Vacations are traditionally a time when we let our hair down and have fun, and let all our humdrum daily worries stay at home to wait for our return. And while escaping the daily grind should be our primary vacation concern, we must not allow the holiday atmosphere deprive us of all good sense. Vacation safety is of paramount importance, and must remain foremost in our mind wherever our travels take us.
A car rental can be a fun way to get around on vacation, but we must always remember that driving in an unfamiliar location can be challenging and sometimes stressful. So before you book your hire car, ensure that driving is the right holiday transport for you – sometimes trying out the local public transport can be fun! But if driving is the choice for you, remember to put your safety first.
Always have insurance when hiring a car, so that you will have financial back up should an accident occur. Talk to your insurance dealer to ensure that you, and any other drivers, are covered.
Ensure that you have all appropriate documentation with you, including your driver’s licence. Make sure that you have an up-to-date map of all the areas that you intend to drive in, and make a note of local emergency numbers. It is useful to bring along a basic emergency kit of your own too, just in case, including basic medical supplies. It is a good idea too to have some food to hand as well – tempers will fray even more if hunger is a factor in a breakdown situation.
Drive defensively in unfamiliar areas to avoid accidents, but should one occur, the situation should be approached the same way you would deal with an accident in your own car. Once you have ensured that everyone is safe, exchange insurance information. It is always a good idea to inspect the rental car for damage before take it out, so that you will be aware of any pre-existing damage. Check that the gas tank is full too before you leave the rental depot.
Above all else is the safety of you and your passengers. Be careful when driving in unfamiliar areas – keep windows up and do not open the door if approached by a stranger. Rental cars are a common target for thieves, so ensure that rental company logos or information is not visible on the car. Thieves also pick on visitors to an area, exploiting their unfamiliarity, so keep your wits about you at all times.