The United States is generally a safe country. However, crime does exist; exercising a little caution will go a long way to keeping you safe at camp and during your travels afterwards. With that in mind, please read and follow the advice below.
General Safety Tips
- Be careful when traveling alone at night. Avoid empty streets, subway stops, and bus stops. It’s also important to always know where you’re going.
- Walk in a confident and purposeful manner.
- Do not display large amounts of money or other valuable possessions in public.
- Do not leave valuables unattended.
- Be especially careful in railway and bus stations. These are often crowded and may attract pickpockets.
- Trust your instincts. Always err on the side of caution.
- Beware of potential scams, such as people bumping into you. This could be a way to distract you while your wallet is being stolen.
If you are interested in learning more about how to be safe while in the U.S., check out the National Crime Prevention Council.
Motorists in the U.S. are not always accustomed to sharing the road with bikes, so it is very important that you are cautious and alert when riding a bike. To ensure you stay safe while riding a bike, please read and follow this advice:
- In the U.S., bicyclists are considered vehicle operators and are required to follow and obey traffic laws, including stop signs and right-of-way rules.
- Always wear a helmet, even for short trips.
- Wear brightly colored clothing.
- Install reflectors and lights on the front and back of the bicycle, and always use lights at night.
- Avoid riding your bike at night if at all possible.
- Ride with the flow of traffic.
- Never ride on the highway or where there is not a bike lane or wide shoulder.
- Use hand signals so others can anticipate your actions.
- Check your tires, brakes, and gears regularly.
Motor Vehicle Safety
Every year, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in road accidents in the U.S. Keep safe by following these guidelines:
- Wear your seat belt at all times. It can save your life; it is also the law.
- Obey the rules and speed limits posted on the road. Visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website to learn about U.S. road signs.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The injury, damage, and legal consequences can be severe. The legal limit for alcohol is very low; even one or two drinks can put you over.
- Do not drive when you are sleepy. If you find yourself losing concentration, pull off the road, lock the doors of your car, and take a nap.
- Do not use your mobile phone while driving. Use of hand-held mobile phones is illegal in many places, and even if you have a hands-free device, talking on the phone is a distraction.
- Never text while driving. In addition to being extremely dangerous, it is illegal in most states.
- Be prepared for bad weather and treacherous roads.
- Watch out for pedestrians, motorcycles, and bicycles.
Important notes about driving in the U.S.:
- If traveling in the U.S. after camp, CIEE recommends that you use public transportation such as buses, trains, and planes whenever possible.
- If public transportation is not available and you choose to rent a vehicle, you must obtain the proper auto insurance that covers medical and liability requirements in your state.
- CIEE recommends purchasing more than the minimum requirement. Though it is more expensive, the coverage is essential if you are involved in an accident.
- Car rental companies may require an international permit in addition to your international driver’s license.
- Most car rental agencies will not rent an automobile to persons under 25 years of age.