Personal safety is something we should all take into account when planning a road trip. Road trips can create special memories because they give vacationers more independence in time, money, and places to visit; still, safety must always come first.
Air travel as a family can definitely be a hassle. As the CEO of Jettly, Justin Crabbe observes, “Today, commercial airline travel is often considered difficult, uncomfortable, and unpredictable, with flight cancellations and delays resulting in unforeseen circumstances and expenses.”
With a budget and a driving license, hitting the road for an adventure may be your best option. Still, there’s more to consider than choosing your playlist and favorite snacks; road trips can be fun and safe, so long as you hit the road prepared.
Choosing a lodging ahead of time is prudent; preferably one that offers a range of security features, such as high-tech access control systems, well-lit parking areas and entryways, and more. Even going so far as to see if they have invested in sophisticated security solutions like LPR cameras (license plate recognition cameras) can boost your peace of mind – modern security technologies like these can considerably increase the deterrence of criminals.
There are many things to consider when planning for a safe road trip; here are some great tips for enhancing your security when you take a road trip.
1. Don’t Publicize Your Trip Too Widely
Be careful when posting about your road trip on social media. You will want to stay in touch with a family member or friend in an emergency, and you may like to share some of your photographs or videos; still, it would be best if you did not publicize the exact dates of your trip, unless it’s already over! You don’t want your vehicle tracked or local opportunists aware that your home is unoccupied.
2. Install a Safe into Your Vehicle
A road trip may entail hikes and tourism that cause you to leave your vehicle for hours, and most thieves who break into cars to steal valuables will attempt to do so as quickly as possible. Installing a type of car safe – with a lock in a hidden spot – inside the vehicle is ideal for extra cash, jewelry, valuables, credit cards, passports, and more. Are you camping out under the stars? Leave your valuables in your vehicle safe, which should not be visible or easily accessible.
3. Avoid Stickers, Decals, And Advertising On Your Vehicle
Even if you’re a die-hard bumper stickers and decals fan, think again if you’re committed to achieving a successful road trip with no incidents; depending on what you are advertising, thieves may guess that you are keeping valuables in your vehicle, even if they aren’t visible.
4. Wear Sunscreen
Even if you are not traveling to a particularly sunny location, you may still be soaking in rays while spending hours behind the wheel. Intense sun and UV rays do penetrate windshields, so plan accordingly.
5. Be Vigilant When Storing Possessions In Your Car
If you plan on placing your laptop, camera, or even a suitcase in your vehicle’s trunk, be aware of anyone nearby watching. If someone will ill intent sees you slipping a valuable item into your trunk, they may decide to break in once you’ve left the scene. It’s essential that any stored valuables and property are not visible from the windows, and that you are not being observed while you store them.
6. Do Not Hide Your Car Key On The Vehicle Itself
Take your car key or car fob with you. Yes, this can be challenging when heading to the beach, lake, river, or swimming pool, but it’s a must. When you are in the water, consider a wearable plastic pouch. Whatever you do, avoid hiding keys, fobs, or electronic devices in the gas cap, vehicle hitch, or similar is ill-advised; criminals may search for a hidden key or device before breaking in, so get creative and find a far less obvious spot – ideally on your person.
7. Take Care When Pulling Over
You may need to pull over during your trip, but try to avoid doing so in darkened rest areas unless there are many other vehicles. Also, practice common road safety and avoid using the emergency lane if you need to pull over on the highway—look for a rest stop or grassy area when stopping. If you notice people who look or act suspiciously, don’t exit the car and look for another place to stop.
8. Take Care When Leaving Your Vehicle After Dark
Need to stop for gas, a restroom visit, or a coffee after dark? Carrying a pocket or keychain alarm device can save you from harm. These devices generally emit a high-pitched alarm so those in the immediate area are alerted that you are in trouble. You may also want to carry a pocket pepper spray in your pocket; no one expects to be mugged, sexually assaulted, or carjacked, but these are real dangers on a road trip. Pepper spray is a legal substance, so you’ll be happy that you’ve attached a bottle to your keychain, backpack or otherwise placed it in your pocket if the need arises.
9. Follow Your Instincts
If you sense someone is following you, follow your instincts and leave the highway at the next exit and drive to a police station, fire station, or hospital. If this is impossible, look for a heavily populated area such as a restaurant, shopping center, or similar; do not leave the car, and consider blowing the vehicle’s horn until someone approaches if you really feel threatened.
If you are on a highway, you can also attract the attention of other drivers by sounding the horn and turning on your emergency flashers. Someone who witnesses this may contact authorities, or your behavior may dissuade the ill-intentioned from following through.
10. Prioritize Safety After a Prang
Exercise caution if you’re involved in a prang, or simply bumped into while on the road. Don’t just pull over, but instead, look for a spot with lots of people around, or even drive to a police station before unlocking your door.
Safe Arrival Check
In addition to these tips, be sure to let someone know where you are and where you are headed daily, so that they can sound the alarm if you do not check in to your intended destination.