Travel Advice - Driving Safety and security for travelers
The most important advice we can give the traveler driving in foreign countries is to drive defensively. Our recommendations cover safety issue related to driving and theft issues related to cars and the goods they contain.
Rental car safety during travel
1. When you rent a car for international travel, try to reserve one that does not stand out and is otherwise unlikely to attract attention. Remember, as a traveler you want to blend in and avoid calling attention to yourself and your traveling companions.
2. If the car is obviously marked as a rental car (for example, it is plastered with the agency’s logo or name) ask if any marks identifying the car as a rental can be removed. If not, ask if they have another car.
3. Before you leave the rental car facility, make certain that the car is in good repair. If the car has any noticeable body damage make sure the damage is reported on an official form before you leave the lot. Make sure you receive a copy of the form.
4. If possible, rent a car with central power door locks and power windows so that the driver can control access to the car. Keep the car doors locked at all times.
5. Air conditioning is also a plus. Driving with the windows closed foils the “scooter thieves” who attempt drive by purse snatching through the open windows of cars.
Driving safety recommendations
1. Always wear your seatbelts.
2. Avoid night driving when traveling outside of the US. In the rural areas of some foreign countries, drivers do not use headlights until late in the night.
3. Be prepared for livestock on the roadways, broken down cars, unmarked road repairs, and a host of obstacles not commonly encountered when driving in the US. (Unless you live in Southern California, where the greatest accident threat on the freeways is furniture that has fallen off a never-ending stream of pickup trucks moving goods between houses.)
Car Security recommendations
1. Do not leave your valuables in an unattended car, at any time.
2. When driving, put all backpacks, purses, and other valuables (cameras, phones, etc.) on the floor and out of sight. The smash and grab thieves have been known to break car windows on the fly and grab purses resting on women’s’ laps.
3. Don’t think that placing valuables in the back seat will protect them from the “smash and grab” thieves. If it can be seen, it can be grabbed.
4. Avoid parking your car on the street overnight. If your hotel does not have a parking garage or other secure parking, select a well-lit area, and hope for the best.
5. Do not leave your wallet or travel documents in a jacket hanging from a coat hook or on the back of your seat. It is very easy for someone to reach in and remove your jacket at a signal or other stop.
6. Do not leave anything in the car overnight. We realize that some of your possessions may not be valuable to you, but they may be to others. Remove everything from your car to avoid the damage that can result from a break-in.