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Self-Defense Tips for Cross-Country Drive


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  • Self-Defense Tips for Cross-Country Drive

    Next year i'm going to drive cross-country. I'm in the planning stages, and creating my document now because i'll be gone for a number of weeks; and i have alot of things to plan and figure out. And alot of people to stop and see

    It may be just myself and my dog, but either way i'd like some advice on what to carry as far as weapons for self-defense, that are legal - obviously.

    I'll be in many different states. My dog is big and scary-looking, but i know that doesnt always work!

    Last edited by Jellybean400; 09-04-2008, 03:00 PM.

  • #2

    You have to look at the legalities regarding yourself and the states you're travelling in. Carrying of firearms in a car is generally less restricted when they're carried in transport-condition than when they're carried in ready-condition. Concealed vis-a-vis open carry is an issue. Edged weapons and impact weapons are generally less restricted than firearms. A can of pepper spray can be a very useful self-defense device. I suggest you get police-grade spray, learn about the different spray patterns and formulations and how to use pepper spray lawfully and effectively, and keep at least one backup can. Please have a nice trip.




    • #3
      A few worda of advice:

      1. Do not pick up hitchhikers.

      2. Do not eat at truck stops - look around the area for a reputable dining place.

      3. Do not carry more money than you need for the day on your person. Hide the rest.

      4. Do not stay at low rate motels or inns. Hampton Inns, La Quinta Inns, though a little more cost wise, they offer excellent accomodations and breakfast meals. There are a number of them that accept pets.

      5. Do not lock your dog in the car with the windows rolled up or even in the sunshine. Look for a nice, cool shady spot.

      6. Be certain to stop at least every two hours for your pet to refresh itself and do what comes naturally. Also, make certain to keep yourself and your pet hydrated.

      Take your time, have fun, enjoy the scenery and drive safely.
      Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

      [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


      • #4
        Thank you.

        I'm probably not going the gun route.

        Thanks for all the pet advice... i'm going at a cooler time of year, but i'll be especially careful. I'll probably eat in the car with her


        • #5
          Monty covered it very well with his suggestions for edge weapons and spray. The only other thing I might add is a kubotan, either as a keychain or something like a Cold Steel Sharkie.

          Your best defense is situational awareness. Stay safe and have fun.


          • #6

            If you could dress one up in uniform it might help.

            Myself being 6'2" and close to 300lb and carrying a gun have never noticed a problem.


            • #7

              I have travelled cross-country numerous times without a single incident. And that was before cell phones even existed and before I owned any pepper spray.

              The worst thing that ever happened to me was when I was traveling from CA to Florida with a friend from h.s. when we were both 19 -- we found ourselves in some small town in north Texas where there was a dentist (!) convention and not a room to be had in the "better" hotels. We ended up staying in...shudder...a place that had...shudder...COCKROACHES in the bathroom.

              When traveling your best defense is being sensible. Your greatest threat is not from another human being but from yourself: traveling when over-tired or sleepy. Driving long stretches of straight roads through the flatlands can cause anyone to nod off even if you've had a good night's sleep. That divider line is very hypnotizing.

              One thing I've done is take along audio books. One trip I particularly enjoyed Gloria Naylor's trilogy, The Women of Brewster Place, Mama Day, and Bailey's Cafe (three novels with a family of related characters). It is very well read and full of drama.

              I would force myself to drive for an hour before putting the tape in (yes, that was before I had a CD player), and then make myself turn it off a half hour before any planned stop, and when I turned in for the night. That way I "saved" it as something to look forward to, and I didn't run out of the story before I got to the end of the trip!

              With your dog you will at least have a companion you have to attend to and will force you to stop periodically. Get out and give him a good walk, even if it's just several rounds around the rest stop. That should help keep you awake, too.

              Before you go, be sure your car is in tip top shape. Take it to your mechanic to have it checked over. Make sure all tires are in good condition with plenty of tread and properly inflated.

              If you don't know how already, learn how to change your own tire, since even good tires can get punctured. That way you won't be dependent on "the kindness of strangers," which though usually ok still has the risk that the stranger may not be particularly "kind."

              Like your mamma said, don't talk to strangers. I mean, you can be friendly and say hello, even chat about the weather, but don't reveal anything about where you are coming from or where you are going or when you are supposed to be wherever.

              Do not dismiss a gut feeling about a person. I always say it's better to be a live fool than a dead one.

              I assume you will have a cell phone. Don't forget the car charger so you can keep it well-charged up while you are on the road.

              If you can, stick to Interstates. In case for some reason your phone isn't working, most of them have phones that connect directly to the local emergency communications center. Also there are phones in the rest stops. Many of these take credit cards now, but always have change just in case. I keep it in my unused ashtray.

              Stop driving no later than 10 p.m. Earlier if you can, especially if you have a long stretch of empty road ahead of you. The worst thing is to get stranded on some lonely stretch of road after dark.

              Plan your trip carefully. These days we have wonderful tools for doing that. Google maps not only allow you to figure out time and distance as well as directions, most locations also provide a "street view" so you can actually see the place (getting a 360 degree view) you will get off of the Interstate or whatever.

