Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Personal security tips for women who drive

Published:Sunday | February 16, 2020 | 12:12 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

It was the renowned writer Agnes Repplier who once said, “It is impossible to withhold education from the receptive mind.” While Alexis Carrel reminds us that all of us, at certain moments of our lives, need to take advice and to accept help from other people.

We all need to be aware of the times and seasons in which we live. There are a number of automotive tips that women could put into practice.

1. Before driving out, do a walk-around check of your vehicle.

2. When driving long or short distances, ensure that doors are locked and windows are up.

3. Check the rear view mirror occasionally to ascertain if you are being followed.

4. Avoid travelling in lonely areas. If, unfortunately, you think you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or an open business place and honk your horn.

5. Check the back seat of your car before getting in. Check under your car for would-be attackers before approaching.

6. Be aware of suspicious-looking persons who could have a desire to trail, rob, or harm you. Always plan you route and stay alert.

7. Do not stop to pick up unknown individuals, especially if they are men.

8. While driving, do not present a nervous-looking attitude. It could draw attention from undesirables. Drive as if you are in command, in control.

9. Whenever you go shopping, choose a spot close to the building and avoid parking beside huge vehicles that will be a safe hideout for attackers.

10. If you are out late for a function, have someone drive behind you to your gate, and use your cell phone to notify the helper, family member, or neighbours to alert them of your arrival time.

11. Never leave your laptop, purse, phone, or handbag on the seat of your car.

There are passive- and active-resistance techniques that can also be applied. If you are attacked, the question is, should you submit or resist? You are the only person who can make that judgement. “The best response to an attack depends on a number of factors.” One martial art expert advised. These include:

A. The motivation of the attacker

B. The environment and whether the attacker is armed.

C. Generally speaking, if the attacker is armed, do not resist. If you are in a position to resist and elect to do so, you have two options, passive or active.

D. For passive-resistance techniques, you could talk to the attacker to show sympathy. Deal with him as a person and force him to see you as one and not an object. Pretend to faint or vomit. However, if that does not work, stop it.

E. In the case of the active resistance, this should be considered as a last resort, due to the potentially dangerous consequences that could arise.

F. Some vulnerable areas to strike an attacker are the groin, the eyes, the Adam’s apple, and the nose. Also, pulling back on the little finger and kicking the shins can be effective.

G. Do not try to defeat the attacker. Try to break fast and run like Usain Bolt. Scream and make noise. When using this option, bawl out “FIRE! And HELP!”

H. Consider carrying a whistle or a noise-making device. Personal alarms can ward off attackers by attracting attention to the scene. Choose a reliable one that produces a high-decibel (in the range of 120 DB). A gun should be a last resort and should only be carried by those who are trained to use it.