Driving Mums: Beware!

 

Crimes against mothers who drive are diverse and may involve sexual attacks, straightforward intimidation, kidnapping and assaults of various degrees and these can occur anywhere, from car parks to country roads, offices, banks and along the express ways.  Here are some practical measures to protect you from the growing danger of attacks while driving with the kids:

Before leaving home, do the following:

  • Plan your day and route before you go out. This helps you avoid dangerous situations each time you drive out with the kids.
  • If you don’t feel safe driving alone with the kids, then get a good driver or secure the help of your husband.
  • Ensure there are car seats suitable for the kids at the back. Never keep a rear facing car seat in the front.
  • Check the fuel level.
  • Check the oil level.
  • Check the water level in the radiator.
  • Always keep a torch (in good condition) in your car. It will help in an unforeseen situation.
  • Ensure that your car tyres are in good condition, and always have a spare also in good condition.
  • Repair any car faults, especially with brakes and clutches immediately, no matter how minor it is, even if it means taking time off at work or business.
  • Always keep a mobile phone charger in the car and reasonable call credits too.
  • Buy any sign that says ‘call police’, which you can put in the rear and side windows of your car.
  • Ensure the extra tyre is in good condition.
  • Make arrangements with somebody (an adult) to take care of your kids in the car while driving.

Note: Service your car regularly to reduce the possibilities of breakdown. In addition, learning some basic mechanics like how to change tyres, etc., is very essential for mothers who drive.

While driving, ensure:

  • That the doors are closed and locked. Also ensure that no child puts his or her head or arms outside the car’s window.
  • You are speed conscious.
  • You don’t make yourself vulnerable to attack on the highway by putting your handbags, phones etc., on the front seat because it’s an open invitation, especially when there is a traffic build up.
  • Everyone in the car has his or her seat-belt fastened and avoids unnecessary conversation.
  • No child younger than 12years old seats at the front.
  • You should avoid receiving and making calls, if you have to, use hands free device.
  • You concentrate on driving.

When there is a break down:

  • Call your mechanic or any 24 hour car service near your home or office.
  • If anyone in the car is accosted, noise of any kind may be the best defense; alarm systems with panic buttons that activate a loud siren might be helpful.
  • Place a ‘C-CAUTION’ at a good distance behind your car to alert other drivers coming.
  • You can honk your horn; flash your lights, scream and shout, shriek to attract help from passers-by or other road users.
  • While waiting for help, you and your kids should not respond to anyone but a uniformed police officer or monitoring organization. If someone else approaches, stay in the car with the doors locked, and be cautious.
  • Be cautious of getting into a stranger’s car irrespective of how long you have been waiting, preferably wait until help comes.

To avoid being taken by surprise, apply the following suggestions when leaving and going back into the car:

  • Don’t stay out too late but if you do, ask a friend to see you off back to your car.
  • Pack your car in a safe and open or busy environment to reduce risk of an attack.
  • Always lock the car when you or the kids get out and check the back seat before getting  in.
  • Endeavour to push both seats forward when you get out so you will notice someone got in.

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