              Know where you will be stopping for the night and have reservations ahead of time. If you won't be stopping by 6 p.m. you will have to use a credit card to reserve the room.

              Plan where you will stop for lunch. Google maps does a great job for you with this as well.

              If you have a laptop, bring it with you (or borrow one from a friend). These days most hotels have wireless internet. Even some McDonalds' have it.



              and this


              can help you find free wireless hot spots.

              Hey, if you have or can get a laptop to take with you, you can even report into O.com each night so we can send out a posse if you don't check in!

              Give your itinerary to a friend and check in with that friend as soon as you get to your planned stop for the night -- or even throughout the day. That way someone will know where you are supposed to be when.

              If you encounter someone who makes you nervous you can excuse yourself and tell them you are supposed to be checking in with a friend, and go to your car to make the call...and drive off. You could also say "a cop friend" to add a little punch to it.

              Walk with a straight back and long, confident strides. Look people in the eye. I know some women are advised not to look men in the eye because men will interpret it as a sexual come-on, but it's all about what's in your eyes when you look. Confidence, pride, strength will go a long way toward discouraging any potential criminal from seeing you as an easy target.

              Planning ahead and using your head will reduce the chances to nearly zero that you will have any problems for which you might need a weapon.

              BTW, where are you traveling to?
              Last edited by rubyrose; 09-05-2008, 03:54 PM.
              Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
              Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
              A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1


              • #8
                If you haven't already, join AAA. Not only do they do a free trip-tik planner for you, the guide books are also free, and a great resource for places to eat, visit and stay. With a pet, that's especially important.

                AAA also has the best discounts, and there is that wonderful road-side assistance.

                I've done several cross-country and coastal trips, both solo, and with my son. I usually leave early am, and always plan to stop no later then 4pm each day. That way you can have a nice dinner, and take a swim if there is a pool (I recommend places with a pool or spa!) before bedding down for the night.

                I always pack a cooler with drinks and snacks, and replenish at real grocery stores, not at convenience stores/gas stations.

                Get gas when your half-full, never push it 'til your on the last quarter tank or lower.

                Always have a plan.
                Last edited by willowdared; 09-05-2008, 10:30 AM.
                Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.



                • #9
                  Wow, Ruby! That was pretty thorough. You should work for AAA or some sort of travel agency.
                  The DA/SA handgun: A NAZI solution to a problem that didn't exist!


                  • #10
                    Well, gee, t'anks.

                    Actually now that I think of it I believe I have a draft for an article in a travel magazine.

                    Willow's suggestion re: bringing a cooler and your own food is one I forgot to mention. Food on the road is always very expensive and frequently iffy in terms of quality. Also you don't have to depend on having a restaurant or grocery available when you get hungry or thirsty.

                    For that cooler you might want to get a big chunk of ice rather than ice cubes. It lasts longer.

                    One of my road trips I took was from Ontario CA up to Chico one July. On the way back it was 112 in San Joaquin Valley, and my car did not have air conditioning. I wore a terry cloth dress with spaghetti straps and had a cooler full of ice cubes next to me. I would periodically run the ice cubes over my face and...well...a few truckers got a bit excited...lol.

                    It DID keep me from getting heat stroke. Not so sure about those truckers.

                    I don't recommend that. Better to have AC (which I do now, even though I live in the frozen North and only need it a few months out of the year).

                    Originally posted by akflyer View Post
                    Wow, Ruby! That was pretty thorough. You should work for AAA or some sort of travel agency.
                    Last edited by rubyrose; 09-05-2008, 03:56 PM.
                    Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                    Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1


                    • #11
                      Plan your route and let others know what it is. Check in with a family member every night and tell them where you are. Get AAA. Get a can of fix-a-flat. Fill your car up with gas in the day time (I was off duty at night and saw an old and obviously well to do lady putting gas in her very nice car on a very bad side of town. I talked to her for a minute. She was a visitor passing through and needed gas. Since I was armed I stuck around till she left. She had no idea what kind of target she made herself to be). Find out how to contact the highwaypatrol or state police from your cell phone for every state you will be driving through. Blankets, a flashlight, high energy food that doesn't require cooking, water and road flares never hurt.


                      • #12
                        Hey, good advice, guys and gals, I'll bear it in mind next time I'm travelling, thanks.


                        • #13
                          One more thing I forgot. There are inexpensive personal alarms you can buy. I have one that emits a really irritating high pitched noise that will make you jump out of your skin. It cost me about $12. You can hook it onto a door latch in your hotel room and it will go off if the door is opened. You can also hook it to any item you are carrying, attaching it to some part of your person as well, so that if the item gets ripped from you the alarm will go off.

                          Hard to describe, but ask around.
                          Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                          Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                          A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1


                          • #14
                            Thanks, for everything. I will save this thread.

                            I may have a passenger traveling, i'll see when the time comes.

                            I've listened to audio books before, yeah i really like them. But i'm also big into music and have tons of CD's.

                            Yes i will have my route planned out by then. I will be stopping to visit people from this board also. And people i know from MySpace, and relatives. So everyone will know where i'll be most of the time. Yes i have a cell phone, and i read maps very well, and have ever since i was a kid.

                            I will take one route on the way to California - like a more southern route, and then a more northern route coming home. I'll be leaving from Jersey.


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