With attacks against U.S. rental car drivers increasing at an alarming rate, car rental companies have responded by removing license plates and rental stickers identifying their cars as rentals. Many also have been distributing safety tip brochures at locations nationwide.  Travelers often are unfamiliar with the areas they visit.  Therefore, the best approach to ensuring a safe ride is to drive-and think-defensively.  The following is a list of driver safety tips offered by several car rental vendors.

Common Ploys And How To Avoid Them

Ploy #1: A driver motions to you for help while he is driving his car or is parked at the side of the road. Solution: Do not stop. Go to the nearest telephone and call the police for assistance.

Ploy #2: A driver tries to lure you into an accident by bumping your car from behind. Solution: Do not stop on the road or shoulder. Drive to the nearest police or service station for assistance.

Ploy #3: A driver yells, honks or points at your car as though there were something wrong with your vehicle. Solution: Do not stop on the road or shoulder. Drive to the nearest service station or well-lit public area and check your car's condition.

Ploy #4: A driver repeatedly flashes his car's white headlights at your vehicle. Solution: Do not pull over. U. S. emergency lights are red or red and blue.

Proactive Safety Tips

  • Ask for specific directions to your destination, including applicable expressway entrances and exits, prior to leaving the rental counter. Also, take a map of the area with you.
  • If you get lost, do not pull over to the side of the road to study your map or directions. Instead, drive to the nearest, well-lit and populated public place (i.e. a restaurant or gas station).
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers under any circumstances.
  • Keep doors locked and windows rolled up while driving and while your car is parked.
  • Lock purses, wallets, luggage and other valuables in the trunk or glove compartment so they are not visible to potential criminals.
  • Always park in well-lit areas.
  • Have your car keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
  • Check inside and underneath your vehicle for anyone who might be waiting before entering your car.
  • In the event that you suspect you are being followed, go to a well-lit area and call the police (911).
  • Avoid driving in the curbside lane when navigating city streets. Criminals often break the glass in car doors and rob the inhabitants within seconds.
  • Don't keep your car in neutral while waiting for a light to change. You may have to move more quickly than you think.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of your car's safety equipment (i.e. hazard lights, spare tire, door locks, etc.) before leaving the rental car lot.