Summer is almost here! In our blog last week, we discussed summertime safety and securing your home before going on vacation. Now let's address your safety once your journey has started.
Vehicle Check Up
There's no better time to get your vehicle checked for mechanical issues than before that vacation drive. Whether you're an at-home mechanic, or you take your car to your favorite garage for maintenance, make sure it checks out before departing. Few things bring down a vacation quicker than your vehicle giving out half way there. But if that happens...
Things do happen. And if you're in the middle of nowhere and your vehicle does break down, here are a few tips to ensure your safety, especially if you're in a location where you just don't feel safe. Raise your hood (the international symbol of engine trouble), and remain in your locked vehicle. If you have to keep the windows rolled down, be attentive of persons approaching your car and, if possible, have the windows rolled up when they arrive beside your car.
Know the emergency number for highway patrol. If you are approached by a vehicle/individual who "claims" to be law enforcement, and you are not certain of their identity, immediately call 911 and wait for the dispatcher to verify the identity of the individual. Do this before you exit your vehicle or roll down a window. Keep your hands visible in case they are a legitimate law enforcement officer. You don't want to make the situation any worse for either of you.
If a Good Samaritan pulls up to help you, roll your window down just an inch or so to communicate with them if you don't feel safe.
Having some type of roadside service such as AAA can literally be a lifesaver during times of travel emergencies.
Highway rest stops are available to you 24/7. These locations are usually maintained by the state and patrolled frequently by law enforcement. When you arrive at a rest stop, don't automatically take your safety for granted. When you pull up and park, before you roll down your windows or unlock your doors, look around. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are traveling with others, have someone walk with you to the facility and have them wait for you to return together to your vehicle.
If you are traveling alone and need to stop, keep your cell phone and your keys in hand when outside your vehicle.
Enjoy America's rest stops, but remain vigilant.
One of the great adventures of taking a road trip is being able to stop and take in the local sights. Many roadways in the US were designed for just that. Some points of interest are located in populated areas and some are in very rural spots. When you do stop, don't be so trusting as to leave your vehicle running or your keys in the ignition. Lock your car and take your keys. Sounds simple right? I make a lot of road trips, and to this day I continue to see this occurring on a regular basis.
Most folks on a road journey take meal breaks at locations frequented by travelers. Truck stops are not what they were a few years ago. Today, many feature modern amenities and great food.
Regardless of the location you stop to refuel yourself and your vehicle, there are a few things you should keep in mind. As you may have heard me say before, criminals are creatures of convenience, so don't leave items visible in your vehicle that would entice a criminal. These include money (cash or coins), jewelry/watches, purses, etc. By just taking a moment to conceal those items under your seat, in the glove box or inside the center console, you can save yourself a lot of headaches.
Traveling should be fun and relaxing. Knowing you can take safeguards to keep you and your family safe on the road, provide you that extra peace of mind that money just can't buy.
This is the second in a four part series at For Your Safety concerning summertime travel.
Coming up next:
Part III - Safety in Hotels
Part IV - Safety Traveling Abroad