Your car is possibly one of the most expensive things you own. Whether you're driving for business or pleasure, it can certainly feel like a home away from home. Therefore you need to take appropriate precautions to protect it and any possessions, especially if it's a high-value vehicle or you're a high net worth individual and therefore more of a potential target. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe when out and about in your car.

Keep Your Keys Safe

Ensure you always know where your keys are - they're a thief's best opportunity of stealing your vehicle. At home, leave them out of sight of the front door - in a drawer is the best place. Never leave them in your car while paying for petrol and, even on the coldest of days, don't leave the car running on the drive to warm up. Wrap up and stay with it.

Park Safely

Where possible, keep your car parked in a secure garage; if you don't have a garage, consider parking close to a required exit or route and think about fitting CCTV camera or motion-detection lighting in your driveway. Make sure that you reverse park into any space, allowing for an open arc and good observation when getting into the car and for a swift exit if required. When using public car parks, always look for a space near the entrance or exit to ensure heavy footfall, or near the parking attendant's booth. Otherwise, look for a well-lit spot or park near a CCTV camera.

Lock Yourself in the Car

Always drive with your windows up and the doors locked. There are many new cars that can be programmed to lock doors automatically once the car has started or when you put it into gear. Check your car manual or online for further details.

Hide Your Valuables

Avoid driving with valuables like laptops, handbags and phones on the seat beside you, especially if you're getting out of the driver's side. This could afford time and space for an opportunist to grab your valuables and run. Laptops and handbags can easily be stored in the boot or the glove box. And never leave bags or valuables in view if the vehicle is unattended.

Keep Your Children Safe

Mothers and Fathers; be sure to load a pushchair into your car wisely and systematically. A good tip is to have your bag about your person whilst doing so, as a thief knows that they can steal this from the empty push chair and run if your child is still in the car seat. No parents will chase after a stolen bag leaving a child alone in the car.

Load and Hide Your Posessions Before You Park

If you're checking into a hotel or arriving for a conference and leaving valuables in the car, always have everything out of sight before you park. If you park then move your valuables to the boot, you will draw attention to anybody who may be watching.

Leave Enough Room

When stopped in traffic, always leave enough room between yourself and the car in front so you can drive out of position if you're threatened. Good advice from a personal bodyguard is to make sure you can see the rear tyres of the car in front, so you can drive out without reversing. Also try to command mid lane routes giving yourself options to manoeuvre due to either poor or dangerous driving from third parties or during potential attacks or ambush. < br/>

Use Modern Car Technology

A dash cam is an inexpensive purchase to give you peace of mind while driving. Many newer cars have built-in panic alarms, and some have the capability of dialling 999 in case of an emergency. < br/>

Prevent Carjacking

Thankfully carjacking is relatively rare. To prevent being targeted, keep a charged mobile phone handy, plan your route carefully and avoid notoriously dangerous areas, stay aware of your surroundings (so no peeking at social media or emails when stationary), and be mindful of how carjackers lure victims by bumping them or pretending to be stranded.

Think Ahead

When driving, don't accelerate into a hazard, choke point or red light, which will force you to come to a standstill. Look ahead, identify potential static points and slow the drive down to a sustained crawl whilst keeping yourself mobile.

If you're concerned about a car journey and don't want to drive yourself, consider employing a bodyguard/driver to keep you safe. To find out more about our close protection and security services, contact Stratis Secure today.

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