With the holiday season in full swing, odds are you and the family will be spending a little extra time on the highway. And those long trips usually require one or two visits to highway rest stops. While rest stops were originally created as a safety measure for drivers on long journeys, these highway pull-offs have gotten a bit of a bad reputation in years past due to crime.
So what can you do to stay safe? On Arrival Right off the bat, take stock of the area after you pull in. Most importantly, remember the rest stop's name or the closest mile marker in case you must call for help. Steer clear of anyone behaving suspiciously, such as people hanging out near bathrooms or in corners of the parking lot. Also, park away from tractor trailers—their size can obscure your line of sight and make you vulnerable to criminals. Basic Precautions It can be tempting to tilt your seat back and take a snooze at rest stops, but that's often a bad idea. Whether at night or during the day, staying in your car gives criminals time to stake out you and your vehicle. When you do exit your car, make sure the doors are locked—even if you're just stretching your legs. And if possible, no one should visit the bathroom or vending machines alone—pairs and groups are far less likely to be targeted by robbers than people traveling solo. At Night Poorly lit or secluded areas at rest stops should be avoided during the day, and that holds doubly true at night. That means staying in well-lit spaces adjacent to the rest stop's main building, and steering clear of sites along the periphery such as trails, distant parking spaces and outdoor seating. Many rest stops have a security presence—if you're feeling unsafe on the premises, be sure to locate the security guard or police officer. Alternatives Because rest stops can be more dangerous at night, often the best option for a late-night bathroom break is a gas station, fast food joint or some other kind of 24-hour convenience store. As always, staffed locations are the safer option. Locally, both I-64 and I-81 offer multiple rest areas if you have a big trip in the cards. And while rest stops are a great way to recharge after hours spent behind the wheel, they aren't a safe haven where nothing can go wrong. Remember not to let your guard down when you pull off the interstate, and get to your holiday destination safe and sound.
Be Safe from your friends at Kalfus & Nachman!!