1. Always keep these items in your vehicle at all times especially for those last minute road trips: maps, jumper cables, charged cell phone, flares, flash-light, first aid kit, blankets, an auto club card if you break down , and some spare cash hidden in your vehicle.
2. Be sure to plan your route carefully. Use websites like mapquest ( http://www.mapquest.com ) and Google earth ( http://earth.google.com/ ) to plan your route. Also note the places you want to stop for breaks and gasoline fill-ups. This allows you to know which are safer than others.
3. Always park in well-lighted areas, if you plan to arrive or leave after dark.
4. Do not park in an isolated or visually obstructed area near walls or heavy foliage.
5. Use valet parking or an attended garage, not a vacant one, especially if you're driving alone.
6. As you walk to your car be alert to suspicious persons sitting in cars near yours.
7. Ask for a security escort if you are alone at a shopping center. Do not worry, it's not an inconvenience on their part, it's their job.
8. Watch out for young males loitering in the area (handing out flyers, trying to start a conversation, selling something etc.) Be sure to make eye contact with them.
9. If someone tries to approach, turn back into the establishment you just came from, (store, restaurant etc.) and ask to be escorted out or call someone from the store's phone or your cell phone to meet you there.
10. Always tell friends or loved ones where you are going and check in with them when you have arrived.
By following these car and road trip safety tips, you can effectively protect yourself and keep safe.