Car crime is a problem for most major urban centres across the world, and sadly Malaga is no exception. You may be surprised to learn that while focusing on getting their holidays off to a good and quick start, many people forget to take the same security measures that they would at home. Crime figures for Spain as a whole are relatively low compared to many other European countries, and our roads are also very safe; but car crime does happen, and with so many visitors to Malaga, especially in the height of summer, tourists can be an easy target.
Here at www.malagacar.com we have a commitment to customer service and communication, and we want to do everything we can to ensure your car hire experience is a pleasant, and most importantly, safe one. To that end, we’ve teamed up with our local law enforcement to supply some information that we strongly recommend you review and consider.
Get to grips with your vehicle:
Before you leave our Malaga office, make sure you’re familiar with the location of the car’s controls and safety equipment including lights, locks, signals, high-vis vest, spare tyre and warning triangles. The safety equipment must be carried by law in Spain and it’s for your protection.
Plan your route:
If you’re not familiar with the area, plan your route before you leave the office. Aside from being a dangerous distraction, nothing says ‘vulnerable’ like scrambling for a map whilst you’re on the road. To help you find the best way to your destination, book a GPS with your car or consult our handy route planner.
On the road:
Keep your windows and doors locked whenever you’re in the vehicle – driving or parked up. Closed windows also make the air-con more effective.
When you’re on your way, don’t stop for anyone by the roadside. If you witness an accident, or see someone in obvious urgent need then carefully approach and offer assistance. However if you feel vulnerable and you’re travelling alone, please make your way to the nearest services and inform a local person or the police. If you see a hitch-hiker or if anyone attempts to flag you down while you’re on the road – just ignore them and keep moving. Criminals are known to try a number of tactics to get a driver’s attention and encourage them to pull over. These include:
– Waving, pointing or sounding their horn to convince you there is something ‘wrong’ with your vehicle. In some case – there may well be. Thieves are known to slash tyres and follow the car to ‘inform’ the driver.
– Flagging drivers down to help with apparent breakdowns.
– Flashing lights at your car.
– Bumping from behind.
If you experience any of this, do not pull over or stop on the road. Make a note of the licence plate if possible and drive to the nearest well lit services or public place and call the police. If you feel safe where you are, check your vehicle.
Clear your car or lock up:
Do not leave any valuables, phones, GPS etc. in the car, especially overnight. If you have to leave any bags or luggage in your vehicle, make sure they are out of sight and in a securely locked boot or glove-box. In the event something is stolen from your car, your insurance may be invalid if not secured.
Head for the lights:
If you feel threatened, think you are being followed or you simply have to take a rest break, make sure you head for a well-lit, public place such as services or a restaurant. Ensure you lock your car and take your keys with you.
Try to park your car in secure, well lit parking places. Check for any CCTV and aim for it. Failing that, avoid isolated spots on the outskirts of car parks, and if you’re only making a quick stop, try to keep your vehicle in sight. Keep your keys with you at all times, and ensure you have them in your hand when approaching the vehicle.
Obviously, it’s not our intention to frighten or put anyone off driving around the region. The low-cost, freedom and convenience of car hire at Malaga are benefits that far outweigh any of the potential (and minimal) risks that anyone takes when getting behind the wheel of a car. Do you have any crime prevention tips you find useful? Please leave a comment below to share with us.