Iowa Department of Public Safety Iowa State Patrol Division
 
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE MOTORING PUBLIC  
IOWA STATE PATROL EMERGENCY PHONE:
1-800-525-5555

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE
The best way to avoid problems is to try to prevent them from happening. Make sure you check:

  • All fluids.
  • Proper air pressure of tires.
  • Windshield wipers.
  • Fuel - keep it at least half full.
  • Condition and air pressure of spare tire.
  • Tell a friend or family member what route you are taking and when you expect to arrive.
  • Have periodic mechanical check-ups at your local service station or automobile dealer.

TIPS FOR GETTING TO AND FROM YOUR VEHICLE SAFELY

  • Have your keys in your hands as you approach your vehicle. You are the most vulnerable getting into or out of your vehicle.
  • Check the passenger compartment before getting into the vehicle, even if you left the vehicle locked.
  • Lock all doors and roll up windows when driving.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Always park in a central, well-lit location where attendants are on duty.
  • If someone is loitering near your vehicle, do not go near it. Seek help or wait until the person leaves.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VEHICLE BREAKS DOWN

  • Stay calm.
  • Park as far off the traveled portion of the highway as possible.
  • Make your vehicle visible. Turn on your emergency 4-way flashers.
  • Exit the vehicle from the passenger's side, away from traffic.
  • Open the vehicle's hood and leave it open.
  • Tie a light colored cloth to the antenna or door handle.
  • If possible, stay with the vehicle until uniformed law enforcement arrives, especially at night or during bad weather.
  • Place a "Send Help" sign in a window so it is visible to other motorists.
  • If someone stops to help, keep your doors locked. Crack a window, asking the person to call law enforcement for help.
  • If you decide you must walk, write:
    • Your name.
    • The date.
    • The time you left.
    • The direction you are traveling.
  • If you decide you must accept a ride with another motorist, write down the following:
    • The direction you are going.
    • The plate number of the vehicle you are riding in.
    • Description of the vehicle.
    • Name and description of the person you are riding with.
  • Notify law enforcement of the location and circumstances in which you left your vehicle.

HOW TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM OF CARJACKING
Carjacking is a crime that has increased on our highways. This may be done with a weapon or may involve a physical assault. 

  • Always be familiar with your surroundings. (Know what is going on around you).
  • Before getting into your vehicle, have your keys out and get into your vehicle quickly.
  • Lock all doors and keep your windows rolled up.
  • Conceal all valuables. Keep them under the seat or locked in the trunk.
  • When you are stopped at a red light or stop sign, leave room to maneuver around the vehicle in front of you.
  • If someone tries to enter your vehicle at a red light or stop sign, drive through the intersection (safely).
  • Use interstates or toll ways when traveling through cities. Avoid high crime areas.
  • If you need to stop for gas or use a phone, choose a well-lit, busy facility.
  • If you are followed into your driveway, stay in your vehicle until you can identify the other driver. If you need to, sound the horn in short steady blasts to get the attention of others.
  • If someone bumps into your car at an intersection or when traveling at slow speeds, do not get out. Instead, motion for the driver to follow you to the nearest police station, fire station, or other busy, well-lit facility.
  • Most important, if there is no escape, do not resist. Your life is more valuable than your money or your car. 
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