Stay safe when arriving home after dark

Your home is meant to be your safe haven, your escape from the world around you. The last thing you expect to deal with after a long day is a chancer in your driveway. Unfortunately, with the alarming crime rate, not even your own driveway is safe to idle in. It is of utmost importance to be vigilant at all times and be aware of your surroundings – even in your private space.

Here are some tips to help you remain alert and hopefully avoid being a victim in your own driveway:

  • When approaching your driveway, make sure you are clear of all distractions – turn down your music, stay off your phone and be alert to your surroundings.
  • Get your keys ready, or any tools you need to open your gate, before you approach your driveway. This way, you are not distracted while scrambling around trying to find them – this opens up a window of opportunity for perps to strike.
  • Be vigilant. Use your mirrors and bright lights to scan for any possible threats lurking in the street or outside your property before opening your gate – manually or automatically.
  • Don’t pull into the driveway while your gate opens. Rather park parallel to your gate, which will allow for an escape route should you need it. Keep your car in gear and ready to go as you wait for your gate to open and close – this will confuse the attackers.
  • Should you identify a possible threat or feel uncomfortable, drive past your house to your nearest well-lit area, police station or security company and alert them of the threat.
  • Should you have to manually open your gate, do not switch your car off when getting out – having to restart your car will give criminals a chance to attack. Close the car door to not create temptation and open (and close) your gate with haste.
  • However, if you have small children in the car, take the keys out with you. Should danger strike, you can use them as a negotiating tool for the criminals to let your children go in exchange for the key.
  • Should your children be old enough to get out of the car on their own, let them get out with you to open the gate. This way, nobody remains in the car should an attack occur.
  • Light up your driveway. Make sure that your driveway is well-lit with sensor floodlights or by simply using your car’s bright lights to scan the area. Where possible, clear your driveway of any shrubs or things a criminal can use to hide themselves.
  • Should you require someone from the inside to open for you, use your hands-free kit to call ahead of time and notify them of your arrival. This way, you can drive through the gates with no delays when you arrive and there is another person there waiting for you. Should anything go wrong, they are able to call for help or assist.
  • Be sure to change up your routine and avoid being predictable. Mix up the times you leave and return home, change your routes where possible and remain vigilant at all times.

While you’re considering your safety and that of your possessions, check that your car is adequately insured. Remember, your life is worth more than your car – and insurance can help you get back on the road after a loss.

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