Car safety tips for students

You may be rushing off to class because you’re late for a lecture or an exam. Whatever the reason may be, precaution and safety should come first. You need to check your surroundings and be aware of any irregular activity that could be taking place.

Students often feel that, because they are in a protected environment with security guards, they are safe from any imminent danger. The truth is perpetrators will take advantage of any opportunity they come across.

There are a number of things you should be aware of in order to minimise any criminal activity.

Smash and grab

When you leave items out in the open, you draw in unnecessary attention. Petty thieves are always on the lookout for vehicles that have laptops, sunglasses, handbags, iPads and cellphones on car seats. It’s better to store valuable items in the boot of your car. If the items are in the boot, petty thieves will not know what items you have in your car. If petty thieves see valuable items lying around in the car they will not think twice about smashing your window and grabbing the item.

Locked doors

Take the time to ensure that your car is locked, before walking away. You need to make sure you can clearly hear the ‘beep’ sound when you lock your doors. Students need to be aware of car jamming. This happens when an individual locks his doors with a remote control and the perpetrator also pushes the lock option on their remote at the same time. The driver will think that their locking system has been activated but it has not. If you vehicle is manually locked, take the time to check if all doors are locked.

Traffic lights

When you are distracted with your phone or have loud music pumping in your car at traffic lights, then you make yourself a target. Criminals are constantly seeking opportunities to smash and grab items. When you are nearing a traffic light, be vigilant. Don’t open your windows all the way down. If windows are open all the way at the back and there is no one sitting on the back seats then criminals can just freely take the items they want.

Opening your car   

When you are opening car doors, don’t spend a long time shuffling around looking for your car keys. You should make sure your car keys are in a place that makes them easily accessible. The longer you take searching for your car keys, the more it makes you vulnerable to criminals.

Personal Security Alarms

Carry pepper spray in your handbag. If you are in a situation where you are ambushed by a criminal in the parking lot, using pepper spray may delay the criminal’s tactics. Pepper spray is convenient as it is small and can be carried in your handbag. A noisemaker is also recommended because it makes an extremely loud noise. Perpetrators don’t like anything that will draw attention to themselves. If they hear a loud noise from the noisemaker they are likely to be caught off guard and run away. If you are already in your vehicle just hoot incessantly.

Crime Hotspots

There are areas where criminals are most active and are dangerous. Make sure you ask around. Ask your landlord, university and the local police, which areas are crime hotspots. Be on high alert when you are driving around these areas. They are hotspots for a reason which means they are dangerous. If it’s possible, take another, safer route going home. It may be less convenient but your safety is paramount.

Crowds

If you’re studying in the library until the early hours, find friends that will walk with you to the parking lot. There is safety in numbers. Criminals usually stay away from crowds. If you’re studying alone, ask the security guard to walk you to your car and leave when you are safe enough.

Being followed

When you are driving and you suspect a car is following you, call the police immediately. Then head to the nearest police station. If there is no police station nearby, go to a garage.There will be more people there and it will take the criminal off course. You can also go to a full parking lot where there are many people and cars.

As a student it doesn’t matter if you bought an affordable used car in Gauteng or drive a luxury car. The vehicle you drive probably means a lot to you and you need to make sure you look after it and yourself.

Students need to be vigilant so they are always protected from any danger. You need to be sure you’re paying attention to any anybody in the parking lot. If they seem suspicious, go to a security and immediately report them. Be aware of your surroundings. Students could also equip themselves with protection tools, such as pepper spray, in order to take control of themselves.

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