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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.



Add your comment

Janis Bottorff

10 Oct 2014

I am located in a somewhat remote area and have had loan closings in Death Valley which has no cell service. I do have a CCW as a backup; however, although signing companies specifically say not to bring anyone with you, on such trips I do take a companion who stays in the car while I meet with the signer(s). I also make sure someone know where my appointments are and how long I anticipate the appointment to take.

Diana Bendickson

16 Mar 2015

I always use my personal safety app on my phone. This is a must have tool when you are a notary or real estate broker that meets with people they don't know all the time. To find out more go to This tool may help deter situations like this from happening. I do applaud her for remaining calm. It takes guts to complete the signing in that situation.

david phipps

16 Mar 2015

Ashley was in danger for her life and she should have called the Police. Instead of worrying about her relationship with the Title Co. she should be concerned that this person is a real danger to society. There are no excuses for her. She should have done the right thing.


16 Mar 2015

Truly God was with you. I am glad to hear that everything went well, it pays to be calm. Please remember when it's late and dark try to schedule your closing in a local spot. Be Blessed

06 Apr 2015

I did not complete the survey because I have not had any of these experiences, my first thoughts, instincts are to be sure I am safe, my family is aware of where I am going. I choose places that are public. Also, what I have done is to survey the area I am going to. I would think when you advised the title company, if you did, their concern was "did you get the document signed" That should let you know how you should be sure you are safe in all appointments. I have set up notary appointments at my church. I advise them of who will be coming and how long I will require a room. To all Notaries, please keep yourself and your family safe and only you can do that. I mention family because if an incident happens, your identification is compromised. Be Safe.


06 Apr 2015

My husband travels with me at night or on long distance signings. I now have a few areas that I just won't go into that I feel are questionable. I have never felt threatened just highly uncomfortable in my surroundings at times. I have suggested a coffee shop or restaurant several times. My safety is NOT worth a signing!!!!!

Anthony D. Harrison

16 Apr 2015

I have attended closings at locations that were totally off the grid. Being formal law enforcement, I'm comfortable were ever I may go however everyone is not as fortunate. I have a fellow notary female friend who has assignments at night and out of the way. I would ride with her and stay in the vehicle while the closing is taken place. Granted the title companies frown on this however the safety of an individual is more important.

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