We spend a lot of time in our vehicles. Vehicles take us to strange places, expose us to many unknowns, run out of gas and break down. Here are 10 vehicle safety tips, in no particular order, that are easy-to-implement.
1. Visually Inspect Your Vehicle
A fifteen second walk around your vehicle can identify a flat tire, new damage, and lots more about your vehicle and environment. Get in the habit of dong a visual inspection to determine the condition of your vehicle.
2. Look Inside Your Vehicle
A general rule of self-defense is to never enter into an area that can’t be observed from a safe distance. The same holds true for your vehicle. Look through the windows and make sure your vehicle is safe to enter and that no one is hiding in it.
3. Keep Your Vehicle Maintained
A reliable vehicle is a necessity. Breaking down on the side of the road and exposing yourself to unknowns is something you want to avoid. If your vehicle does break down, stay inside and keep the doors locked. Always have a cell phone with you so that you can cal for help. Do not leave the safety of the vehicle and accept help from strangers.
4. Lock Your Doors
Always keep your vehicle locked, even if no one is in it. It’s extremely easy for someone to jump in your vehicle and take your possessions while you turn your back to pump gas. Condition yourself to always lock your doors, regardless of whether or not someone is in the vehicle.
5. Vehicle Safety & First Aid Kit
Set yourself up for success. Prepare so that you can be an active participant in your own rescue. You are the first responder when a problem occurs. Have the basics to deal with common breakdowns. At a minimum, have the tools to change a flat tire, jump start a car, signal you’re in need of help, etc.
Always have a first aid kit with you. In addition to the normal stuff to treat minor bumps and cuts, have the proper medical supplies and training to stop major bleeding. Remember, you are in a vehicle and major trauma is an unfortunate reality of car accidents.
6. Keep Music Down
Always remain alert to your surroundings. Impairing your senses with loud music not only creates a distraction, but will also prevent you from hearing sirens and what is going on around you.
7. Never Let Gas Go Below Half Tank
A good rule of thumb is to never let your gas tank go below half of a tank. If you run out of gas, you will be stranded on the side of the road and be vulnerable to your surroundings. If you run low on gas, you will be forced to get gas at a time and place that is not of your choosing.
Always get gas at a crowded gas station, in a safe part of town and in the daytime.
8 Vehicle Escape Tools: Glass Breaker & Seat Belt Cutter
If you are in an accident or have to assist someone who is, getting out of the vehicle may be a challenge. At a minimum, have a seat belt cutter and glass breaker easily accessible. Escape tools must be securely fastened to your vehicle and within reach in the event you are trapped.
9. Observe Your Environment Before Exiting Vehicle
Never exit your vehicle without doing a 360° scan of your surroundings. Remember, as soon as you exit the safety of your locked vehicle you are in a high crime environment, a transitional space. If you choose to carry a non-lethal weapon, such as pepper spray, have it in your hand before existing your vehicle.
10. Do Not Mark Your Vehicle: Personal Tags & Stickers
Do not put anything on your vehicle that makes it stand out or easily identifiable. Once you mark your vehicle, you make it a target. Those second amendment stickers will make your vehicle attractive to gun thieves and so on. Vanity plates make you memorable and you and your vehicle recognizable. Remember, you want to go unnoticed. Keep your footprint to a minimum.
The hardest part about vehicle safety is consistency. You must make it habitual. The one time you let your guard down may be the time you encounter trouble. Use these 10 vehicle safety tips as a checklist and implement them today.