Do the holidays have you jumping through hoops? Don’t let CRIME complicate matters! Dave Reed Insurance, the Peace of Mind People, wants to share these ideas from the University of Oklahoma Police Notebook. Exercise safety this holiday.
Personal Safety and Security While Traveling
- When you travel, plan ahead – know where you are going and how to get there.
- Check weather forecast before leaving.
- Notify a local family member of your travel plans and provide contact information.
- Travel and conduct your business during daylight hours if possible.
- If you have access to a cellular telephone, carry one – do not use it while driving, as this is now unlawful in many states. Know the emergency cell codes for the area you’re in. Florida = *FHP (star 347 – cellphone only) or 911 or 800-525-5555.
- While driving, keep doors locked and widows rolled up at all times. Maintain at least a half tank of fuel, and check vehicle before leaving home, especially spare tire and all fluid levels.
- Consider keeping spare fuses and a “breakdown kit” in your vehicle at all times. Include a thermal blanket, a help sign or flares/reflectors, a flashlight, water and duct tape at a minimum.
- Include a basic first aid kit, portable fire extinguisher & how to access your spare tire and jack.
- Devote your full time and attention to driving. Develop the habit of scanning for situational awareness. Use your mirrors, look ahead and anticipate events that will affect traffic flow.
- If you have a breakdown, pull as far onto the shoulder as possible and turn your emergency flashers on. Use your cell phone to call for help, raise your hood and remain in your locked vehicle until police or tow operator are on scene. Speak to any strangers who stop through a partially rolled down window; ask them to contact law enforcement officials.
- If involved in a property-damage collision in an unfamiliar or potentially unsafe location, do not open or exit your vehicle. If you have a cellular telephone, summon law enforcement.
- Criminals sometimes deliberately cause minor car accidents in order to rob the occupants or steal the vehicle. If you are involved in an accident that seems suspicious, remain in your vehicle, and contact police. Do not get out to inspect for damage or to exchange information.
- If the driver of another vehicle tries to force you off the road, do not stop. Slow to a safe speed, and proceed to a safe location. Try to obtain the license plate number and a description of the vehicle and its driver and any occupants. Report the occurrence to police as soon as possible.
- Keep your car in gear while stopped at traffic signals or signs. If approached in a threatening manner, honk the horn to attract attention and drive away. It is always a good idea to leave enough space between you and the vehicle ahead in order to drive around it if necessary.
- If signaled to stop by any vehicle other than a clearly marked law enforcement unit, acknowledge the signal, and wave the driver to follow you to a safe location. Drive within the speed limit, take the most direct route and call 911 on your cellular telephone. Tell the dispatcher you are being followed by an unmarked vehicle attempting to stop you, and ask them to send a marked vehicle to your location.
Personal Safety and Security While Shopping
- When parking, roll up the windows, lock the doors, take the keys and ensure your valuables are concealed before reaching your destination.
Plan your shopping to only load your vehicle when you are ready to drive to another destination.
- When returning to your vehicle, carry your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door and enter the vehicle as quickly as possible. Be aware of others in the area around you, under or inside your vehicle. Return to the store for assistance if you spot suspicious activity near your vehicle. When safely inside, call 911.
- Shop with a friend or relative. There is safety in numbers. Keep a close eye on your children while shopping.
- While out and about, present an alert appearance. Be aware of your surroundings; scan the area from time to time.
- If you must leave items in your vehicle while out and about be sure to secure them out of sight. This includes docking stations and connector cables. Leave no trace that there is anything valuable in your car.
- Park in busy, well-lighted areas.
- Lock all vehicle doors and set any alarm or anti-theft device before you close your door.
- To aid in recovery, mark your valuables with a personal identifier inscribed or engraved on all valuables. Use your driver’s license number prefaced by your driver’s license state initials. With that marking any police officer can trace your valuables back to you.
- A Final Word: Do not confront anyone. Your life is precious; property can be replaced! Be Alert, Be Aware, and be prepared to BE A GOOD WITNESS. If signaled to stop by any vehicle other than a clearly marked law enforcement unit, acknowledge the signal, and wave the driver to follow you to a safe location. Drive within the speed limit, take the most direct route and call 911 on your cellular telephone. Tell the dispatcher you are being followed by an unmarked vehicle attempting to stop you, and ask them to send a marked vehicle to your location.
Dave Reed Insurance, the Peace of Mind People, wish you a happy and safe holiday season. If you have any questions or need advice feel free to call our 2170 Creighton Rd. office at 850-494-2264 or our 1091 N. Navy Blvd. office at 850 453-8555.