I like to post and re-post Realtor Safety tips during Realtor Safety Month each year. You can never be too careful out there. Please read and use the following information.
Early in this series, I talked about dealing with an assailant face to face. In this blog, I'd like to talk about safety related to your car. A car presents a number of issues, but all of them are easy to overcome with a little situational awareness.
We need our cars. They're fun. They take us to work, school, shopping and just about anywhere we need to go, but how do you stay safe while using your car?
- Always park in a well lit area. That sounds like common sense, but sometimes, parking closer to a destination is not always well lit, and people tend to want that parking space right next to their venue.
- Never walk to your car with your nose stuck to your cellphone. As you leave a building, immediately assess the area from a distance, and then proceed.
- If you have pepper spray, keep it in your hand until you have reached your car and have entered it.
- If you see someone loitering near your car, don't go to it until you're sure the person is not a threat. Assess the person, and make a judgment on whether you feel safe or not. Don't worry about profiling. It's your safety. If you're shopping and feel unsafe, go back inside the store and ask for an escort to your car.
- Use the panic button on your car keys or phone to set off your alarm if you feel or are threatened. You want to draw as much attention to your situation as possible.
- When you arrive at your car, whether at home or away from home, don't enter the car until you have looked through the windows to make sure no one is crouching in the back seat (even if it's parked in your garage). A small key-chain flashlight can help you see inside before entering the car.
- Once you've reached your car and have checked it inside, unlock the door, get in, close the door and immediately lock the doors. You have just gained a few seconds in the event someone tries to open a door.
- When you exit your car, lock your doors from the button on the door. Thieves have sophisticated receivers that can capture your signal, and they can use it to unlock your doors once you've left the area. They may only want to steal your identity from documents, such as your registration or insurance cards in the glove box. Regardless, it's an easy fix.
- When fueling your car while you're alone, keep the doors on the other side of the vehicle locked. A more recent crime has been for a thief to sneak up next to a car being fueled and slip open the opposing door and grab a pocketbook or other valuables.
- Always keep your gas tank above half a tank, and make sure your car is in good running condition. You don't want to breakdown in some unpredictable place. If you do, stay inside and keep the doors locked, call someone or a tow truck immediately. Keep the local police non-emergency number in your phone. If you feel uncomfortable, call them and ask if an officer is in the area who might stop by while you wait for help. They won't mind.
- Never park so that you can be blocked in. It's best to park so that you can pull out rather than back out. Seconds lost can be costly.
- When driving, always use an outside lane. If there are three lanes, stay right or left. If you are in a center lane, you can be blocked in. It's not always possible to avoid the center lane, but be aware of what's around you.
- Always leave enough room in front of you to turn out and away from the driver ahead. The CIA shooter was able to shoot so many victims because they were bumper to bumper waiting for a stop light. Give yourself room.
- If you think someone is following you, stay in well lit areas and drive to the nearest police station if you know where it is. If not, call someone, tell them where you are and travel to a well-lit crowded area. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
Always pay attention. These things become habits over time and you won't even notice that you're doing them. You are responsible for your safety. Take it seriously, and be safe out there.
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