Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Safety tips for the season

Published:Monday | December 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and by far, the scariest. Between careless drivers and thieves plaguing the streets in a bid to be grinches who stole Christmas, we all have to be vigilant when it comes to shopping, partying and travelling for the holidays.

Here are a few road-safety tips to keep in mind for the season.

Shopping

- Shop in a group. That way you can have help in carrying each others' shopping bags, and thereby properly police and protect your person.

- Shop during the daytime as much as possible, so you are better able to see what's going on around you. And if you do shop at nights, have a friend tag along and make an event out of it.

- Avoid carrying around a wallet, purse or large amounts of cash. Never keep your money in your back pocket or in one place. Instead, compartmentalise it, keeping some in the front or side pocket - and some women actually store it in their clothes.

- While shopping, it is important to always be aware of your

surroundings.

Partying

- Drink responsibly. Never say to the bartender 'fix me whatever'. And try to eat a hearty meal before attending any party, snack during the party if it is an all-inclusive or has food on sale, or grab something to eat from a jerk or soup man before driving home. Eating something cuts the intoxication, and it's the best route to sober land.

- Don't drink and drive. Drivers tend to speed when they are intoxicated. If you don't have a designated driver, have a cab number on hand to take you home.

- Watch your drink at all times, or ensure someone in your group is. And if you are dropping your friends off (especially females) be sure to keep an eye out and do not drive off until they have safely entered their homes.

- If you will be coming home late ... leave a light on, or call someone ahead to meet you outside. Robbers tend to prey on those who are alone.

- Be attentive when it comes to other drivers on the road. The fact that you are being cautious does not mean that they are. It is better to be safe than to be sorry.

Travelling

- So many of us are travelling to the country for the season. Travel together and do so early to avoid the traffic.

- Cut your speed. Always watch the speed limit. The Christmas dinner will be right there waiting for you, so no rush, especially if you are not familiar with the road. Enjoy the scenery and pass the time by bonding with the loved ones with whom you are travelling. Obey the road signs and stoplights. If you are not familiar with the area, then always be on the lookout. Prevention is better than cure.

- Keep phone usage to a minimum. There is a new trend of robbers grabbing the phone through the window while you are talking on it, especially at a stoplight. If you do need to use your phone, do so with the windows up and keep your doors locked. Also keep calls brief, manoeuvring a car requires your full attention.

- If you are driving at night or on a long journey, ensure that the front-seat passenger is up and alert with the driver. Its also good to have a second pair of eyes on the road.

- Don't leave bags or packages on your car seat. That's very attractive to thieves. Instead store them in the trunk.