Safe Traveling in the United States
The mere knowledge about the cultural differences of people is what travelers of the United States need to have a worry – free and an uncomplicated travel.
The country is very particular with the safety of their citizens as well as their tourists. A tourist will find none existent or little amount of danger since all cities of each states already have a label of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ areas. You can inquire which areas to avoid from the locals and should stay away from ‘bad’ areas especially during night time.
Some precautions when driving
Please note that the country is totally dependent on private transportation since its public transport especially to outside cities is totally unreliable or sometimes even non – existent. To avoid being left in the middle of nowhere, most travelers would opt to rent a car for hire.
Rent a mobile phone if your phone network provider doesn’t support the country that you are presently in. This way you can use a phone during your travels.
Call the hotline 911 if you meet any emergencies anywhere in the country. If there’s a breakdown and you have no mobile or there’s no phone booth in sight, have a "Call POLICE – Send HELP!" sign.
ALWAYS lock your car doors and close its windows, store your valuables at the trunk of your car or out of sight, do not stop for strangers especially for hitchhikers as it not only illegal but for your personal safety as well. Instead, you can help by using your car phone / mobile phone or to the nearest phone booth and call the police for any help.
Drive at the center lane of the road to give the carjackers more difficulty to approach your car. If on a stop, don’t forget to leave just enough space for you to maneuver around other cars in the area so that you can easily get away if there’s trouble at sight. And at all times, be aware withour surroundings. If the situation does not seem to be safe to you, drive away because you can come back later on.
Do not drive on bad neighborhoods at night time. If you are not familiar with the routes, you can check your maps prior to setting off.
Police patrol officers who will stop drivers for any traffic violations will always be in a proper police uniform and their car is marked as POLICE CAR
Rob attacks on the road
Rob attack incidents though extremely rare but it does happen in the country sometimes. Some schemes used by criminals are to bump their target car and when the driver gets out to inspect the damage and to exchange information, the criminals would then rob the victim.
If such incident happens while driving, pull into a well – lighted area that has people around before you get out from your car. If you not comfortable with the situation you are in, you can always call the emergency hotline 911 using your mobile phone.
Since carjacking is a crime of opportunity – do NOT give those criminals any chance that they can perform such crime. Your car, no matter how expensive or how valuable that is, is not worth your very life. If a thief would try to take your car by harassing and threatening you, hand over your vehicle and focus on your own personal safety and be a good witness in assisting the police with their investigation.
Carjackers would target cars that slow down or those that would stop in order to ask for directions. Since those car thieves find it easy to carjack a vehicle if the owner is already on the car and more particularly if its car keys are already in the ignition. For safety reason, park your car on well – lighted areas that is frequented by motorists and most importantly, equipped your car with all those sophisticated alarm systems and those theft – deterrent devices to give those carjackers more challenge. And don’t forget to check with the local residents to know which part of town to avoid. Since Tourist Information Offices are just few they can’t really assist you with all your travels 24/7.
Other opportunities those carjackers that look for:
- Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
- Parking garages, grocery stores and those shopping malls.
- Those self – service gas stations and other car washes stations.
- Those residential driveways and its streets as residents or visitors would get in and out from their cars.
- Intersections that are controlled by traffic lights and those stop signs.
- Those highway entry and exit ramps and other places where drivers would slow down or even stop.
Plan your accommodations
Touring the country has its own challenges to conquer. One of its challenges is to find the right if not the perfect place to stay for you to have a safe and enjoyable trip. As sleeping in stations, either bus or train stations, is not a standard in the country. And getting off a train or a bus and then looking for a place to stay is not a good idea either. Traveling safe in the country requires good planning so plan your accommodations well.
There are those highway ‘rest areas’ which are good for short time breaks but you should NEVER sleep in your car in such spots.
There are also a wide array of cheap hotels that would suit your every budget needs. You can rest and enjoy your breakfast in such establishments. Just check with your travel agent, the car rental company or the airline company for any further information.
Stay off from Private properties!
Private properties in the country are considered to be very private. If you are caught camping or even trespassing on such property – the police can arrest you or worst, the owner could even shoot you. Use only those public beaches, public footpaths, marked trails and those public national parks. Always consult your guidebook or your travel agent for any designated wilderness spots that permit free camping. There are also commercial camp grounds that are being publicized.
Caution for ALL single women travelers
The American attitudes towards a single woman in the country that would enter a bar, a restaurant or a café almost always perceived as 'someone who is looking for some company'. So women who are traveling should rather steer clear of places that have a huge male crowd. If the place gives you Goosebumps, then leave!
As it is always better to be safe than to be sorry …