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Safety tips for the holiday rush

/ 11:07 PM November 15, 2011

With the Christmas frenzy slowly starting, accidents, both minor and major, are bound to happen as people rush to and from places, finishing deadlines, attending events and fitting in some shopping. Here are some safety driving tips to keep in mind:

1.) Have your car serviced. It’s almost the end of the year and a good gift to give to your car is have it thoroughly serviced at the dealership, or at your favorite independent repair specialist so they thoroughly inspect your car’s fluids, wear-and-tear parts and other consumables. Handy, especially if you plan to take a long drive out of town in the coming holidays, like going home to your province or enjoying a nice quiet getaway to avoid the mad holiday rush. A well-maintained, well-tuned car is a safe, reliable and enjoyable car to drive that’s stress-free and relaxing. The last thing you want is a break-down on a long drive away from home on a holiday with nobody to bail you out, or worse, stall in the middle of a very busy thoroughfare, causing a massive traffic jam and earning the ire of the motorists you’ve inconvenienced.

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2.) Have a plan, schedule your trips and find alternate routes to the places you’re going to. Before leaving the house, plan out the route to the places you are going to, avoiding sawing back-and-forth throughout Metro Manila. Ideally your last stop for the day is closest to home so rush-hour traffic will be a short and sweet experience for you. If you have to go to the major CBD’s during the day, try to schedule going there at off-peak hours so getting in and out of the CBD’s is easy, and parking will also be easy. As for going to the malls, the best time to go is prior to closing time, or really early in the morning so parking will be easy and there will be fewer people fighting for attention from store clerks. A map is cheap and will be very handy during the holiday rush although a typical SATNAV/GPS system, once mastered will be more convenient for you as you don’t have to keep on flipping pages while driving around and adding to your stress level.

3.) Christmas is a time for giving but don’t give robbers any chances. Car-related break-ins and thefts rely a lot on speed. Almost any car, even with the most sophisticated alarm and immobilizer system can be broken into, hot-wired and started. But if this will take too much time, carnappers will walk away from your car and find easier prey. Don’t leave valuables in plain view, either remove them from your car completely or put them in the trunk away from preying eyes. For SUV’s and hatchback cars, a rear tonneau cover will keep the rear compartment covered. Do not leave electronics like laptops, digital cameras, mobile phones, MP3 players and the like in plain view, as well as money, even coins lying around. And if your typical 1DIN in-car audio system has a detachable face plate, remove it, and carry it with you, or at least put it in the glove box or glove compartment. You want a typical carnapper to walk past your car, see that it’s not worth breaking into and stealing because nothing of value is inside, and walk away. Aside from a blinking light for an alarm, theft deterrent devices such as a lock for the steering wheel or brake/clutch pedal is very useful as a thief knows that removing these items will take more time, exposing himself to a greater chance of getting caught doing the deed.

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4.) Park in a well-lighted, well-populated area when going out at night. This is really for your own safety, rather than your car’s security. People get assaulted when nobody can witness the assault. Avoid parking in dark alleys away from high-density foot traffic and overhead lighting.

5.) Look around and listen. So you’ve found a spot to park. Before shutting off your engine, look around for any suspicious individuals before you shut off your engine and get out. This is especially crucial when coming up to an ATM at night. Similarly, before you even walk close to your car at night from a public place such as a mall car park, look around for any suspicious individuals. A new modus operandi of carnappers is that they wait for their prey to get close to the cars, hold them up and demand the keys so no break-in is required and getting away is even more effortless. If you’re unsure about approaching your car at night, ask for someone like a security guard to accompany or your friends to accompany you to your car.

Keep these simple tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to a very safe and relaxing holiday season!

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TAGS: auto, car safety, Motoring, Security
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