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Summer Road Trip Tips: Keeping Your Car Safe

Thief stealing purse from car

Some friends and I were reminiscing the other day about absurd events in our lives and one of them said "Remember that time my sister left her car running while she ran into the gas station to pay and someone stole her car?" Hahahahahahaa! Oh, wait…that wasn't that hilarious.

Thinking about it later, I realized that we are all tempted to take a short-cut every now and then because we feel pressed for time. We also take safety routine shortcuts when we're outside our usual environment and a little distracted such as when we're on a road trip or vacation.

Since it's coming up on peak road trip season in Canada, we thought we'd review a few car security tips from the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Their first tip is always take your keys with you! When I got my first car and my dad was reviewing things with me, he said "When you turn off the car, the first thing you do is pull the keys from the ignition and put them in your pocket." I think he was more worried about me locking them in the car, than the car getting stolen - but I did take the lesson to heart. 25 years later and its still the first thing I do when I turn off the car.

Other tips from the IBC include:

  • Roll up your vehicle's windows, lock the doors and pocket the key.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
  • Don't leave your car unattended while it's is running!
  • Don't leave valuables or packages in full view; put them in the trunk.
  • Keep your vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance with you, not in your glove compartment.

The RCMP encourage the use of anti-theft devices such as a steering wheel lock or after-market immobilizer, especially on older model vehicles. They also suggest engraving any removable car parts or accessories with your vehicle registration number.

Finally, keeping a handy record of the specifics of your vehicle to give police in case your vehicle is stolen. I have all this information, but not in one place. I'm adding it to a note in my smart phone today!

  • Vehicle Year, Make, Model & Colour
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • License Plate Number
  • Ignition key number
  • Insurance Company Phone Number & Policy Number
  • A current photograph of your vehicle, with a description of any distinguishing features (dents, scratches) - A list of regular contents of the vehicle (stereo system, etc.)

Do you have any other tips for keeping your car secure, especially while traveling? We'd love to hear them in the comments!

- Rose R.

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