Car & Driver Safety

  • Activate any theft deterrent device you may have.
  • Thieves often remove the vehicle identification number from the car, take it upon yourself to etch it in several hard-to-find spots, using an engraving tool, on each component part. Write your name in crayon under the hood or trunk. If your car is stolen, the police will need specific information to identify the car, parts, and accessories. Take the time to record detailed information. If a car thief replaces your license plates, alters the vehicle identification number or repaints the car, other points of identification will be available.
  • Before getting into your car, look inside first to make sure no 1 is hiding in the back seat. When leaving your car, make sure it is locked.
  • Close all windows and lock all doors.
  • Guard your keys. If the keys have punch-out numbers, remove them and keep them at home for reference in case of loss.
  • If someone attempts to force you off the road, don't panic - blow your horn constantly to attract attention. If you are forced over, as soon as you stop put your car in reverse and back away - keep blowing the horn and moving the car as much as possible.
  • If you have a garage, use it. Lock both the vehicle and the garage.
  • If you park in a commercial lot or garage, leave only the ignition key with the attendant.
  • If you suspect that someone is following you, make a few turns down active streets, if possible. If the car you suspect is following you makes the same turns as you then head for the nearest police station, fire house, or open store. Don't try to make it to your own quiet residential area.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car at all times. Include a screwdriver, pliers, flares, a flashlight, a jack and spare tire, battery jumper cables and procedures for boosting, change for a pay phone and a calling card, lubricant for locks, lock deicer, a lug wrench, auto insurance card, first aid kit and blanket, phone numbers of 24-hour tow and repair services, a sign that reads "Please call police!" in light reflecting letters approximately 12" high, and an emergency tire repair kit and air compressor.
  • Keep windows rolled up, except for a small ventilation space, and keep your doors locked.
  • Never leave licenses, registration cards, or other identifying papers in your car. Thieves can use these items to sell your car, impersonate you if challenged by police, or break into your home.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Put packages or valuables out of sight: GPS systems, MP3 players, cell phones and other expensive items in full view invite theft.
  • Regularly check tire pressure and wear, and oil, brake fluid, battery fluid, and radiator water levels.
  • Try to park your car in a well-lit area. This is not only good from the standpoint of discouraging a personal attack on you but also for reducing the chance of auto theft. Look around before you get out of your car.
If Your Car Is Stolen
  • Report theft to police.
  • Notify your insurance company.
False reporting of vehicle theft is a crime and can be punishable by a fine or imprisonment.