All motorists, regardless of their gender, should be alert and careful at all times when on the road. Nevertheless, women drivers are still seen as more vulnerable and as such need to exercise more caution. This is especially true when driving rental cars on unfamiliar roads abroad.
To help female motorists stay safe and ensure that their vacation remains an enjoyable experience, here are some simple driving tips to keep in mind:
Choose a Simple Car
If the rental company allows you to request the vehicle you want, it’s better to choose a common model. High-end cars attract a lot of attention; they’re also more expensive. By choosing a simpler vehicle, you can minimise the risk of theft and other similar incidents. Besides, you’ll probably find an “ordinary” car easier to drive than a flashy one.
Inspect the Car Before Driving
Before driving out of the lot, make sure to inspect the car thoroughly. Check the tyres if they’re properly inflated, and make sure that the tank is full. You should also confirm if you have the basic equipment for roadside emergencies, such as hazard warning signs, tyre inflator, and tyre-changing tools.
It’s also important to take note of any existing damage, such as scratches to the paint, minor dents, and such. Accidental damage will be covered by the rental car’s insurance; if you’re at fault, your insurance will provide the cover (if you don’t have insurance, you’ll pay out of pocket). Thus, proper documentation is necessary to avoid any hassles later on.
Familiarise Yourself with the Vehicle
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving. Every car is different, so you’ll need a little time to get used to a new vehicle. Adjust the seat and mirrors to maximise comfort and visibility and take note of all the switches. The ones for the headlights, turn signals, and windshield wipers are arguably the most important ones to know.
If you must, drive more slowly than usual while you’re still trying to get a feel of the car before going up to your usual speeds.
Study the Road and Plan Your Trips
Before you even arrive at the car rental lot, study the roads you’re going to take and make plans accordingly. Find out the safest, most familiar routes, as well as possible alternatives in case of emergencies. If you must drive at night, stick to main roads and well-lit areas.
You should also take extra care in driving. When you’re driving at home, you’re already familiar with the roads and know where all the bumps and dips are. It’s also easy to get new parts, say shock absorbers, to replace damaged components. When you’re travelling, the experience will definitely be different so you need to be just a little bit more careful. (Besides, remember that you don’t want to damage your rental car in the first place.)
Know Who to Call When Emergencies Happen
The car rental company will likely provide you with telephone numbers to call in case of car troubles and other emergencies. If not, talk to the rental age and request the information. To be safe, keep a copy of these numbers in your bag or wallet. You should also note the contact details of hospitals or clinics, just in case you need medical attention.
It’s best to keep a car charger handy, as well. You never know when your phone will run out of charge, so it’s always best to be prepared. Finally, just as you should know who to call during an emergency, others should also know who to contact if you’re in trouble. Keep an emergency contact card with you at all times, and place a copy in the car as well.
Park in a Safe Area
When it comes to parking your rental, make sure to pick a spot where the car is highly visible. If you can, park where security personnel or attendants can see the vehicle. When it’s time to leave, have the key ready so you can get into the car faster.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Of course, all other driving safety tips apply no matter where you go. Buckle up, lock your doors while driving, keep your distance, and keep your focus on the roads. If you love playing music, keep the volume at a reasonable level so you can still hear what’s going on around you. If you’re carrying valuables, keep them out of sight as you’re driving and bring them without when you get out of the vehicle.
You should also keep your IDs with you at all times, particularly your driver’s licence. If you feel like you’re in trouble, don’t panic. Drive to the nearest police station or a busy place, like a shopping centre, to get some help.
All in all, it’s all about being vigilant. You may be on vacation but that doesn’t mean that you should be careless. In fact, you’ll be able to enjoy your time off more if you’re safe and prepared for any situation. Happy and safe travels!