Drive – Buy a car and stay safe. The subject of women being safe when out and about is in the media right now in the UK. This has prompted me to write about how I stay safe and have done for many years. I OWN a car and rent a car wherever I travel. A car is my safe space. Travel where you want, when you want in comfort. I believe a car gives a woman independence, security and freedom.
Admittedly cars have become slightly non PC recently due to the environmental damage they inflict on the planet. However, hydrogen and electric cars are becoming commonplace and you can get a small runaround that will run 100% on electricity.
Why do I drive?
Why do I drive? I hate public transport! The prospect of being crammed onto a train with a load of other people is enough to make me shudder. AND I do feel vulnerable on public transport. It is unpleasant! I bought my first car many moons ago when I lived in Paris. A gorgeous little black Mini that was my constant companion and took me everywhere! WHY buy a car in Paris!! I can hear you exclaim. Well, back in the day (remember I am ancient) it was quite the norm for girls to buy a little runaround – safe and practical. For me, travelling on the Metro was a horrible experience. Several times I was subjected to men ‘exposing’ themselves on the train. Laughed off but quite unpleasant. Constantly chatted up and it was an ordeal and sometimes frightening.. Solution: Voila! My Mini.
- Travel in comfort and safety. Get in the car, lock the doors and off you go.
- Never have to walk alone at night, just hop in your car.
- Load up the car with everything you need for the day and off you go.
- Take a trip whenever you want, no need to worry about finding transport.
- Never have to worry about strange men on public transport, the hassle of male advances, women will never feel vulnerable in the safety of their car.
Driving empowers women
We all hope for the day when women can achieve total equality and men will leave US alone. Male attitudes need to change. We do not want to be harassed by men! Personally, I think we need stricter laws and a zero tolerance policy in the UK. However, until that day comes I recommend ALL women buy a car.
Once you become a confident driver your car is a Passport to the world! Hop in and explore your home country, with friends or alone. I always hire a car when I travel abroad. The best way to experience a country is to take a road trip in my opinion. AND take as much stuff as want with you along the way.
Also, meet up with your friends in the evening and do not worry about walking home in the dark. I was just trying to think of a city where I feel totally secure walking alone at night. Monaco is the only one that comes to mind. Why is Monaco safe? Lots of CCTV, friendly police officers everywhere and a zero tolerance policy on petty crime. Maybe we can learn from this in London!
How to become a confident driver?
Drive – buy a car and stay safe is my motto! How to become so confident? Practice, practice, practice and just get on with it. When I was learning to drive, my Dad gave me a driving lesson. I muddled up the Accelerator and brake pedal and crashed dramatically into a tree! Did I give up? No, of course not (although he refused to go in a car with me for a few years!). Nowadays I can drive everything from a 7.5 tonne horse truck, tractors, quads and even boats. Keep going and you WILL gain in confidence.
Driving is Expensive!
YES! It is indeed. HOWEVER …… personally, I would put a car at the top of my list of ‘must haves’. Save money and spend it on a car. If you live in a city and cannot practically buy a car then buy a motorbike or a moped.
A change in attitude
The argument goes “It is a tiny proportion of men who behave badly”. This is true, the vast majority treat women with respect. HOWEVER 2 women are killed every week in the UK in domestic violence incidents. A recent survey found that 97% of women had experienced harassment by men.
I am trying to think of examples of ‘harassment’ from my own personal experience. There are too many to mention! Incidents that I think of as harassment, many men think of as ‘chatting up’. Sometimes it is hard to know how to react. Here is an example. See what you think. I’m a middle aged woman wearing a long skirt (to my ankles) standing in a baggage drop queue at Nice airport. I look around and see 4 young men in the queue behind me. One of them is kneeling down on the floor with his arm stretched out and his phone under my skirt! “upskirting’ is a crime in England and involves taking a photo of a woman under her skirt! He sees me and his hand shoots back, all four look like frightened rabbits and I scowl at them. A cursory glance around to see if anyone in the queue has witnessed this behaviour. No, they are all chatting to themselves. I have a little chat with myself. What shall I do?
- Do I confront the young men? All respectible looking, middle class chaps. This will cause a scene in front of many people. Is upskirting even a crime in France, I have no idea.
- Do I ask to see the photo and for them to remove it? Suppose he didn’t have time to actually take a photo and I make a fuss over nothing?
- Do I ignore it? Put my suitcase behind me to prevent a repeat of the behaviour? I chose this option. What would you have done?
Anyway, I NEVER have a problem in the safety of my car and this is why I love driving so much. Drive – buy a car and stay safe, I say.