6 Safety Tips While Stuck in Traffic (Especially When Driving Alone)

I don’t know what’s been happening lately, but I’ve been reading plenty of robbery cases even though, people are supposedly safe inside their cars.

traffic disadvantage

Traffic is the worst conundrum in the Philippines. The hours wasted on the road, the stressful drive, especially if you’re driving a stick shift, are just a few problems which all motorists and commuters dread. And lately, there has been an addition to be feared: thieves, a menace to society!!

Here are some ways to keep safe and to prevent thieves from stealing anything from you while stuck in traffic.

6. Avoid the traffic areas

advantages of traffic

I know this sounds stupid, but if you’re not in a hurry to go home, let the traffic die down first, particularly on a pay day. These menaces to society roam the traffic prone areas, looking for vehicles and commuters to victimize. They will attempt (and successfully) steal watches, cell phones, gadgets and whatever they can grab inside the vehicle.

By avoiding the rush hour or traffic areas, this will lower the risk of getting robbed. If you can’t avoid rush hours try to select a route which has less traffic or better yet, invite your colleagues to carpool with you.

5. Do not smoke inside the vehicle

smoking inside the car

Just so you know, Executive Order on smoking in public areas has already been signed and implemented. Read the announcement here.  Remember, when you smoke inside the vehicle you will have to open a window to let the smoke out. And when you’re not vigilant enough, these thieves can sense these things and most likely will steal anything from you. If you can wait until you go home, do not smoke for your own health and safety.

4. Keep windows closed and check the rear mirror. Be observant of your surroundings.

Toyota Prius C

Toyota’s Prius C

Keep all the car windows closed. Thieves look for open windows to try and steal things from you. And even if your windows are slightly opened, that won’t stop them. They won’t hesitate, as long as there’s an opportunity to distract and steal from you, they’d do it.

3. Keep pepper spray or stun gun with you

Some thieves can be very brave and often they steal in numbers. Some will distract you by damaging your vehicle and by forcing the door open.

pepper spray

Use the pepper spray or stun gun when this happens. Instinctively they will run away.

2. Honk or blow the horn as loud as you can

Toyota Corolla Altis

When you sense you are in danger from these thieves and you cannot speed of, honk as loud and as long as you can. This will call the attention of other drivers around you, and these thieves will be scared and run away.

1. Keep doors locked at all times

Modern cars have central and power locking features but some still have manual locks.

car lock

Regardless, if it’s modern or not, make it a habit to check if the doors are locked. This habit does not only save you from thieves but your life in general.

Another tip: If you’re driving alone and got stopped by someone – he might be a legit traffic enforcer or not – make sure your presence of mind is intact. Some officer stopped a friend of mine. According to the officers, her car was “reported stolen.” After giving all the documents (OR/CR), instead of apologizing for the inconvenience they’ve caused, they asked for a bribe of P3500. Why? “Eh kasi naka abala ka na,” said one officer. And because she was alone and got scared, she caved in. Although she didn’t give the 3500, the amount was still enough to hurt her pocket.

If this happens to you: (God forbid)

  • Please remain calm.
  • Choose to stop somewhere lit and crowded.
  • After talking to the officers, roll up your window again and ensure your doors are locked.
  • Call a friend, your parents, or whomever you think can help you.
  • Get the names of the officers and ask for their IDs, and if you can capture it, please do so.
  • Don’t cave in. If you think you’re right, do something relevant. Call MMDA. Tweet @MMDAOfficial. They respond fast.
  • If the officers are persistent and act agitated, tell them you can talk at the nearest MMDA or Traffic Center, City Hall, or Police Station. If it happens at night time, Police Stations will do.

Ultimately, in times of adversity, please have your presence of mind intact. It’s easier said than done, and these are only suggestions, but please be safe. These tips may be substantial in living in this chaotic world.

Let’s help one another by sharing your tips below.