When you’re on the road, it’s easy to get caught up in your own thoughts, but if you’re not careful, it’s also easy to lose track of what’s going on around you. You know how important it is to stay alert when driving, but what about when you stop for a break? In this guide, we’ll give you some tips for staying safe at rest areas so that your next family road trip can be as relaxing as possible.
Our tips for staying safe rest areas follows …
1. Park Away From Rest Stop Buildings
It can be tempting to park as close to the building as possible, but we recommend you pull in at least 50 feet from any building. This will give you some extra space to move around and keep you safe from people who might be loitering around the buildings.
2. Plan Ahead For Peeing
If there’s one thing that’s important to remember when traveling, it’s that peeing can be a challenge.
Make sure you have a jug of water or some other way of getting clean water before you pull into the parking lot; this will help ensure that any germs or bacteria don’t get into your system while you’re away from home base.
If you are driving with kids and need to stop, make sure everyone has a plan for what they should do when the car stops so that no one gets left behind or wanders off by themselves. So make sure to stop at every opportunity and plan ahead for how long it will take everyone to get out of the car and off the road safely so they can relieve themselves.
3. Park Your Vehicle For A Quick Getaway
The best way to stay safe while staying in a rest area is to park your vehicle and lock the doors, even if you’re just going inside to use the restroom or a vending machine. If you’re leaving your car unattended for any reason, make sure that there are no valuables visible from the outside of your car. Even if there isn’t anything valuable in sight, thieves will still break into parked cars just to see what’s inside. If you can’t park close enough to the building, find another spot as quickly as possible.
4. Arrive Before Dark
If you’re going to be staying at a rest area overnight, try to arrive before dark so that you can find an open space without having to walk through dark areas alone or wait until after dark when all of the spaces are taken up by other travelers who arrived earlier than you did. If you don’t mind sleeping in your vehicle then there’s nothing wrong with waiting until later in order to avoid paying for a campsite space since those tend to fill up quickly during peak season anyway!
5. Shade All of Your Windows
Hiding in plain sight is one of the most important tips for staying safe in rest areas. It’s important to shade all of your windows so that you can’t be seen from the outside. Use anything you have on hand—towels, sheets, blankets, or even a tarp will do the trick! Just make sure you cover every single window and leave no gaps for the light to get through—that way no one can see inside your car and know that you’re hiding there.
6. Act Like You’re Talking To Someone
If you’re traveling alone and get lost while driving, you run the risk of being targeted by criminals. The best way to avoid this is to act like you’re talking to someone on the phone—even if you’re not. If anyone approaches you, pretend that you have a friend listening in on your conversation. This will make them think twice about approaching you because they’ll think someone else is watching their every move.
7. Keep Weapons and Security Devices Ready
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from horror movies, it’s that having weapons and security devices handy can save your life in a pinch! Make sure your weapons are always close by (and ready for action), so if someone tries to mess with you or harm your family, they won’t be able to do much damage before getting stopped in their tracks by the device of your choice: pepper spray or a stun gun, perhaps?
It’s important to remember that there are a lot of good reasons to take rest areas for what they are: a place to stop, relax, and catch your breath. But remember that these places aren’t meant to be formal accommodations—they’re just places where you can get out of your vehicle and stretch your legs. They may not have the same amenities as hotels or motels, but they do have their own special charm!
Thomas Bouve has had an intensive IT career in innovative transportation projects and now works at Rest Stops Ahead. During a 4-year tour of duty in the Navy, LCDR Bouve received critical computer training which he directly applied to various logistics programs. After his military service, Tom was appointed Chief, Research and Analysis Division within the U.S. Department of Transportation.