National Car Rental is
warning that travellers heading for foreign destinations could be taking their
safety for granted.Business travel is on the increase - a recent survey revealed
that nearly half of business travellers are travelling more in 2005/6 than in
2004/5 and a leading motoring organisation has warned that business travellers need
to do more to protect their personal safety. National has therefore devised some
easy tips for business travellers to follow when heading abroad.
“Business travellers often travel alone, which makes them more vulnerable” confirmed
Ron Santiago, Vice President International Sales and Marketing EMEA, National Car
Rental. “We have therefore devised some simple tips to help our customers stay
safe. They may be common sense - but the fact is they are often forgotten. We
believe that just a little bit of extra planning and thought can go a long way to
making travellers safer.”
á Do your Homework - Before you travel do some research into the safe areas
and any trouble spots at your destination. If you decide to go exploring in a new
country ask your hotel concierge for tips on areas to be avoided. It’s also a good
idea to plan your route and get an idea of the road rules in a new country. National
can help with its new International road safety initiative Drive Safe. For advice
and tips visit www.nationaldrivesafe.com
á Enable Your Mobile Before You Travel - Check with your mobile phone network
provider that your mobile is able to roam internationally - having it there in case
of emergency will give you added peace of mind. But remember to observe the rules of
the road when using your mobile.
á Be Prepared and Observant - Pay attention to your surroundings and don’t
make it easy for any potential thieves. When driving, keep doors locked and windows
closed where possible.
á Out of Sight Out of Mind - Business travellers often carry eye-catching
valuables such as laptops or mobiles, which could be tempting to a would-be thief.
Ensure you keep valuables out of sight - even when driving; thieves can easily grab
something when you’ve stopped at lights and don’t leave valuables overnight in a
á A Crime of Opportunity - In some countries you need to be aware of
carjacking. It often happens late at night and carjackers look for easy targets so
don’t attract attention to yourself or your car. Make sure you know your route as
carjackers have been known to target motorists who look unsure of where they are
going or are looking at maps at traffic lights. When at lights try to leave a gap
between your vehicle and the one in front - being too close to the car in front will
prevent you from escaping if a carjacking gang attacks. Finally if your car is
nudged, take their car details down rather than follow them - some carjackers use
this tactic to get your attention and distract you.
á Getting In and Out - When approaching your car, stay alert, walk with a
purpose, and have the key ready in your hand. When parking choose a well lit area
and avoid parking next to anything that limits your visibility - such as woods or
á Don’t Stand Out - Women travelling alone may be more vulnerable so be sure
to dress appropriately when abroad. For businesswomen travelling in strongly
religious or male-dominated societies, there are often dress rules and breaking
these may put you in jeopardy.
á Breaking Down - If you break down it’s important not to leave yourself open
to opportunist crime. According to recent statistics a quarter of all business
breakdowns take place in inner city areas with 27% occurring in the dark. It can
be potentially dangerous to break down in unfamiliar areas especially if it’s after
dark and you’re alone. So while waiting for breakdown services, try to park
somewhere well lit. If visibility is poor, switch on your hazard warning lights or
keep the sidelights on. If you’re in an unfamiliar place don’t wonder around but
stay in the car with the doors locked and if someone tries to get into the vehicle
attract attention by sounding the horn.
á Stopping for petrol - Ensure you stay on guard when you stop to refuel, as
recent studies have shown that crime on petrol forecourts, including theft and
assault is rising. There are however some simple measures to take which can
minimise the chances of attack. Always lock the car when you go to pay for fuel and
take the key with you. And always keep valuables out of sight.
á Road Rage - People often get stressed when driving but sometimes it can
lead to aggressive or violent behaviour. When driving abroad try to avoid offending
other drivers and don’t engage them even if they have done something to annoy you.
Try to put as much distance between you and the other driver, avoid eye contact and
never pull off the road to confront them. If you feel you have angered another
driver, do not pull over or return to your hotel. Instead drive to a safe place
such as a busy area. If you feel under threat call the police.
National has also been nominated this year for a
World Travel Award as World’s Leading Business Car Rental Company.