicle could cause you problems at the worst possible times. Check your tires for wear and rotate them on a regular basis. A good rule to follow is to rotate your tires every other oil change.  Have your battery checked. Check the battery for corrosion and make sure there is the appropriate amount of water in it, and that it holds a charge. Check your fluids and get your oil changed. Using synthetic oil like Royal Purple is a great way to extend the life of your car and save money. Synthetic motor oils can usually run longer than traditional motor oils depending on the wear and tear you put on your vehicle.

Have a plan if trouble arises:  Do you know what you would do if you were confronted by a potential abductor or carjacker? Panicking is not the answer. If you are approached by a person in or around your car, drop your bags, run and make a lot of noise that will draw attention to you. Stay in control of the situation. Whatever you do, do not go with the person to another location regardless of promises that you won’t be hurt.  If you feel you’re being followed by another car, call 911, and drive to a police station or hospital.

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