Women drivers in fear of attack

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Women are so scared of being attacked in their cars that some would consider carrying knives, guns and crowbars to protect themselves, according to a survey published yesterday.

Nearly three in five women fear being attacked and almost 80 per cent said they could foresee a time when they might consider carrying personal protection.

The survey, conducted for the car leasing and retailing group, Cowie, revealed that while 14 per cent would consider carrying a crowbar or a blunt instrument, 3 per cent said they would think about carrying a knife and 1 per cent a gun.

Most preferred to think about having a mobile phone or a personal alarm while almost half would opt for a spray which could be squirted in the face of an attacker. Asked if they would actually use any of these items, 92 per cent of the women replied: "Yes, if necessary."

In addition to the perceived need to carry weapons, the survey found that more than one in four said they were not prepared to drive alone at night on motorways or country roads.

If they broke down on a motorway at night, 50 per cent would stay locked in their cars on the hard shoulder despite the dangers. Most women said they were unhappy with the frequency of emergency telephones on motorways.

Two in five said they did not feel safe while using a multi-storey car park and about the same number said they only felt secure during the day.

"Women feel vulnerable on our roads, especially at night," said Julie Jobling, of Cowie. "With many more women driving now, more should be done to co-ordinate the safety message to them. Women should not feel the need to carry a weapon in order to feel safe when driving - credible advice and more police patrols on motorways should be made available."