When women drive alone, car crashes aren’t the only risk we face. Unfortunately, carjacking, abduction, and falling prey to a police impersonator all pose additional hazards for women. While it’s important not to be overly fearful of these things while driving, it’s smart to be on the lookout for trouble and to be prepared if you’re confronted.
One way to stay safe when traveling solo is to be careful where you park. Find a well-lit spot or parking lot, and avoid places where few other vehicles are parked. Lock your car, and memorize or jot down its location. Other ways to stay safe include: having your keys handy to lock or unlock your door; paying attention to vehicles near yours; and avoiding playing Good Samaritan, particularly in remote locations. Have directions handy whenever you’re going somewhere new, and always let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to arrive, especially if going on a long trip. The back-up person can alert police quickly if you fail to return on schedule, saving critical time — and perhaps your life.
Finally, most all of us want to be law-abiding citizens, but if you’re being pulled over by an unmarked police car and you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong or think the “officer” looks suspicious, call 911 and ask for the local police authority. They should be able to tell you whether unmarked cars are patrolling your area. If you’re still not sure, turn on your dome light and wave to acknowledge that you see them. Then drive slowly to a well-lit, populated area — a gas station or convenience store, for example — before pulling to a stop. Don’t leave your car or roll down the window. Make sure the officer is in uniform and have them show their official identification card (not just a badge).