Women, Cars & Wellbeing : How to Be Safe When Driving Alone

How to Be Safe When Driving Alone

With as much time as women spend driving, running errands and driving to and from work, they need to be alert to the opportunity they may innocently present to a violent and desperate perpetrator, to commit rape, abduction, carjacking, or worse. Violence against drivers, especially lone women drivers is increasing as the economy becomes more strained. The US Department of Justice estimates that there are at least 50,000 attempted carjackings in the US each year, with a disproportionate number of women victims.

The Scene of the Crime

Rape, carjacking, and robbery are often crimes of opportunity, in which the perpetrator scouts areas where no witnesses are present, identifies a vulnerable target, and waits for the moment when his target lowers her guard. The most common locations where many of these crimes occur are:

•When you are stopped at a deserted intersection
•When your are parked in your own driveway
•When you park at the far corner of a parking lot, away from parking attendants or entrances
•When you park on any street in ( insert your city here )
A simple lapse of caution, such as failing to lock your car door before starting your engine is an ideal opportunity for a desperate aggressor to swiftly approach your vehicle from the blind spot in your side view mirror, open your door, pull you from the vehicle, or enter from the passenger side.

The Moment of Distraction

Rapists, carjackers and thieves look for potential targets who are alone, unaware, and vulnerable. A woman who is preoccupied removing her child from the rear seat without checking her environment first, will be completely surprised when the aggressor strikes. The woman who fails to ask for the attendant to escort her to the far end of a dark parking garage is not aware of the opportunity for foul play that lurks there.

A consequence of our busy lives is the fact that we often multitask while driving. Because we are not paying attention to our environment and fully attending to the task of driving, perpetrators are finding it easier to overcome a distracted driver who is stopped, talking on a cell phone or applying cosmetics.

By the time a predator has made himself visible to his target, it is often too late to evade him. The best advice is to heighten awareness of potential risk before you place yourself in a position of no escape.

Park in Plain View.

Women should park in areas of high visibility, both for the driver and for passers-by. Avoid parking next to vans or other vehicles which can harbor perpetrators who can quickly emerge from a sliding side door and grab you. People hiding under vehicles with high ground clearance can easily subdue a hapless victim.

Prepare to Quickly Enter Your Vehicle and Lock it.

Fumbling for your keys outside your vehicle is a moment when you are distracted and vulnerable. A moment of distraction is all the thief or rapist needs. Have your key in your hand before you approach your car.

Be Alert For Suspicious Situations.

If someone is on the passenger side of a vehicle close to where you will enter your car, and that vehicle is idling, be careful. Get a store attendant or someone you feel is safe to help you to your car.

Call For Help to Assist a Disabled Vehicle.

Women who drive alone should always keep a cell phone handy in the vehicle. If you see a man or a woman waving to cars for help because their car has problems, use your cell phone to call for assistance rather than putting yourself in jeopardy.

Be Suspicious of Unmarked Police Cars.

If you have a suspicion that the flashing lights you see in your rear view mirror are not those of a real police officer, take steps to protect yourself. Pull into a well-lit area with plenty of witnesses while keeping your doors locked and windows up. Ask to see the officer’s badge number and call the local precinct station for verification. Call 911 if the person refuses to show identification or acts suspiciously.

Know the Route to your Destination.

Men are the worst when it comes to asking for directions, but women are at their most vulnerable when they are lost. Map out your route via GPS before you leave if necessary. Keep friends and family apprised of your errands and appointments, when and where you will be expected.

Your Vehicle is your Fortress and your Escape Pod.

Familiarize yourself with the anti-theft, GPS, and other protective features of your vehicle. OnStar and other equipment will alert authorities under certain emergency circumstances. Keep your vehicle well-maintained and learn to check fluids and tire pressure before you leave on a trip.

Pessimistic Planning

Learn the best actions to take in a set of hypothetical scenarios. On foot, if a potential abductor approaches you it is a good idea to run and make a lot of noise. Do not give him the chance to take you to a different location. Once he controls what is happening you have few safe choices. When followed go to a police station. If you discover someone in your back seat, hit your brakes, get out of the car and run. Try to plan for what you would do in these situations. It could save your life.

Safety and Wellbeing for Women Drivers

This article is intended to help women drivers learn how to be safe and secure when driving alone. Society has gotten to the point where opportunists are waiting for you to forget to lock your car doors, to allow yourself to become momentarily distracted, or to remain oblivious of your surroundings so they can strike.
Creative Success Alliance

Avoid Driving Drunk

How to Avoid Driving Drunk Checklist
Football season has begun, and Halloween is a week away, but these are just two of the reasons you may find yourself at a party where food and liquor are all around you, and as we continue through Autumn, even bigger holidays are fast approaching. Between peer pressure, the love of a good time, and just not paying attention, it’s easy to drink too much and become intoxicated, but what should you do if you’re too drunk to drive?

The easy answer, of course, is that if you even suspect you’ve had too much to drink, you should not get behind the wheel of a car. You might get lucky, and make it home without incident, but the costs if you don’t may be astronomical: you risk losing your insurance, losing your license, and paying hefty fines, not to mention what injuries you may cause to other people on the road.

