Coinciding with International Women’s Day, IAM RoadSmart is raising awareness of the importance of keeping women safe on the roads with some expert advice to minimise the anxiety some women may have when travelling.
All women have a right to feel safe in their day-to-day life, so IAM RoadSmart is on hand to help stamp out those fears with some useful advice and guidance. Even though it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to stay safe, all road users have a responsibility to look out for each other.
Make sure your car is in good working order with enough fuel for the journey. Make sure all your lights are working properly and that your car is well-maintained. Don’t set off on a journey with any warning lights illuminated on your dashboard.
If you’re taking a route you’re not familiar with, plan the journey before you leave. There are several apps including Google Maps and Apple Maps that can aid in finding the most suitable route. It’s always sensible to let someone know your intended route and expected time of arrival.
Charge your phone before you leave. And if you can then use an ancillary charging point to keep it topped up on your journey. A full power bank can also be handy if you are expecting to be without the ability to charge for any length of time.
Most phones now store medical information and emergency contacts. Having that information there would help the emergency services give you the best care if you needed their assistance. Making sure you have all the relevant telephone numbers stored in your phone will help if you need to call your breakdown or insurance company.
Most modern cars will lock the doors automatically when you reach a certain speed, however, if you feel vulnerable at any point then it can be a good idea to do this. Just to give you that little bit of extra security and peace of mind.
Keep your valuables out of sight. Do not leave your handbag, purse, phone, laptop, or any valuables in plain sight. Things that a thief can see will make your vehicle more vulnerable to a break-in.
Try and avoid distractions from your phone. If travelling with a passenger, don’t be worried about telling them you need to concentrate at certain times when dealing with a more complex situation. Driving takes a lot of skill to do well. This means observing, anticipating and planning as you approach hazards, giving you a smooth and easy passage.
If you need to stop for fuel or food, try to do so at a well-lit and busy garage. And if you suspect that you are being followed, drive on to the nearest police station or busy place to get help.
When sharing the road try to allow for other people’s mistakes. No one set out deliberately that day to annoy you. Forgive mistakes and try to be the helpful driver rather than responding negatively to other people’s bad or aggressive driving.
When you finally reach your destination, think about where you are going to park and what time you will be returning to your car. Use a ParkSafe car park or if you need to park on the street then make sure you are in a well-lit area and obey any rules, regulations, and parking restrictions.
If you have an electric vehicle, make sure it is fully charged before you set off and try to identify three alternative charging points along the route. There are more than 30,000 electric vehicle charging points across the UK. Apps like Zap Map can be helpful to search for available charging points, plan longer electric journeys, pay for charging and share updates with other EV drivers.
Always carry an emergency breakdown kit. Include essentials like water, snacks, a torch, gloves, jump cables, a high vis jacket for you and any passengers, an emergency blanket, and a warning triangle. If you wanted to carry additional items then jump leads can be a useful addition. In the winter a shovel, boots, and snacks should be added to your list.
“Driving by yourself should not make you feel uncomfortable or nervous. However, the best way to make your journey a success is to plan it. Have a well-maintained vehicle, plenty of fuel and allow plenty of time.Driving for me is fun and enjoyable, it gives me a sense of freedom and control.
Following the above simple tips, will help you to keep safe and have a good journey. If you want to take your driving to another level, taking an Advanced course is a great way to improve your driving skills and get the best experience from being behind the wheel. It will also give you the confidence to take any journey in your stride. “