Whether parking with a private lot or anywhere in a metropolitan area, it is important to employ safety measures so that you will not fall victim to car theft or vandalism. Oftentimes we are loaded into a false sense of security when we go out. Even if we drive to the corner store, for five minutes to get bread, a lot can happen to your car. Here are some tips to consider the next time you must leave your car unattended for a long period of time.
- Always lock your vehicle when parking in public. With newer models, you have the luxury of lock buttons that are difficult to pop. People with older model cars with manual locks should see about having the buttons changed.
- Keep valuables out of sight (cameras, CDs, etc.) when you park your car. Never leave anything exposed that might tempt someone to break into your care. Better yet, if you do not need these items, best to leave them at home.
- Park in well-populated, well-lighted areas where you travel at night. Do you know the neighborhood? Is it a place you absolutely have to be at that time? If yes, try to park as close to your intended destination as possible, or find a well-lighted public lot with supervision.
- Know the laws about metered parking. In some places it is unlawful to park in a spot with time remaining and not feed the meter. Also, it may be illegal to feed your meter when it is expired (you would have to move your car 500 feet and back to reclaim the spot, unless another car is waiting on it).
- Always make sure your spare tire is in good condition in the event of a flat. It is a good idea, too, to keep a can of "fix a flat" spray to get you to a gas station just in case.
- It is also good to keep a throwaway camera or cell phone camera handy, you should return to your car and find it has been vandalized or damaged. Take the pictures immediately for your insurance claim.
- Where possible, travel with a friend.
- Keep a membership to an auto club in case of theft or breakdown. In the event either should happen, stay in a populated area like a store until help arrives.
By parking safely, you stay safe to arrive home or your intended destination.