How do you avoid driving drunk? Here are four suggestions to keep you off the road until your head is clear:

1. Hand Your Keys to Someone Else: If you’re at a bar, ask the bartender to hold your keys. If you’re at a party, give your keys to a friend, or have your host put them in a safe location. Wherever you are, and whomever takes your keys, be explicit: they are not to hand them back until the next morning, when you are completely sober.

2. Keep Cab Fare Handy: If you’re club-hopping or bar-hopping, or even if you’re only going to one place, always keep enough money for cab fare in a separate part of your wallet, then forget about it, until you need to pay for a ride home. It’s also a good idea to keep the number of a reliable cab company programmed into your cell phone, or on a card with your hidden money. If you’re a student, you should know that many cab companies or campus police offer “no questions asked” rides home when you’re too intoxicated to drive.

3. Arrange for a Designated Driver: If you regularly go out with a group of people, take turns being the designated driver. Yes, this means that the person holding the keys doesn’t get to drink that night, but there will be other nights, and watching your drunk friends’ behavior when you’re sober can be both entertaining and educational.

4. If You have No Other Options, Don’t Drink: It may sound ridiculously easy, but if you know the only way home is to drive yourself, you need to simply Not Drink. After all, you can’t drive drunk if you’ve been sipping only soda or water, and while a good cocktail is tasty, the reality is that no one need to be drunk to have fun.
Even adults can be influenced by peer pressure, so it’s also important to consider the people you party with. If they belittle you for not drinking, or aren’t willing to take their turns as designated driver, perhaps you should reconsider who your friends really are.

How to Prevent School Bus Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association 1,541 people have died in school transportation related crashes since 1997. That averages out to about 140 people per year. Most of those are in other vehicles involved; however, on average 19 school age children die in those crashes each year.

Five of those deaths were children that were in the school bus vehicle and the other 14 were pedestrians. Read on to find out how you can prevent your child from being in a school bus accident.


1) Teach your child school bus safety. This includes knowing the school bus danger zone, which is ten feet wide on all sides of the bus. If you can't see the bus driver, he/she can't see you.

2) Educate your child to listen to the bus driver at all times. This may mean that your child needs to remain quiet while on the bus in order to hear the instructions.

3) Instruct children to never throw things on the bus as it can be very dangerous and someone might get hurt.

4) Teach children not to tamper with or play with the fire extinguisher or emergency exit.

5) Instruct your child to NEVER walk behind the bus. Children should always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them. Prior to walking in front of the bus, children should make eye contact with the bus driver and wait for their signal that it is ok to go.

6) It may seem like common sense, but remind children to look both ways before crossing the street to board the school bus. Even though cars are supposed to stop for the children and the bus, some do not.

7) Teach your child to ask the bus driver for help if they drop anything near the bus. Bending down to pick it up without talking to the bus driver is very unsafe and can cause an accident.

8) Educate your children to wait for the bus in a safe area; standing back from the curb, one that is away from the roadway where cars are driving.

Tips, Warnings

1) Supervise your child when they get on/off the bus, if possible.

2) Have children hold the hand rail when getting on/off the bus.

3) Don't run between parked cars and/or buses.

4) Don't jump up and down on the bus.

5) Don't fight or tease other passengers.

Dave Lindahl 

Back-to-School Safety Tips

With children headed back to the classroom, Edgar Snyder & Associates wants to make sure your kids travel safely. The following back-to-school safety tips will help prevent accidents as children return to the hallways of elementary, middle, and high schools across the country.

School Bus Safety for Children

Bus safety is not only important for drivers, but also for children riding the bus to school. While these safety tips for bus riders are common sense, they bear repeating:

•Wait for the bus away from traffic and the street.

•Do not head toward the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver waves you on.

•When exiting the bus, walk away from the bus and keep a safe distance. A driver can see you better the further out you are. A good rule is to take five "giant steps" out from the font of the bus, or until the driver’s face can be seen.

•Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped.

School Bus Safety for Parents
There are also some simple steps that parents can take to make sure their kids are safe when getting on or off the school bus:

•Supervise children as they wait for the bus, making sure they are away from the street and are not roughhousing.

•Instruct your child to ask the driver for help if he or she drops something near the bus. If a child bends down to pick something up, the driver may not see him or her.

•Have your child use a backpack or book bag to keep loose items together.

•Check to make sure clothing and backpacks don’t have loose drawstrings or long straps that can get caught in the handrail or bus door.

•If you think a bus stop is in a dangerous place, you can talk to the school office or transportation director about changing the location.

School Bus Safety for Drivers

While riding the bus is safer than riding in a car, the great majority of bus-related injuries and fatalities occur as children enter and exit the bus. That’s why it’s important to follow your state’s school bus stopping law. Breaking this law endangers lives and may result in fines or a suspended license.

•When you meet a stopped school bus with lights flashing and the stop arm extended, you must stop.

•When you approach an intersection where a stopped school bus has its lights flashing and its stop sign extended, you must stop.

•You are required to stop at least ten feet away from the school bus.

•You must not move until the school bus turns its lights off and withdraws its stop sign.

•Make sure all children have reached a safe place before proceeding.

At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we see first-hand the devastation caused by reckless drivers. Every year, children are injured or killed by drivers passing stopped school buses. Please drive with extra caution during the back-to-school season. One injured child is one too many.

For more information, see our tips to avoid back-to-school injuries on playground and in the classroom.