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Traveling by Car

Before You Leave Home

  • Car Maintenance: check your vehicle's fluid levels, belts, hoses and tires
  • Review Your Map: know where you're going and how you'll get there
  • In Case Of Emergency: pack a flashlight, first-aid kit and fire extinguisher, and always carry a cell phone
  • Secure Your Home: make your home appear lived-in, lock all windows and doors, close shades, stop newspaper delivery, have the post office hold your mail, set a light to operate on a timer, and don't mention your trip on your outgoing voice message

While on the Road

  • Keep a full gas tank as well as doors locked, windows up, safety belts buckled, and your children in properly installed safety seats
  • Stay on main roads and highways
  • Hitchhikers: don't pick them up
  • Rest stops: always go in restrooms with your children
  • Stranded driver: instead of stopping, use your cell phone or find a pay phone and notify the police; note mile marker and other identifying information
  • Fender benders: if your car is bumped by someone else, don't automatically jump out to check for damage; consider motioning the offending driver to follow you to a more public place, such as an open service station or a police or fire station
  • Traffic lights: remember to leave space in front of you so you have maneuvering room if needed

When Experiencing Car Trouble

  • Breakdown and you can't move: get everyone out of the vehicle and onto the shoulder safely away from traffic; if you must walk to a phone, keep your group together
  • Breakdown and you can move: get your vehicle off the roadway, onto the shoulder and away from guardrails; once safely off the road, stay inside your vehicle until a police officer or road service vehicle arrives
  • Signs for help: raise your hood, tie a white cloth to a door handle or use reflective triangles
  • Good samaritan: if someone approaches to help, roll down your window enough to ask him or her to call police
  • Do not ride with strangers: be wary if someone is overanxious to help
  • Attention called to trouble: if someone motions that you have a flat tire or your vehicle is smoking, either don't stop until he or she has left or try to find a service station or populated place