9 roadblock safety tips every woman needs to know this festive season
It's important to know your rights
“We hear scary stories about woman being pulled over by criminals posing as police officers. As a woman travelling alone, you may want to consider having a security backup plan in place if you are unsure about whether you are being legitimately pulled over,” says Fidelity ADT’s regional executive Agnieszka Gryn.
The sad reality in South Africa is woman have to work harder than men to keep themselves safe. This applies to being stopped at roadblocks too. Gryn gave us important tips to keep in mind if you happen to be pulled over during the festive season:
- If you are being stopped at a SAPS checkpoint, they will direct you to where you need to pull your vehicle off the road. You must obey and stop. This is normally a standard, planned roadblock which is easily identified by the cars in front of you that have been pulled over.
- If you have been flashed to stop by a marked or unmarked police vehicle, put your hazards on to acknowledge their request and start driving slower or signal by hand that they must follow. Make sure you bring your vehicle to a standstill where it is safe for all. If there is a nearby garage, rather pull into the garage parking area or the nearest police station. If in any doubt at any point, contact 10111 and give them the registration details and as much info as possible about the vehicle that is asking you to pull off.
- Typically, the officer will ask you to turn off your vehicle without taking your keys. They can, however, take your keys if circumstances make it necessary.
- You may request that the officers provide identification, irrespective of whether they are in uniform.
- Only if you have given the officers consent to search your vehicle, may they do so. Otherwise they must have a warrant to search your vehicle.
- A woman may only be body searched by a female officer.
- Speak in a calm, but audible, voice and follow instructions. Present your driver’s licence, if requested. If it is in the boot, inform the officer you need to get out of the vehicle to get to it.
- Do not pay any bribes whatsoever, no matter how small or big.
- The only way to avoid being stopped for outstanding fines is to not have them in the first place. Drive responsibly, do not speed and do not pay any fines on the spot.