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10/23/06   |   By

Traveling Safely in the United States | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

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The upcoming holiday season is prime vacation and travel season. For travelers within their own state or those visiting other cities for the first time, Diane Goldberg with USA Tourist , provides the following personal safety tips for vacationers and tourists alike:

Non-residents who are visiting an area for the first time should talk to locals about locations to avoid, especially at night.

The U.S. is predominantly a car-dependent country, especially in areas outside of large cities where public transportation is not always available. Tourists should rent a cell phone for travels or ensure that their own phones are fully charged.

Lock car doors, store valuables in the trunk, and do not stop for strangers. Police officers who stop drivers for traffic violations will always be in a marked police car and will be in uniform.

Be careful of “bump and rob” attacks. Although they are rare, some criminals steal cars and valuables by bumping a target car. The robbery mostly occurs when the driver gets out to assess the damage and exchange information. If you are bumped by another car, pull into a well-lit area with other people around before getting out. Or, call 911 on your mobile phone.

Keep car doors locked. Check maps before leaving and park in well-lit, heavily-heavily traveled areas. Carjackers look for cars that slow down or stop to ask directions.

Useful information on lodging, car repair services, as well as, directions and travel routes can be obtained from the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Try to plan your accommodations in advance, as sleeping in train stations or bus stations is generally not allowed. Generally, getting off a bus or a train at night and seeking lodging may not be a good idea. Do not sleep in your car at highway “rest areas.”

Do not camp on private land or beside the highway. Use only public beaches, marked trails and State or National Parks for camping grounds. Consult a guidebook for designated wilderness areas where free camping is permitted. Most areas also have commercial camping ground information.

For more personal safety information on how to travel safely, visit the National Crime Prevention Council.

Regan Zambri Long
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