BE SAFE ON OUR ROADS:Planning your route and informing your family and friends of your destination will greatly benefit your safety on SA's roads. Image: iStock
Cape Town - South Africa's roads can be a dangerous place. Apart from the usual risk of crashes you would usually associate with driving, our roads are also notorious crime hotspots being targeted by violent criminals.
With the focus on Women's month drawing to an end, here are some driving tips to help keep female drivers safer on local roads.
Monroe South Africa is focused on actively promoting road safety initiatives.
7 driving tips to improve your safety:
1 Don’t run out of fuel
Get into a habit of filling your tank when it reaches the halfway mark rather than waiting for the fuel-reserve warning light to activate. This will reduce the risk of being stuck along the side of road or having to pull into a petrol station in a less-than-desirable or isolated location.
2 Plan ahead to avoid being lost on the road
Planning your route in advance will prevent travelling along unfamiliar roads. If your vehicle isn't fitted with satnav, there are many GPS devices and mobile applications that can guide you on your travels. Criminals are quick to spot drivers that appear to be lost in an area.
3 Keep your doors locked, windows closed
This is critical during traffic and if you find yourself stranded along the road. Breakdown technicians – especially those from motoring dealerships, all carry a form of identification. Always insist on technicians presenting this to you prior to allowing them to assist.
4 Keep valuable items hidden while driving
Keep your doors locked and your windows only partially open should your vehicle not have climate control. Always keep items such as laptops, handbags and cellphones out of sight.
5 Check fluid levels regularly
Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will show you how to do this and the desired quantities and specifications to be used. Also keep an eye on operating temperatures and pressures as this will allow you to be proactive should a risk arise, rather than being forced to stop in a dangerous area.
6 Never offer a lift to strangers
Sadly, the prevalence of hijacking in South Africa means offering strangers a lift can be extremely dangerous. Beware of anyone trying to point out dangers ahead or defects on your car. If you suspect that they might be right, approach the situation with caution.
7 Share your route plans.
When driving alone, always ensure that someone is familiar with the route you’ll be travelling and the estimated time that you should arrive at your destination. Should you become stranded on road, contact family or friends informing them of your predicament. A good habit to form with your family is to have members check in when they've arrived at their destinations.
Monroe SA marketing manager Hendrik Combrinck says these safety tips will reduce the risks to women drivers in South Africa: “There are of course many more things which will help our ladies to be safer on the road. The Monroe Advanced Driving Academy is a good self-defence class.
"These are just some basic safety tips, yet so often we see them being overlooked. We’re confident that making these tips part of your travel routine will result in more trips having happy endings.”