Commuting Safely

  • Before you leave for school or work, plan your route. Select the safest route available. Routes that are well lit and well traveled are always better than desolate paths.
  • The quickest route is not always the safest. It may be worth leaving 5 or 10 minutes earlier to travel a slower, safer route.
  • Carpool if possible.
  • Always keep your vehicle well maintained. Have a reputable mechanic tune-up your vehicle regularly and fix anything needing repair.
  • Purchase a decent spare tire (preferably full size). Make sure it is always inflated properly and fits on your car. Ultimately, make sure you know how to change the tire if you need to.
  • Make sure you have a functional jack and a vehicle safety kit with you. Flares, small cones and other brightly colored devices are helpful in creating a safety zone where you can work.
  • Carry a good, sturdy ice scraper in your car.
  • Make sure to have a small coal shovel in your trunk during the winter months in case you need to dig your car out of a rut. A coal shovel is short enough for easy storage and practical for digging out around tires.
  • Carry a dry, waterproof pair of snow boots in your trunk. Pack an extra pair of warm gloves, scarf, hat and a jacket as well. If you have to change a flat, dig out of a snow bank or go for help, having the proper clothing can help prevent, injuries, accidents or illness in frigid weather.
  • Carry some spare fluids and a small funnel. Have enough water, oil or gasoline stored in proper safety containers so you can get to a service station if you have car trouble. Cars often overheat and develop leaks in fuel lines. Having a small amount of extra fluid may help get you to where you can find repairs. It is also important to know where to put the fluids if you need to use them.
  • If you are stranded, do not leave your car. You are safer waiting for help than you are going to look for it. Police do not recommend going for help unless you can see it. If you must go, stay on the road, where it is more populated.
  • Get a "call police" sign to hang in your window if you are stranded so passing motorists with cellphones can call for help.
  • If someone stops to ask you if you need help, ask them to go and call the police for you. Do not go with them.
  • If you commute, consider a cellphone. It is the best safety device you can have in the event of an accident or breakdown.
  • If you are stopped in traffic, keep an eye out for people approaching your car.
  • Always drive with your doors locked.
  • Leave enough room between you and the car in front of you in case you need to drive away.
  • Always get gas earlier in the day, preferably in the morning. Rush hour traffic makes for great visibility.
  • Always stop at the best-lit, best-attended gas station for fuel, coffee or snacks. Fill your tank in view of the attendant on duty.
  • Avoid road rage. Using verbal retaliation or a gesture on a foolish driver could end in a deadly tragedy. Bite your lip, swallow your pride and drive calmly.