Road Safety Guides – Personal Safety On The Road

If you are concerned about your personal safety while out and about on the roads here is a comprehensive, no-nonsense guide from GEM Motoring Assist, the leading UK driver based road safety association.

Think ahead

– where possible travel by day on main, well used roads. Plan your route in advance and check that you have an up-to-date road map in the car so you won’t need to ask for directions

– if you have to travel after dark, tell someone your destination, your route and what time you expect to arrive. If your plans change, let them know

– take your mobile phone – and make sure that the batteries are charged before you set off. Carry change in any case – your phone may be out of range at a crucial time

– ensure your car is serviced regularly. Check petrol, oil, coolant-level and tyres, especially before a long journey. Carry petrol in a safety-approved can

– join a national breakdown organization such as GEM Motoring Assist Breakdown Cover

While driving

– harassment or actual attacks are rare, but they do happen. Forethought can give you more confidence and minimise the risk

– keep the doors locked and the windows closed as much as possible, especially in built up areas and stop-go traffic or when travelling alone

– keep alert so you know where you are

– remember, tiredness kills. Take a break on long journeys

– never pick up hitch hikers

Personal possessions in your car

– keep your doors locked

– NEVER leave valuables, such as handbags or mobile phones on the passenger seat – they
could be ‘snatched’ at traffic lights

– don’t leave valuables in a parked car

Parking

– NEVER leave your car unlocked, even on a garage forecourt when you go to pay for petrol. If possible use an immobiliser

– choose a safe place to park. Park in a well lit area where there are people about, especially if you don’t intend to return to your car until after dark

– if you park in a multi-storey car park choose a space close to the exit and ramp and away from pillars. Reverse into position to give you a quick get away. Park close to the attendant if there is one

– make sure you know exactly where you parked so you will not have difficulty finding your car

– if you are a woman by yourself, try not to advertise the fact. Put spare shoes, bags etc. into the boot before leaving the car

– consider what you would do if your bag was stolen – keep your keys, money and mobile phone separately

– ask a friend or colleague to walk you to your car if you feel unsafe about your surroundings

– when you return to your car, have your keys ready and check the back seat (use a torch at night) before you get in. Lock the doors and drive away without delay

Handling Dangerous Situations

– if you can see or become involved in an incident avoid getting involved in an argument with the other parties

– if you are confronted with ‘road rage’ do not get out of the car; keep your windows up and your car locked

– if your car starts to ‘play up’, stop in a busy, well-lit area, preferably near a phone box, if you don’t have a mobile phone. Get help immediately by calling your motoring organisation or garage. If you feel vulnerable and in need of special attention, inform the recovery helpline operator

– NEVER give lifts to strangers. If you see an accident or another driver in difficulty do not stop. Telephone the Police as soon as possible and report what you have seen

– if a car pulls up alongside or behind you and the occupants try to attract your attention it may be a genuine warning. However, keep your doors locked and drive to a busy place such as a service area or garage forecourt before stopping. Even then keep your doors locked until you are confident there is no danger

– if someone in a car is deliberately trying to intimidate you, or if you think a car is following you, keep driving until you reach a busy, public place, such as a Police, Fire or Ambulance station, pub or garage forecourt

– if a car travels alongside you at the same speed, slow down and allow them to pass. If the driver persists, drive to a busy, public place and use a public or mobile phone to call the Police

– if a car pulls in front of you and forces you to stop, leave the engine running. If the driver, or passenger then gets out and approaches you, turn on your hazard lights, reverse as far as you can and sound your horn continuously, no matter what time it is

– if the occupant of a car beside you at traffic lights or a junction tries to attract your attention simply ignore them. Don’t make eye contact.

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