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THE SAFETY ZONE | TODAY'S TIPS

A Safe Holiday Season Is a Happy Holiday Season

November 27, 2000

ATM Safety

With the holiday season upon us, people will be hitting their automated teller machines more than normal to pay for those gifts. Police officials said a disproportionate share of ATM robberies occur at machines located at building corners. These corners create blind areas from which an assailant can sneak up on a customer, officials said. ATMs nearer the middle of a wall are safer.

Here are some more tips for using automated teller machines from the Los Angeles Police Department:

* Avoid ATMs blocked by shrubbery, landscaping, signs or other barriers that might serve as hiding areas for assailants.

* Choose well-lighted ATMs.

* Be aware of your surroundings during the entire transaction.

* Memorize your personal identification number, or PIN, rather than writing it down.

* Keep your transaction receipt rather than throwing it away at the ATM.

* Make sure you are not being followed when you leave the ATM.

* Comply with demands if confronted by an armed robber.

Holiday Driving

The CHP has a checklist for holiday drivers that can help them eliminate some of the risk associated with winter trips:

* Start early--especially if you have a long drive ahead of you.

* Share driving duties among several people so no one person has to do all the driving.

* Never, ever mix alcohol and driving. Make sure your driver is sober and make sure your friends and family members don't drive after drinking.

* Make sure everyone in your vehicle uses a safety belt or rides in a child safety seat--no exceptions.

* On a long trip, take short breaks at least every hour or so to refresh everyone in the vehicle, especially the driver.

* Keep an eye on your speed. Speed limit signs assume good weather with light traffic and clear visibility. If these aren't the conditions you're driving in, slow down.

* Leave at least three seconds between you and the vehicle ahead. This gives you adequate time to react and avoid anything that happens in front of you. If other motorists pull in between you and the car ahead, slow down until that "space cushion" is reestablished.

* Be considerate of other motorists. Give merging vehicles the space to enter the highway safely; signal when turning and before changing lanes; move over and let faster traffic pass.

* For road information and safe driving tips go to http://www.chp.ca.gov.

Sources: Los Angeles Police Department; California Highway Patrol.

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