Keeping safe on the road

By Jason K. Ang September 02,2014

IF ENTERING the car from a public place or parking lot, check that there are no intruders inside.

The car is one of the more vulnerable spaces that one stays in, unlike the home or office, which are usually more secure. While traveling in a car, one is subject to attack, whether it’s a petty criminal or a sophisticated gang.


Social networks and personal texts indicate that kidnapping, theft and assault on vehicles is becoming a regular occurrence. Here are some ways you can make your journey in a car more secure:


Before driving:


1. Make sure that your car is roadworthy before driving off. Check for leaks and pools of fluid under the car. (Water coming from the air conditioning is normal.) Visually check that the tires are properly inflated.


2. If entering the car from a public place or parking lot, check that there are no intruders inside. Keep an eye out for people loitering nearby. If it does not seem safe to approach your car, go back and ask for help from security.


3. Fill up your gas in the daytime, and in a familiar place, as much as possible.


4. Once you get into your car, do not dilly-dally. Lock your doors and drive away. Avoid checking your gadgets or applying makeup.


5. Know your route and alternatives if the original route is blocked. Let a family member or colleague know where you are heading and what time you should be expected back.


While driving:


1. Keep your doors locked and windows closed. Do not interact with people on the street. A video has circulated showing a boy begging for alms, who held open the window of a van, harassing the occupants. Take note that power windows are designed to stop when they encounter an obstruction.


2. Don’t leave your gadgets or handbag visible on the seat or cargo area. This makes them a tempting target for thieves. A friend reported seeing kids pulling open car doors in traffic, grabbing gadgets and running off with them.


DON’T leave gadgets or handbag visible on the seat or cargo area.

3. Be alert to possible threats. If another motorist motions that something is wrong with your car (such as a flat tire) and you must stop, do not stop immediately. Assess the situation. Drive to a safer place such as a gasoline station to ask for help.


4. If another car bumps you from behind, avoid getting out of the vehicle. This may be a ploy to make you get down from your car and have someone take over your vehicle, or abduct you. Take note of the car’s make, model, and license plate if possible.


5. When stopping at a traffic light, leave enough space in front of you to quickly get away if necessary. Always scan adjacent lanes to find a space to maneuver to, in case someone blocks your car. This also helps you to avoid genuine accidents.


After driving:


1. When parking, keep valuables out of sight. Lock them in the trunk or in the glove box. Park in a secure area, preferably near the exit. Backing into a space makes it easier to drive out quickly.


2. Consider buying and installing a dash cam to record possible incidents while on the road. Make sure it is reliable and has sufficient memory.


Source: “V.I.P. Protection” by Lieutenant General Romulo F. Yap (Ret.)

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