Last updated on Sep 13th, 2020 at 11:41 am
By Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Insurance Head of Marketing and Brand
Women are well known for their multitasking prowess, something that has been put to the test even more during the long months of lockdown. Many women are forced to juggle work and family life with more dexterity than ever before.
With daily life now in overdrive, it is easy to become distracted behind the wheel, which can present numerous dangers, especially for female drivers in a country where hijackings and smash-and-grabs can happen in the blink of an eye. According to statistics released by SAPS, an average of 45 cars are hijacked per day.
It’s not all doom and gloom – there are some precautions women can take to avoid falling prey to this type of crime.
Here are a few key tips to help you stay safe on the road:
This might seem like an obvious tip, but an attentive approach is perhaps your greatest weapon given that hijackings can happen in a matter of seconds.
As such, it is always important to be aware of your surroundings, particularly when stopped in sparsely populated areas or at intersections. Additionally, when returning to your parked car, try to avoid lingering for too long, ensuring you have your car keys on-hand to avoid having to rummage through a handbag and turn yourself into a target.
If you are not able to avoid travelling alone at night, make sure to map out your route ahead of time to avoid getting lost, especially in high-crime zones. You would also be well advised to share your location with friends or family, to ensure that someone is aware of your whereabouts and able to help if need be. You might also want to ensure that you have all relevant local emergency numbers programmed into your speed dial, so you are able to call for help easily if need be.
Avoid unnecessary stops
Even the best laid plans can be easily unravelled by something as simple as a flat tyre or an empty petrol tank. Avoid being stranded. It is important to perform regular maintenance checks on your vehicle, paying attention to the tyre pressure and ensuring it is regularly serviced. Additionally, it is inadvisable to head out with a near-empty tank; this could mean having to make a stop at an unknown petrol station, where risks could be amplified.
Keep your valuables concealed
Crimes of opportunity – particularly smash-and-grabs – typically take place when there is a clearly visible target like a mobile phone, a purse or a handbag. Considering this, keep all items of value well concealed under a seat or in the cubby hole to not invite temptation. Remember too, to ensure that all valuables that you typically carry around with you are properly insured and specified within the terms of your cover. That way should the worst come to life, you will still be able to replace those valuable items that enable you to live your way.
Add a layer of protection
While it is not always possible to avoid an attempted hijacking, there are additional precautions you can take to impede any would-be criminals. For instance, anti-smash and grab film can be added to your car windows to make unwanted entry a lot more difficult. Additionally, a tracking device, typically required by most insurers, could prove invaluable in the event of your car being hijacked. Remember too, to ensure you have track and trace apps installed on all your digital devices to make potential retrieval easier.
While it can be easy to give in to the demands of the day and to become distracted by everything that is on your plate, when it comes to the road, your attention is non-negotiable. By taking necessary precautions and ensuring that you are well prepared and alert, you should be able to avoid falling victim to crime.
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