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Notary Bulletin

Notary Safety: Four Tips For Protecting Yourself On The Road

Driving-Safety-resized.jpgFor mobile Notaries traveling to unfamiliar locations, meeting total strangers and driving long distances, keeping safe on the road and at the assignment is always a top priority. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Travel Smart: From inclement weather to a popped tire, the open road offers ample opportunities for danger. Keep an emergency kit in your car containing water, a first aid kit, a flashlight and batteries, an extra phone charger, a blanket, jumper cables, a warm sweatshirt, and protein bars or other sustenance, just in case. The Allstate Blog offers a more detailed list of emergency items. Invest in a quality GPS system (or download a smartphone app) to prevent getting lost, and always make sure you have enough gas to get you to and from a signing. “Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained,” advises Daniel Lewis, Managing Partner at Lewis Notary Service, Inc. Get routine tune-ups and regular oil changes, and check your spare tire to ensure it’s in good condition. Prepare for each season by checking windshield wipers and toting an umbrella before the rainy season, stashing extra water during hot summer months, and keeping an ice scraper handy if you live in a harsh winter climate.

Make It Public: If you’re concerned about the safety of an unfamiliar location, take control by suggesting a neutral public space to conduct signings, such as a local coffee shop, library, university or café. Some Notaries schedule regular “office hours” at a public space. “If I feel uncomfortable, I suggest meeting at a café. Libraries are another public place that works well for notarizations,” says California Notary signing agent Jane Tierney.

Keep In Touch: Many signing agents say they let somebody know where they are and when they should return home. Alabama Notary Rosa Lateef says she tells signers that she is required to report her arrival and departure, and she always excuses herself to make a quick check-in call, which sometimes is to her husband.

Trust Your Instincts: All the planning in the world can’t protect you from unexpected danger, such as an aggressive signer, a frightening or hard to find locale, or an impending storm on the horizon. This is where instincts kick in. If something doesn’t feel right, trust the feeling. Call for help. Turn the car around. Reschedule a signing for daytime. And if need be, refuse the signing, explain why in your journal, and contact the assigning company right away. In the end, your safety is top priority.

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

 

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