10 ways to make sure you’re safe while driving

Car maintenance is must
Always check if you have enough fuel in your car before leaving home. You don’t want to be stuck up in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank and bad guys on the prowl. Check the car batteries and coolant routinely. Check your wheels regularly and practice changing tyres at home — the faster you do it, the less chances you have of being harassed on the road. Also, subscribe to an emergency car breakdown repair service and call them in case your motor’s giving trouble — waste no time in dilly-dallying or seeking help from strangers.

Doors locked, windows up
The first step to being safe at the wheels is to make sure your
windows are rolled up and your doors are locked. You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked and your windows open at home, so get in the habit of securing your car the same way before you set out. Do this as soon as you step inside the vehicle — you can touch up on the makeup and check your phone later. Often, women lock their own doors, but forget to check the passenger doors and windows. They prove to be more of a risk, so make sure other doors and windows are safely locked and rolled up too.

Avoid distractions
Keep your music system at a reasonable volume when driving, and don’t space out or check your text messages or make calls to chat up at every traffic signal. Carjackers and harassers rely on the element of surprise, so if you’re keeping eyes and ears alert to what’s going on outside your vehicle, they don’t have a chance to sneak up on you. Drivers should be scanning the road constantly, both ahead and in the rear-view mirror.

Don’t take the same route
It becomes much easier for a stalker to plan an attack if you’ve been using the same road everyday. Make sure you change your route to office, work and your gym or the mall as frequently as you can, especially if you commute during late hours. If there’s no alternative route to your place, pick a friend and bring him/her along with you one day, stop over at another friend’s or family member’s place the next time — the idea is to break the pattern and be unpredictable.

Don’t lock horns
If someone is trying to overtake from the wrong side or honking constantly in order to attract attention, let them go without engaging in road rage. Don’t even look at someone who’s trying to play Smart Alec on the road. Just drive on, or turn away. The worst thing you can do is get into a fight — such drivers are aggressive and can resort to harm in order to feel more powerful than you. It’s not worth it, really.

What to do when chased
Make sure you have emergency numbers on the first few keys of your phone; dial the police or their women’s helpline at the first inkling of being followed, and tell them exactly where you are and which way you’re headed. Drive to the nearest police station (you need to know this beforehand), hospital emergency room entrance (there are usually armed guards there) or any crowded market place where you can get help immediately. Do not stop, even if it means carefully blowing stop signs or a light or turn away into a crowded road.

Keep someone posted
When driving at night, let someone know when you are leaving, what time you expect to arrive at your destination (or checkpoints for longer journeys) and check in with a trusted person every hour. Agree that at check-ins you will give your exact location and if you miss a check-in, your trusted person will notify the police of your last whereabouts and intended destination. Make sure the trusted person has written identification details such as the make, models and year of your car, your license plate number, and a physical description of you including what clothing you have on.

Avoid playing a saviour
If anyone approaches your window asking for directions in slow or stopped traffic, leave the help to someone else — they have a hundred other cars to go to. Do not stop for a lone man or even a couple or family, even if you see their car broken down. In case you do decide to speak to a stranger, crack the window an inch or two instead of opening it all the way. Don’t pull over if someone stops you, and never, ever give a ride to a stranger even if he or she looks ‘genuine’.

Be careful while parking
If you’re parking on a street or inside a mall, find a spot that is well-lit. Avoid parking in areas where very few vehicles are parked. Always look out for crowded areas. Also, make sure you take out the key well before reaching the parking lot and clench it in your fist such that the metal part juts out of your fingers to turn into a weapon if you need to throw a punch at a troublemaker. Don’t park next to large vehicles, windowless vans, vehicles with tinted windows, or trucks with caps.

Don’t fall for old tricks
Not switching on the wipers when faced with an egg smash on your windshield or not reaching out for a pamphlet placed on the glass is important. Another common trick is that while one member of a group of attackers distracts you by making a sound, the other lies low to grab you the moment you step out to check if all is well. In such cases, ignore and drive away; you can always check later.


Top 10 safety websites that women must know about

Self-defence Instruction for women online aims is to acquaint girls with basic self-defence moves that will help them when in trouble. The goal is to help them develop a successful plan before something happens. Basic self defence

moves given on the website have been designed by professionals who have years of experience in creating self-defence programs. The practical self-defence moves are specifically crafted for women/girls, who have no previous training in combatives, or martial arts. Log on to this site to learn these easy moves and stay safe.

