Being independent behind the wheel on a long road trip is a big deal but, as much as that might boost one’s confidence, being alone can be daunting at night. In South Africa is can be life-threatening to run out of fuel or stop with a flat tyre - for men and women. Either is just as vulnerable when a criminal pulls a knife or a gun.Imperial Auto knows how important are safety and security when travelling on South African roads so have compiled 14travel tips to help you stay safe when driving alone.TOP SAFETY TIPS: • Plan your route ahead of time. Knowing where you’re going will not only cut down on travel time but also ensure you don’t get lost.• Always tell somebody when you are depart and give them an estimated time of arrival. Make sure you include all the details of your trip, including any planned stops along the way.• Ensure you have enough fuel to get you to your destination.• Check your vehicle’s basic safety features before departure: all lights working, including emergency flashers? Tyres pumped and in good condition? Screenwasher bottle full? Engine oil level OK?• Avoid driving on unmarked routes and back roads at night.• Keep a safe distance from the car ahead of you at road junction so you can easily pull away; always check your blind spots for potential hijackers.• Take note of landmarks and be aware of your surroundings at all times. This makes it easier for you to explain to someone where you are - should you get lost or break down.• Ensure your vehicle is always locked and make sure your windows are not open all the way down, especially when you approach traffic lights where you might be obliged to stop.• Be wary about offering rides to hitch-hikers. We live in a country that doesn’t allow us to be “good Samaritans”.• Don't text and drive while moving. Quite simply, you could die.• Don't put your handbag, wallet or any other valuables on the passenger or back seat – why tempt the bad guys? • Make sure your cellphone is charged or buy a car charger.• Have two or three close family members or friends ready on speed dial; it will avoid delay in a panic situation.• Never assume that an unmarked vehicle with flashing blue or other lights is a police car. If you aren't sure turn on your hazard lights to acknowledge the situation but keep driving at a reasonable speed until you find a lit, populated place to stop - fuel station, shopping centre, police station station.