It is important that you as the renter are aware of certain safety precautions prior to embarking on your travels. For your convenience, here are a few tips to be aware of:
At the Airport/Car Rental Location
The car rental companies have stopped labeling their rental vehicles with their corporate logos to protect out-of-towners from being targeted by scammers. It is always a good idea to ensure there are no logos or stickers on your particular rental car.
Familiarize yourself with the vehicle's features and safety equipment, not limited to,
Turn signals The Horn Brakes Hazard lights Door locks Head and rear lights Driver’s seat (for comfort) Seat belts Side/Front mirrors Spare tire Windshield wipers Rear view mirror
People usually just merely check the air conditioner and CD/Radio before heading out, but ensuring that the above are operating properly guarantees a safe and productive trip.
Always be alert to your surroundings and know how to reach your destination prior to your departure. (Renting a GPS should always be a consideration prior to traveling.)
Review maps and other visitor information before leaving the rental car area or other location. Reading a map while driving is dangerous and can indicate you are unfamiliar with the area. Always ask for directions before leaving the rental counter.
At airports, rental car plazas or other transportation terminals; do not leave luggage unattended. If there is more than one person in your party, assign someone to stay with the bags. Only the renter and any additional drivers are required to sign the rental documentation to rent the car.
Make sure your driver’s license is VALID! Many people end up finding out that their driver’s license is expired only when they present it at the counter, which changes their travel plan dramatically. It is best to check your license prior to booking car reservations.
Lastly, check for existing damage such as scratches and dents before leaving the car rental facility. Make sure the vehicle always has plenty of gasoline before heading out.
All too common question: How can I avoid losing my car in the parking lot?
- Remember what and where you parked. You don’t want to spend your time looking for your rental car, the one that is mixed in with several hundred identical rental cars in a 10,000-space parking lot. Even worse, you’ll have half a lot worth of minivans to try and see over.
- Check the key chain, many Rental Companies label their key chains with the car’s make, model, color and license plate number in case you forget.
- Beware the valet, they may give you the right color, model and even have the right Rental Company’s name on the key tag, but make sure they give you back the one for which you are legally responsible to return. Their lot is probably full of rental cars and mix-ups do and have happened.
These safety tips are general common-sense hints and tips from TravelOne.
The safety of you and your passengers is most important. However, remember that personal safety is your responsibility. Do what you think best under the circumstances. Stay alert and be cautious.
During Your Trip
Keep valuables in the trunk or locked glove compartment. Keep all luggage in the trunk. Do not draw attention to the fact that you are a visitor. Stay on the main roads and stick to your planned route.
In the U.S.A. you drive on the right hand side of the road. Unless otherwise stated, you may turn RIGHT at a RED traffic light providing of course that it is safe to do so. When crossing the road on foot, make sure that you look LEFT first.
On multi-lane roads, you can be overtaken by vehicles in both the outside and inside lanes. American drivers in general will not allow you to cut in so make sure that you are in the correct lane at junctions.
You WILL be fined for speeding. Stay within the established limits. You are not allowed to drink and drive. You WILL be arrested and charged for Driving Under the Influence. Please do not get the rental car impounded by the police. You must turn on your headlights for driving in the evenings, especially when driving in rain or reduced visibility.
Always be wary of pulling over, especially if it is dark or if you are unfamiliar with the territory. Never exit your car until you are sure that the situation is safe. Do not stop if a passing motorist tells you that something is wrong with your vehicle or if someone bumps you from behind. Pull into the nearest service station or well lit public area.
If necessary, call the police.
At stoplights, leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one in front of you in case you must pull away quickly. Always keep doors locked and windows rolled up when driving or when parked.
Do not pick up hitchhikers under any circumstances. Always be aware of the pedestrian traffic around your vehicle. Always park in a well lit area. Have car keys in hand and check in and around the car before entering.
Do not take short cuts to save time or exit expressways prematurely to save tolls. Tolls are a nominal charge, change is available at many booths, and your safety is most important. Many car rental companies provide toll pass transponders that allow you to pass through the toll booths without stopping, as the fee is automatically charged to your rental account.
Use automated teller machines only in busy, unobstructed areas and count your money inside the car with the doors locked.
Do not resist in the rare event that a stranger demands your valuables. Your well-being is more important than your belongings. Always use seat belts. It is the law and may save your life in the event of an accident.
If your car malfunctions on a major thoroughfare, lock the doors, turn on the hazard lights and wait for the police to arrive. If someone offers help, have them call the police. Don’t leave your vehicle.
Wait in the car for service or the police to arrive. Accepting help from strangers, no matter how well intended, is not a good idea unless you can’t call for help and they can.
Do not pull over to assist what may appear to be a disabled car, even if someone tries to wave you down. If you have a cellular phone, you may wish to call the police.
Drive to a service station or store if you need information or directions. Casual street-corner directions are the surest way to get lost.
Avoid the temptation of road rage. Honking and yelling at the drivers around you is probably more likely to make someone aggravated rather than to help get traffic moving. Be patient.
When going to petrol stations, you may be required to pay before filling up. Most vehicles use regular unleaded petrol and it is cheaper to use Self Service stations.
If you are stopped by the police for any reason you must stay in your vehicle until the officer comes to you. Do not attempt to get out of the car. If you do not have both your driving license and rental agreement with you, you can be fined.
Should you have an accident, you MUST report it to the local Police. You must not leave the scene of an accident and you must ask for a copy of the report for your car rental company. You should then telephone your car rental company and advise them of the situation.
As previously stated, NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE! It is illegal in the State of Florida to visibly carry alcohol or to have an opened container of alcohol in the vehicle. If you are found guilty of Driving Whilst Intoxicated, you will go to prison.