The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says if you feel that your safety is threatened while driving, you need to know how to respond to best remove yourself from that situation quickly. “The key is to pay attention to your surroundings. Always know what vehicle is behind you and how long it has been there. Immediately notice people at intersections, on your road or in surrounding cars that look out of place.”
Once you identify a problem, what do you do? “You then need to get to a safe place. This is somewhere nearby, with people and authorities or security close at hand and where you can exit your vehicle and move into this safe place as easily and quickly as possible. It can be a police station, a petrol station or even the security station at your local mall, if you know where it is.
“Recently, a MasterDrive employee was victimised on the roads and she quickly drove to a petrol station where she managed to get inside before harm was done to her. Later, the same individuals opened fire at that petrol station. Her ability to quickly identify the problem, find a safe place and not respond negatively to the criminals, meant our employee could safely remove herself from a dangerous situation.”
Females can also be more vulnerable to smash-and-grab crimes at intersections. “Noticing a well-dressed individual, who isn’t normally at a particular intersection, can make a difference to your safety. As soon as you notice this, be more cautious. Also always ensure you have an escape route, like a slip road, at an intersection so you can quickly and safely move away if threatened.
“The ultimate solution, however, is to remove all temptation. Put everything in your boot. Whether it is a handbag or a jacket that you would normally throw over the back seat. Don’t create an opportunity where a criminal might mistake something as more valuable and consequently cause unnecessary distress.”
By adopting a few safety-conscious habits and being prepared for what could happen, you immediately make yourself less vulnerable on the roads. A happy and safe Women’s Month to all the ladies of South Africa.