In these difficult financial times most folks need vacations more than ever. And people also want to save a lot of money if they can. One economical solution is to take the family car and drive to and from your holiday destination instead of flying.
If you plan to drive, it may also make sense to take some steps to protect yourself and family from car theft. Having some car thief steal your car, luggage, or other items of value from your trunk could really put a damper on what was supposed to be a fun-filled and enjoyable trip.
Even if you take all of the numerous precautions to prevent auto theft when you travel, very determined professional car thieves can still manage to steal any vehicle if they want it badly enough. Can you remember the car theft action movie Gone In 60 Seconds starring Nicolas Cage? However, you can still dramatically reduce the odds of becoming a victim of auto theft to almost zero. Most of these auto theft preventative measures are common sense and will you cost nothing to do. So why not make it a habit of implementing them not only when you travel by car on your holidays, but also in your every day driving as well?
To start with, you should never take for granted that you are immune from car thieves when traveling, or that your vehicle would not really be worth stealing.
Keep in mind that sometimes these thieves might be after more than just your vehicle, luggage, or any valuables that might be inside your car or trunk. They may only want an older car to joy ride in, or take it to sell its parts.
They may also be after your vehicle documents for identity theft purposes, or they could be thinking of robbing your home town residence while you are away on vacation. Where would they get this important information? From the vehicle registration and auto insurance papers which are usually conveniently located in the glove compartment.
The best way is to eliminate this problem is to keep these documents on your person at all times when traveling on your vacation.
The second best way to reduce this problem is to hide the documents really well in the trunk. Some police forces in cities that have a high incidence of auto thefts recommend doing this. Just remember to tell everyone who is traveling with you where these documents are squirreled away inside the trunk.
Here are some more ways you can lessen the chance of having your holidays ruined by car thieves. If you can manage to implement a number of these suggestions, you can dramatically lessen the odds of becoming another victim of auto theft when you travel.
Close all of your vehicle’s windows tightly and lock all the doors when you park it anywhere, even if it’s only for a minute or two.
A real invitation to lose your vehicle is to leave it idling while unattended. Under no circumstance should you ever do this. Don’t even think about it.
Similarly, you should not leave your vehicle’s keys in the ignition or hidden anywhere in car. That also includes a second set of keys. Professional car thieves can easily find any keys hidden in the usual places very quickly. Keep an extra set of keys on your person.
Don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle, even if they can not be seen from the outside of your car. If possible, take them with you.
However, if you have no choice but to leave valuables in your vehicle, at least make sure that they are locked inside your trunk. When you do this, check first and look around to make sure that nobody is watching, or better still, stop, pull over, and put them in your trunk before you arrive at your intended destination. Prying eyes can be anywhere.
When parking your vehicle in public areas, turn you front wheels either to the left or right before turning your ignition off. This will engage the steering wheel locking mechanism in the steering column which can make your car a little more difficult to steal.
Engaging the emergency brake after you have parked and turned the motor off may also make your vehicle harder to tow away.
For front wheel and rear wheel drive vehicles you should park them differently when in an underground parking garage. The front wheel drive autos should be parked with the nose in and rear wheel drives with the nose out. Then turn your tires to the left or right. Again, this may make your vehicle harder to tow away.
It’s always best to park in an attendant controlled parking lot rather than an unattended one. If it is a place where there is valet parking, only give the attendant your door and ignition key. They don’t need any of the other keys on your key chain.
In public places at dusk and at night, always park in a well lighted area that has a lot of pedestrian traffic. Keep in mind that most auto thieves prefer to work under the cover of darkness.
Try to avoid parking near or next to any obstruction, such as a fence, hedge, large truck, or anything that blocks a clear view of your vehicle to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
When you are staying in a place that has gated, secure parking, be sure that the gate has completely closed after entering or leaving so that a thief doesn’t sneak in to the parking area behind your vehicle.
If you happen to see any suspicious activity such as a person or group of people hanging around or near your vehicle you should call the police.
Here are some anti-theft devices that you can install for maximum protection. You may already have a few of these products installed in your vehicle.
You should use a highly visible after-market steering wheel lock bar. Most car thieves will likely move on to easier prey. Other less visible after-market anti-theft products are gas pedal locks, brake pedal locks, and armored collars that fit around the steering column which protects the ignition. And for the manual shift vehicles you can also use an after-market shifter lock. These products are all effective but not as highly visible to prying eyes.
Another thing that you can easily do is to have your mechanic install a hood lock that will prevent easy access to your vehicle’s battery and security system.
A loud vehicle alarm system and a highly visible alarm sticker on your windshield is worth its weight in gold especially when it’s combined with the addition of some of the other anti-theft security options.
The best vehicle protection is a passive electronic immobilizer which disables the motor when you turn off the ignition. It’s not an inexpensive device to have installed but it’s well worth it for your peace of mind. There are other benefits you may receive when you install an electronic immobilizer in your car. Some auto insurance companies will offer a discount on your policy if you can show documentation that you’ve had one installed. You also could get more money for your vehicle if you decide to sell it down the road.
Last, but not least, check to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage on your vehicle including theft and damage before you travel by car on any vacation.
Dorothy Yamich has a passion for travel. She has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe as well as traveled in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. She is a travel consultant and specializes in luxury cruises as well as vacation packages. If you are looking for information on cheap airfares, fabulous discounted luxury cruises and great holiday packages, visit: http://www.traveltipsguide.com