Personal safety when living on the road

Safety is paramount. Your well being is concern number-one anywhere and everywhere you go. It is a must… to stop and think about the possible security issues when you pull up to your next location. As is true with any form of travel, be it a run to your local grocery store or a 3000 mile cross-country road trip, the first line of defense in keeping yourself safe and secure is to be aware of your surroundings and use good judgement. Start with a simple assessment of the surroundings and how you might get out of there if things do go sideways. What are the risks? Will you be a target for someone wanting to break in? How will you deal with the worst-case-scenario if it does happen? Simple preparation goes a long way.

Statistically, your chances of a criminal encounter greatly reduces the further you get from city limits. It is at its highest within the cities but there are times when you are left with no other choice but to stay in, or nearby, the city.

A few pointers:

  • Keep the doors locked and windows up at all times. Don’t make it easy on someone to get the jump on you. With windows up and doors locked, at the very least you have some warning before someone is actually in your abode. Those precious few seconds can help you diffuse the situation (yell and scream, set off car alarm, etc) before it becomes critical.
  • Black out window coverings are great. Not only do they provide some privacy when you want it, it keeps the bad guys from knowing if someone is in there or not. Very few baddies want to break into a van or RV when the residents are home.
  • A very simple thing that can go a long way to getting you out of danger quickly is just to park facing the exit for an easy escape if needed. If things start getting scary, just put the keys in the ignition and drive off.
  • Put everything away at night and keys in the ignition (assuming you are in a van or RV of course) so you are ready to go at a moments notice.
  • Park near like minded people. There is not only security in numbers, but extra eyes watching the surroundings can be quite helpful. If you are on a hike, the neighbors can passively prevent a break in just by being there.
  • Park in well lit areas if in the city, or well off the roadway if boondocking.
  • Be aware that you do not have a physical address to the 911 operator and your cell phone will not give them that information either. Find your exact street address and/or GPS coordinates and write them down if you do need to dial 911 in an emergency.
  • Lastly, just drive to another place if you are ever in doubt. It just isn’t worth the hassle if there is even the slightest doubt.

Outside city limits the chance of a human vs human encounter drops to near-zero. However, the chances of animal vs human encounters increases. While getting to see the wildlife is great, having some type of  repellent, such as bear spray, with you at all times is a must. Not only with you in your van, but accessible in the heat of the moment. Remember, you are sleeping in a box that contains all your food, and bears know that and may not back down from a simple banging of pots and pans. How about a bear-spray right beside the fire-extinguisher that should be mounted near your main point of entry/exit? And of course one in your hiking kit as well.

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