Personal safety is an issue that should be uppermost in our minds when outdoors, especially at night. However, when we are travelling interstate or even overseas, sometimes the excitement of the trip gets in the way of good sense. It doesn’t hurt to be reminded of any actions that increase our personal safety, especially if we are driving in a rented vehicle.
Safety Starts Before you Leave the Airport
The first safety checks should take place at the airport or car hire office. Do not leave your luggage unattended at airports and baggage areas, for example. If there is more than one person with you, designate someone to stay with the bags while the rental paperwork is signed. Only the renter and drivers are needed in the registration process. Make sure you have maps, a street directory or an electronic navigation system in the car you have hired. Anyone looking for directions late at night can appear vulnerable to the wrong sort of people.
If the vehicle you have hired is unfamiliar, identify safety equipment and items such as the hazard lights, windscreen wipers, door locks, the spare tyre and seat belts. Know how to get to your destination before you drive off, and make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing seat belts. Check the fuel gauge and always keep the petrol tank topped up. Running out of fuel at a crucial time or in an unfamiliar location could be disastrous.
Keep Doors and Windows Locked at all Times
Other common sense actions that should be taken while travelling are pretty much the same for driving in a modern city, given the social circumstances that we all face most days. Some good strategies for crime prevention are to keep the doors locked and the windows rolled up while driving or parking; furthermore, park the vehicle in a well-lit area. When you return to it, keep your car keys in your hand and check in and around the car before unlocking it.
If you are driving a rental car, the chances are that you are not very familiar with the general area. Now is not the time to be experimenting with shortcuts to save time. Getting lost any time is disconcerting but to be lost with no idea how to get back to the main highway is just plain dangerous. Stay on the major roads and well-light areas and if you get to your destination a little late, you will still have a great time.
The driver of any vehicle is responsible for the safety of everyone in the vehicle, so follow these simple suggestions and enjoy your travelling experience.