On this website detective Kevin Coffey, an expert in travel safety and other crime avoidance advice, lists important safety measures that women should take in their daily lives. From smart safety travel tips on how to avoid date rape drugs, tips to prevent rape and escape from the rapist to a host of other safety tips from experts including women cops, the website has a comprehensive coverage of various safety issues surrounding women. The detailed presentation of these topics with subheads makes it easier for one to implement the instructions. For instance, safety tips for women travellers has sub-topics such as how to choose a hotel, how to have a safe flight, how to take care of your luggage, money and etc.

The safety tips given on this website provide you with common day to day measures that you can take to protect yourself against criminal activity. Each of the articles listing safety tips give information on real life threatening scenarios and how you can prepare yourself to ensure your safety. Having the knowledge and a pre-planned set of actions to take for as many scenarios of danger as you may face, can improve your chances of not getting victimised. Some of the articles on this website are on ATM safety, driving safety, home safety, parking lot safety, transportation safety, travel safety, vacation safety, and walking safety.

This is yet another website that should feature in a woman’s must-check list. There are a wide range of topics on women safety that are covered here. Beginning with safe dating tips, night-outs, returning home late from work, solo boating safety practices, to tips on how to be safe in unfamiliar countries, use the cell phone safely and more, there’re a host of useful tips for women. It also has a special section for single pregnant travellers. Most of these tips are handy and can help avert awkward and uncomfortable situations. Also it tells you what to do if you are being followed, if you are walking alone to your home at night, if you are out on your first date with a person you don’t know well, and more.

This website by a woman called Sera is meant for women. Though on the outset it may look like any regular website offering beauty, shopping, health and fitness tips and easy recipes but delve a little further in the tips section, and you come across interesting tips on how to stay safe at night. The website suggests you take your dog along with you, carry a weapon like pepper spray or a knife, tell someone where you are heading to, be confident etc. It also provides you with tactics to deal with burglars.

6 )
A comprehensive women safety website that gives out self-defence tips and tricks for women. The USP of the website is one new safety tip that pops up on the top right side, prompting what to do when caught in a life-threatening situation. It also has a section on domestic violence and how to deal with it. The category titled common threats enumerates all possible threats that a woman is likely to face, and ways to avoid them. It encourages readers to share their stories and ways through which they got out of a dangerous situation. It also has pictures showing self-defence methods when one is attacked.

7 )
The website has put up life-saving lessons taken from real life interactions with children’s groups, college students, civic groups, corporations, rape survivors, and veteran cops at police academies. There is also a special section on home security that creates awareness about home invasions and burglaries and also gives safety tips on how to avoid them. You will also find the inputs on safe driving, parking lot safety, and street crime tips quite useful. The real-life stories throughout this website show you how to stack the odds in your favour. You’ll also find tips on how to avoid a face-to-face encounter, control fear, and most importantly, how to outsmart them.

8 )
Women-related laws and women-centric issues are tackled in detail in this resourceful website. The online portal simplifies laws and makes women aware of their legal and safety rights. Many real life stories and legal cases with the verdict are available on the website for women to refer to and learn from them. Some interesting must-reads here are Legal Rights: Problems Faced by Working Women in India; Indian Laws: Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill. So, if you have any doubts regarding your rights and don’t know what to do, try logging into this website, and know about the your laws in details, without having to worry about tough language or incomprehensible jargon. The cases in example act as good reference points for women.

All motorists need to be careful on the highway, but female drivers of all ages, unfortunately, have to be doubly vigilant to avoid becoming victims of crimes while driving, including carjacking, sexual assault, robbery and worse. Articles on this website give tips to women on such issues so that such unwarranted incidents of carjacking, robbery, sexual assault by a passenger etc can be avoided. This website has everything that you need to know about safe commuting. Read up before you take to the roads, and be safe.

This website gives practical and helpful tips to women who are living alone or are planning to live alone for the first time. Right from choosing an accommodation to installing alarm systems, and getting to know the neighbours, the site tells you everything that you need to know about safety and security when you are on your own. You can also find information about your legal rights when it comes to taking a place on rent, dealing with the landlord and other issues related to accommodation. Detailed and simplified explanations make this website quite
user-friendly too.

10 things women must keep in mind while travelling alone

This article was printed by the Hindustan Times newspaper for the safety of women under the Safe in the city campaign.So do read these tips as they are very useful.There are several such articles,i`ll definitely post it for u all.

Look out for danger
Be aware of your surroundings, watch out for the people around you. This doesn’t mean being unnecessarily paranoid. But if you find somebody taking extra interest in you, or if you see the same guy turning up at the market or near your hotel again and again, take note. Bring it to the notice of the cops in the area. Don’t ignore it; he may be a stalker. Since it’s an unfamiliar place, do not try to resolve the matter by speaking to the person. It’s always better to stay safe and be proactive. Also, while in an unknown territory, keep important helpline and emergency numbers with you. When you feel the situation is beyond your control, call up for help without a second thought.

