Advice On What Safety Items To Keep In Your Car

Women are putting themselves at extra risk this winter by failing to carry vital safety equipment in their car, according to a new report.

Research by Aston University in association with the Birmingham-based motoring safety campaign DriveSafe has shown that although women are more concerned about driving in poor weather conditions they are not as prepared for their journey as their male counterparts.

The findings in 'Perception of risk, feelings of vulnerability and effects on driving behaviour of women drivers across the lifespan', produced by Holly Gwyther with Dr Carol Holland and Dr Ros Hill of the Psychology Department, are based on a three month survey of 267 women drivers and 127 male drivers in the UK.

The survey states that a breakdown service number, warm blanket, hot drink and shovel are just a few essentials that all drivers should be carrying in their car, especially in the event of a breakdown or accident on icy or flooded roads.

It also reveals that male drivers were more likely to carry a visibility jacket, tools and jack, and a warning triangle, foot pump, torch and tow rope.

Although admitting that they felt more concerned and vulnerable about driving in bad weather conditions, women were less likely to carry such emergency items.

The main considerations for women drivers were having a mobile phone and a breakdown service number in their car, keeping their car doors locked at night and their valuables out of sight while driving, parking in well-lit streets or car parks, and keeping their keys in hand when walking to and from their car.

The three popular emergency items kept in their cars by all drivers were a mobile phone (73%), ice scraper/de-icer (68.7%) and sunglasses (61.4%).

Fay Goodman, Founder of DriveSafe, said: "This authoritative report reinforces our determination to do all we can to protect women at the wheel and to reduce the fear and vulnerability that many of us may feel on the roads.

The findings will be reflected in a new edition of our popular DriveSafe handy pack, which will now include a support and advice section for male drivers.

With our unpredictable weather and the female motorist usually carrying children, the DriveSafe report confirms that female motorists could improve their safety by ensuring practical items are in the boot of their vehicle.

I believe that to protect the whole family we need to provide informative, practical and useful information on how we can better plan our journeys to prevent a breakdown and/or accident, which then exposes us to other risks.

We also initiated the 'Courtesy on the Road' campaign to encourage more polite and understanding behaviour between drivers.  All too often people flare up too quickly and this can result in road rage or bad driving.
Keeping cool and courteous will work towards avoiding road rage and subsequently increase our safety and wellbeing on the road.

It is useful to remember that children in the car will watch and pick up on our behaviour. If they see road rage and/or bad manners displayed they will assume this is acceptable and consequently adopt this behaviour themselves.
DriveSafe is aimed at all the family and I look forward to seeing people say 'DriveSafe' and mean it!"

14 February 2010 Staff

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