Heading out on the open Australian highway in one of our vehicles can be a beautifully liberating experience. With your open road map, the whole East Coast becomes another world, promising great adventure and endless possibilities. You'll be lost in your own sense of wonder, so it can be difficult to remember that, unfortunately, opportunistic thieves can operate around any shadowy corner, just waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting explorer who even momentarily lowers their guard.

Luckily, there are simple measures that you can take to ensure that you stay safe out on the road. By following this guide, you can take great peace-of-mind knowing that you've done all you can to protect yourself, your family and your possessions from those pesky bandits and modern-day highwaymen stalking Australia's roads.

The key to the kingdom

Thanks to the use of immobilisers and more advanced technology, the act of stealing a car itself is on the wane. Gone are the days when would-be burglars would simply have to break a car window and 'hot-wire' their way to a sharp exit. They'll need the actual key, so it's of paramount importance to keep it in a secure place at all times. It can make thieves' sordid intentions far more difficult to carry out if they don't possess this shiny little instrument.

Through the looking glass

Leaving valuable items in plain view in your car – phones, tablets, cameras – the goods found on many an adventurer's itinerary – is just begging for trouble. You may as well stick a big, neon sign on your car, complete with a flashing arrow, screaming 'STEAL ME!' The lesson here is simple – don't leave anything of even modest value on display in your car.This is an old piece of advice but one that has stood the test of time, and for good reason.

The hitchhiker's guide to robbery

Australia is a haven for travellers – you'll find people of every race, creed and background exploring every nook and cranny of this vast land. Some choose to go by car, others by train. Some, though, walk their way – either by choice or necessity. Hitchhikers are a common sight on our roads, and, though most of them have honourable intentions, there are the odd few that want nothing more than your wallet, phone or camera. The golden rule here is not to pick up hitchhikers under any circumstances. You've seen The Hitch-Hiker, right? Think Deliverance on steroids.

Strike a light

On a related note, you shouldn't stop if a passing car indicates that you have a defect with your car – a light out, a wonky hubcap. Sometimes these actions can be genuine, but a favoured tactic of car criminals is this attempt to get you to pull over, leaving you at their mercy. It's best to wait until you reach a service station, under the lights and with other motorists around, so you can find out for yourself whether their actions were sincere or not.

Give it up

It's imperative to yield if a thief demands that you hand over your possessions, especially if they are armed. Your life and safety are far more important than any material possessions – these can be replaced, in time. Your life can't.

Of course, these tips all fall under basic common sense. As long as you remain aware and alert, then you should have nothing to fear as you travel Australia's roads. We want you to have the greatest and most fulfilling journey possible in our hire cars, and with all the sights, sounds and smells that Australia can offer, we are sure that you will do just that. Just ensure that you keep your wits about you, and above all, take care.