Trust your instincts
Traveling to foreign lands does not mean that a woman puts her instincts on a holiday too. You may not know the language of the land, but listen to your gut feeling to gauge whether a person trying to be friendly means harm or not. If a person is making you uncomfortable, or a situation is suddenly going from friendly to overfriendly, get out of there as fast as possible. Also, don’t get into arguments with strangers, be polite but firm. Always remember they would have more friends than you do in their city, and just in case they decide to teach you a lesson, you’d be outnumbered. It’s better to take precautions and be on your guard.

A guidebook can Help
A guide book is the most helpful companion on a trip to an unknown land. It can help you get familiar with the streets and culture of the place. It also provides information about the hotels to stay at, their location and shopping places. The guidebook also gives you information about the eating joints around. It’s better not to ask strangers for information on such things as they can mislead you or get you into trouble. Try not to be adventurous and take off to unfamiliar suburbs or faraway restaurants as it would be difficult to get help in such places. Plan visits to places mentioned in the guidebook as these books suggest things only after doing proper research.

Busy places are safe
This is an old advice, but often ignored. Don’t walk alone on deserted stretches, especially in the dark. Think about things you wouldn’t do in your home country, like walking down isolated roads or taking off without telling someone. Going to a popular and crowded place can actually make a woman less of a target, as it helps her to blend in with the surroundings and get help when needed. Moreover, in a crowd, a person would think twice before harassing you as he would not want to draw attention to himself. So, always remember, when on foreign shores, stick around only in crowded places and leave a note at the hotel, saying where you are going.

Guard your belongings
Use covered luggage tags. Instead of your home address, write that of your office. Don’t let people know where you stay. Lock all suitcases and secure documents that reveal your identity. Keep your passport safe; carry a copy of it and leave the original in the hotel safe. When out, keep a close track of your handbag; don’t leave it on the floor or a chair. A good idea is to put your valuables in a security waist pack and wear it while sleeping. When you go to the lavatory, take your purse/valuables with you. For your safety, carry important self-defence tools such as pocket knives, pepper spray, torch, etc. For the entire list, refer to yesterday’s Safe In The City page.

Pick your hotel with care
If you are going to a country for the first time, it is wise to get a room booked in advance after thorough research. It saves you from being lost in a new place. After the first night, you can always find another hotel that suits you better. When choosing a hotel, aim for a busy street (neighbourhood restaurants and late-night stores mean traffic). Avoid corporate office areas which get deserted at night. Affluent residential areas tend to have more reliable transportation and fewer threatening people. A reception and concierge desk near the entrance or elevators is more likely to deter miscreants from entering the hotel. Check if your hotel has a safe; avoid carrying valuables around.

Dress appropriately
It’s important to dress according to the culture of the place you are visiting. Even though it’s your right to dress the way you want, understanding a country’s culture and dress code will save a woman from unwanted attention and would allow her to interact more comfortably with the local population. Avoid wearing something too revealing as that draws unnecessary attention.  Also, avoid wearing jewellery or expensive items as that would make you an easy target for thieves. Always dress comfortably, so that in time of danger you can easily get away and make a run for your safety. Tightly-fitted clothing will restrict your movement.

Sightseeing Tips
Study a map before going out; once on the street, use a pocket-size guidebook to avoid looking like a tourist. Your hotel’s concierge or a female employee can mark all those areas on your map that can pose danger and should be avoided. While walking from your hotel towards the town, register landmarks and remember street names so you can find your way back. If you must ask for directions, approach families or women with children. To be extra safe, say, “Where is the XYZ place? I’m meeting my husband there.” If possible, also try to carry a GPS-enabled phone with you so that you don’t get lost.

Watch your drinks
Nightlife is one of the great perks of travel. If you are travelling alone, enjoy yourself, but bear in mind that being tipsy in your own neighbourhood is a lot different from being tipsy in a bar in an unknown place. For one, your instincts are short and any potential danger goes unnoticed. Secondly, getting home isn’t easy, especially in foreign cabs on unknown streets. But that doesn’t mean you turn into a teetotaller on your trips abroad, just know your limit and don’t go overboard. No matter how stressed you are, alcohol shouldn’t act as a stress-buster in a new land. If you have to beat stress, try something more safe like listening to music or watching a movie.

Company can be helpful
Travelling as a woman alone can be brilliant, but in case you want to go somewhere remote and would like company, having other fellow travellers accompanying you is a great idea. Travellers often watch out for each other, and sometimes, this is the best safety bet. There are many advantages of having someone along with you because if you do get into trouble then there will be at least two of you to tackle it.