How to stay safe when driving alone

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Stay safe when driving on your own

Driving alone is one of the most enjoyable and free activities we can do daily and is perfect for clearing your head.

But it can also be a little bit scary. If things go wrong, you’re on your own! So it’s important to make sure you’re clued up.

As well as keeping your car in good condition and driving sensibly, you should also use common sense when driving alone.

It’s not about being paranoid – just being prepared and sensible! Driving alone, whether you’re a man or woman, can leave you vulnerable.

Here are 12 steps to follow when driving alone:

1. The Golden Rule – NEVER run out of fuel!

Being stuck at the roadside leaves you in a vulnerable position.

If you’re stuck at the side of the road alone, it’s advisable to stay inside the car until your mechanic comes.

2. Keep your phone well-charged

Of course, phoning a mechanic requires phone charge – always make sure your phone is charged before driving alone!

A good tip is to buy a cheap power bank and keep it in your car, meaning you’ve got access to emergency charging if you need it.

3. Make sure you have breakdown cover!

If you end up stranded on the roadside without breakdown cover, you’re entirely vulnerable to other people and the elements.

You could end up having to pay for your car to be removed, which will cost a fortune.

Never drive alone unless you have breakdown cover.

4. Keep your car serviced and in good running order

Well maintained cars very rarely break down.

The best way to prevent being stuck in a vulnerable spot is to make sure you keep up with your car’s service schedule.

5. Don’t pick up hitchhikers when driving alone

NEVER pick up hitchhikers, especially when you’re alone. You don’t know who’s getting in your car and their intentions – the risk, no matter how small, isn’t worth it.

In the world of rampant public transportation, UBER, and Lyft, hitchhiking has mostly died off – so actually seeing a hitchhiker is a bit of a warning sign.

6. Get your keys ready

Always have your keys ready as you approach your parked car.

Don’t wait until you get to the vehicle to fumble for your keys – avoid unlocking your car too soon though!

If you have to run or make a quick getaway, you want to be able to get in the car as fast as possible.

Before entering the car, have a glance inside to make sure all is well.

Once inside the vehicle, always lock the doors (if your car doesn’t do this automatically).

7. If you feel threatened by someone

NEVER get out of the car. Stay inside, lock the doors, phone the police, and draw attention to yourself – by turning your hazards on and hitting the horn.

8. Park in a safe area

Make sure you park your car in an area close to other vehicles.

Try and avoid parking in places where there are no people, like deserted backstreets, making you and your car considerably more vulnerable.

9. Keep your doors locked at all times

Most cars automatically lock once you get inside them, stopping someone stealing your car when you’re stationary at a light.

If your car doesn’t automatically do this, make sure you lock it yourself every time you enter the vehicle.

10. Keep valuables out of sight

Be smart about where you leave your belongings. It only takes a thief a few seconds to open your passenger door and steal your bag, or mobile phone.

The same applies when parked – don’t leave tempting expensive goodies insight, or you might come back to a broken car window!

11. Be smart about asking for directions

If you need to stop to check your car or ask for directions, try going somewhere safe and well-lit – like a garage or a fast-food restaurant.

12. Keep an emergency kit in your car

You never know when you might break down or be stranded.

Keep some essentials in the car, like a blanket, a change of shoes, a coat, torch, some cash, a map, and maybe some chocolate – because everyone loves comfort food!

Even if you have breakdown cover, it’s essential to be comfortable while waiting – especially in the winter!

Should I be scared of driving alone?

Absolutely not. Driving alone is safe 99.9% of the time, and the majority of people in the world want to help you – not hurt you!

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t utilise common sense. The 12 steps are simple and easy to follow and require minimal effort.

Be safe, not sorry!