Over the past six years I have traveled throughout the United States and I have come up with a list of safety ideas that may come in handy for any woman should you find yourself driving alone, any distance, for business or pleasure.
#1. Always try to plan your trip ahead of time. This doesn’t mean you need to have every turn mapped out, it just means that you should have a general idea of the main roads from point A to point B. Invest in a new road atlas if your current copy is more than a few years old as there are always new roads, or completed construction updates. Be sure to have a flashlight in your car and a vehicle phone charger for your cell phone. (Hopefully you are up to date and have a cell phone. If not, consider purchasing a pre-paid phone for traveling). Planning your trip also should include determining how many miles you would like to make in a day, if this trip is longer than a one-day trip. Base these miles on stopping points. It is recommended that a driver stop every 100 miles just to stretch their legs and to help keep themselves alert and awake. Sitting for too long driving tends to add to the incidence of road hypnosis, making you sleepy and slowing your reflex time.
#2. If your trip includes overnight stays in hotels I recommend paying a little more to stay in a nicer hotel that will offer safety features you might not have in smaller, privately owned, or less expensive chain motels. Paying a little more also usually gives you a pretty good breakfast included in the price plus the security of inside entrances to the rooms. Outside room entrances are handy when unloading luggage, or if you travel with a pet, so it’s kind of up to you which is more convenient. I would also recommend second floor rooms if you have an
outside access, just to get you up off the ground, making break-ins harder. Second floors are less convenient if you have a pooch that needs to go for a walk, so again, this is really up to you.
#3. It’s recommended that you have some sort of road service, whether it be through your auto insurance or a private company such as AAA, Chevron Safe-trek, or any other company. Just something with a number you can call if you have a flat tire or if you need to be towed for any reason. I have also found out through my travels that
dialing #911 on your cell phone if you are broken down brings the local or state police to your aid, and they will in-turn call for wrecker service and actually stay with you until the service arrives. If you do have road service your fees will be reimbursed at least in part, and saving money is always a good thing.
#4. The use of the road side rest areas run by state funds is fine during the day if there are other folks parked there. Do not stop if you are the only one in the parking lot, and maybe not even if there is only one other car. In most rest areas where it is posted “24-hour surveillance”, the cameras are on a loop that play over them-
selves, erasing data every few hours if not checked. As there is no security at most of these rest areas, being there alone is just not wise. It’s much better to wait till you get to the next exit and find a fast food store or gas station to make your stop. No matter where you do stop be sure to be aware of what is around you at all times. Glancing around as you get out of your vehicle, and then looking around as you exit the building going back to your car will help keep you safe.
#5. If traveling is going to be a big part of your life, perhaps with a new job or for pleasure/family business you may consider looking into your states laws for carrying a concealed handgun. The courses are reasonably priced, and the lessons are invaluable, teaching usage as well as safety.
I recommend this. Before traveling be sure to check the states that have reciprocity laws allowing handgun carry through their states. Understandably, all women do not agree with carrying a handgun for protection. There are other things that can be carried in the event you are targeted by people up to no good. You can carry pepper spray
in most areas legally, and also stun guns are usually allowed. Tasers seem to be getting more popular with women and can be easily carried in your purse at all times. Once when living in Baltimore MD I was told in a self-defense course that a straight-shafted BIC pen made for a good weapon. The old commercials showed
this pen being driven through a solid board and then still writing. The force of this pen as a self-defense mechanism, being pushed into someones hand or arm would help stop or slow down an assailant.
#6. The most important point to remember, — make sure your automobile is up-to-date on maintenance. Keep current on your routine check ups, oil changes and tire rotations.
One of the hardest things to do, if traveling alone, is making time to actually enjoy the trip. If you are not use to traveling alone it may be hard at first to stop at tourist and sight-seeing places. It also takes a little practice to get use to eating alone. Occasionally taking a break to wander through shops or other places of interest makes your trip much more special and memorable. Being careful will not detract from the trip and you will find that a few thoughtful acts will actually make the trip more enjoyable.
My advice to all women: travel safe and travel often as life is to short to sit at home!