Driving can be a fun experience. Yet, as with everything else, it does have its risks. Not everyone on the road has good intentions. That’s why whereas it’s important that you glean as much driving tips as you can from sites such as the Ultimate Guide for Drivers, it’s equally important to understand the safety precautions you need to take.
Driving inadvertently places you at risk of car thieves, burglars, fleeing carjackers and malicious hooligans. Some seek to rob you of your possessions while others relish the thought of harming you or damaging your car for no reason at all.
Nothing can absolutely guarantee your security on the road but the following tips can keep you fairly safe when you are driving.
1. Do Not Switch On the Inner Light at Night
Whether you are driving, temporarily pulled over on the side of the highway or are sitting in a car park, do not switch on your inner light at night unless you absolutely have to. Under the cover of darkness, the inner light makes it easier for a potential assailant to get a clear of view of who is in the car and where they are seated.
Thieves always prefer a target whose strengths and weaknesses they can assess beforehand. The less information they have about the car’s occupants, the less confident they will be about carrying out their plan.
Another reason to keep the inner light off when driving is because the light’s reflection off the car’s windows inhibits your ability to clearly see anyone approaching the vehicle.
2. Look Out for Anyone Trailing You
Some incidents of car theft and vandalism are spontaneous in the sense that the attacker was not specifically targeting you but simply happened upon an opportunity. However, most instances have some level of preplanning. The attacker would seek to gather as much information about you and the car as they can.
This may mean trailing you on the highway as they seek the perfect opportunity to strike. Ergo, keeping an eye on your rear view mirror is a habit every driver must learn. Anyone trailing you with ill intent will usually not drive too far behind you since they don’t want to lose sight of you.
To be sure it’s not just a coincidence that they are going in the same direction as you, take some random turns. Do not turn into deserted roads though as this could be just what the assailants want in order to execute their scheme. If you ascertain that they are indeed trailing you, drive into the nearest police station.
3. Don’t Pick Up Strangers
Hitchhiking has long been a low cost means of traveling long distances. The hitchhiker gets to make a new friend while drastically cutting their transport cost. Unfortunately, the dangers of picking up a stranger on the road (especially on an isolated road) outweigh any good feeling you’d experience for helping someone in need.
Irrespective of how clean, friendly and sane the person may seem, you have no clue as to their background. If you are just the two of you in the car, they could attack you when you least expect it. Some purported hitchhikers also work in cahoots with organized criminals which could place you in much greater danger than you may have envisaged.
4. Take the Key with You When You Go on a Bathroom Break
When you go on a long drive, you are bound to eat and drink both in and out of the car at several points during your journey. Chances are though that over the course of your trip, you’ll need to urgently go to the bathroom despite being dozens of miles from the nearest town or motel.
The logical thing to do is to pull over and relieve yourself somewhere off the highway. If you have to do that, turn off the car’s engine and carry your car keys with you. Not everything is always as it seems. What may seem like a deserted stretch of road may harbor criminals lurking waiting to strike. Carrying your car keys makes it harder for thieves to drive off with the car.
Staying secure when driving largely comes down to common sense precautions. Do not do anything that makes you an easy target. Always be conscious of your surroundings.