Car travel safety tips for your next road trip

1. Always keep these helpful items in your vehicle at all times, especially for those last minute road trips: maps, jumper cables, charged cell phone, flares, flashlight, first aid kit, blankets, a club card cars if they break down and some extra money hidden in your vehicle.

2. Make sure you plan your route carefully. Use websites like mapquest (http://www.mapquest.com) and Google Earth (http://earth.google.com/) to plan your route. Also consider where you want to stop for breaks and refueling. This lets you know which ones are safer than others.

3. Always park in well-lit areas, if you plan to arrive or leave after dark.

4. Do not park in an isolated or visually obstructed area near walls or thick foliage.

5. Use valet parking or a guarded garage, not an empty one, especially if you are driving alone.

6. As you walk to your car, be on the lookout for suspicious people in cars near yours.

7. Request a security escort if you are alone in a mall. Don’t worry, it’s not an inconvenience on your part, it’s your job.

8. Beware of young men hanging around the area (passing out flyers, trying to strike up a conversation, selling something, etc.). Make sure to look them in the eye.

9. If someone tries to approach you, return to the establishment you just arrived from (store, restaurant, etc.) and ask for a ride or call someone from the store phone or your cell phone to meet you there.

10. Always tell your friends or loved ones where you are going and contact them when you arrive.

By following these safety tips for car and road trips, you can effectively protect yourself and stay safe.

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