A car confidence evening has made local women more aware of how to protect themselves against the dangers they could face on the road.
Following a recent spate of stories about aggressive driving in the media, more than 60 women (and quite a few men) attending a Women in Gear car workshop evening at Hendy’s showroom in Leigh Road, Eastleigh, turned out to learn about driving in today’s stressful conditions.
The event was a self-help course organised by Hendy to help teach local women drivers the basics of car mechanics and personal self-protection, so that they are less likely to be left stranded and vulnerable by the roadside. It included roadside get-you-home tips, defensive driving and how to ward off a possible ‘road rage’ attacker.
Following the recent spate of stories about aggressive driving in the media, serving Police officer and self-protection specialist Andy Williams made the subject of defending yourself from a would-be mugger both entertaining and instructive.
He developed the personal safety theme and demonstrated quick-fire methods of foiling would-be assailants, which involved disarming them in a series of simple moves with the aid of everyday objects such as car keys or a pen.
“Women are perceived as being more vulnerable than men and are seen as an easy target when it comes to road rage. Also, other people are scared to get involved, even if they see it’s a woman being attacked, so you have to be able to defend yourself.”
The psychology behind dangerous and aggressive driving behaviour and dealing with behind-the-wheel bullies was also explored by ex-Police Chief Inspector Vic Botterill, who gave his audience advice about avoiding the need to use one of Andy’s techniques when faced with road rage. Vic said;
“Mouthing sorry can stop a minor incident turning into road rage. If you know you’re wrong, just say it. If it’s gone beyond that and you’re dealing with a violent man, keep your distance – invading his personal space isn’t going to make the situation better. Speak calmly and never, ever, smile. That will only pour petrol onto what is an emotional bonfire.”
Judi Marriott and Sue Burt, representatives from the Southampton branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, were on hand to discuss their organisation’s various advanced driving courses with interested visitors.
Also present was Steph Savill, founder of FOXY Lady Drivers Club, who explained to interested visitors all about the award-winning motoring organisation’s support services for women drivers, including its female-friendly garage network.
The visitors headed for Hendy’s workshops where volunteers were encouraged to change a car’s wheel under the supervision of the Kia dealership’s service technicians and were given practical advice including dealing with roadside emergencies, routine car maintenance and checking oil and fluid levels.
Karen Pomery, a help desk co-ordinator with a local IT company, welcomed Hendy’s practical approach to car maintenance, saying;
“I didn’t know what I should do if my car broke down by the roadside until tonight, but now I feel I could cope with most situations. I don’t think women can afford any longer to ignore the dangers on our roads. Hendy’s Women in Gear evening was well organised and great fun too. I feel that I have learned something useful about my car today.”
More courses may be held by the Kia retailer and times would once again be geared towards public demand.
For further information about Women in Gear events contact Maralyn Gorringe on tel. 01992 503129 or at: [email protected]