Parents constantly warn their children of various dangers lurking in every corner, but few teach their children how to cope when confronted by such danger.
Although you may live in a very safe town or neighbourhood, you never know where your child may be a few years from now, and what dangers await her. In this article, the first of a Safety series, we concentrate on driving at night.
Travel by night has become so much safer, thanks to cellular phones. I remember days when friends would have to follow girls driving home alone at night, to make sure they reach safe. After all, if their car broke down in the middle of the night in a lonely street, the results could be disastrous. These days, depending on the city you live in, walking on the streets at night is not very safe for men or women, it makes far more sense to drive.
Today most of us regard cell phones to be a necessity, and not a luxury. It is important not only from the career prospective, but also on a personal level. Most of us regard cell phones as an essential safety device, which, in many ways, it is. Driving at night too has become a lot safer thanks to the cell phone. Now, if the car breaks down, all one has to do is call friends, parents or relatives, give them a location, and wait for them to arrive.
Every time your child goes out at night, make sure she carries a cell phone with her, and teach her the importance of doing this in the future. However, the flip side to this is that she may tend to return home alone more often, believing she is safe thanks to the cell phone. You as parents need to tell your children that although carrying a cell phone helps, it does not render one invincible. It is not a weapon after all. Also, tell your child never to drive when talking on the phone. You could get her a hands-free.
Although 5 star hotels don't strike many of us as something that can help us, they really can. 21-year-old Lalitha was driving home alone at night, and suddenly realized she was being followed by two men in a car. She stopped outside the entrance of a 5-star hotel lobby, which was well lit, and requested the doorman for help! The doorman, who was a huge, burly sardar, approached the other car which had parked behind her, and made sure she drove away before he let the driver of the other car take to the wheel again.
Teach your children that in such situations one of the best places to go would be to drive straight for a 5-star hotel. The lobbies are always grand, well lit, and although those people followed Lalitha straight into the hotel, research states that most others, especially those driving scooters, may just give up on you and drive on.
The best option for your child would be to give her car for valet parking, and call you from the hotel lobby. What your child should not do, is drive back home. After all, you don't want those following her to see where she lives.
Another option would be to drive into a police station. Naturally the people following you will not enter the station, but, on the other hand, they may park a little away, and continue following you when you leave. Tell your child that she can request that a police car escort her home. You need to remember that in various parts of India the police are not very upright, and it wouldn't be wise for your child to enter a small police chowky, especially at night. Whether or not to head for a police station should depend on the trust she places on the police system, depending on where she is.
Does your child know where the police stations are in the city? It may be wise to acquaint your child with large police stations around where you live, so she knows where she can go for help if ever required, and to tell her that whenever she goes somewhere, she may first want to find out the location of the police stations, and the 5-star hotels.