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Illustration by iStock; Security Management

Q&A: Developing a Primer for Road Travel Safety

When your colleagues are about to hit the road, what do they need to know to stay safe? As director of security, Americas, for International SOS, Jeremy Prout, CPP, provides travel security assistance and assessments for clients in the Eastern United States. Security Management reached out to Prout to figure out how to develop a primer for staff—either security or other—traveling on the road, including what to look into before a trip, how to stay on top of developing risks, and how to safely outsourcing road transportation when necessary.

The following conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Security Management (SM). What are the local conditions of a destination that should be researched that might impact road travel?

Jeremy Prout, CPP. When it comes to local ground transportation, look at the composition and disposition of the main surface roads. Are they dirt or asphalt? How well are they maintained? Does the threat environment change at certain times of the day? Are there roadblocks or restrictions on movement?

Also research likely weather impacts, which can be due to localized storms or seasonal rains or snow that can impact the trafficability of roads.

SM. What resources can assist in determining these conditions or other impacts on road travel?

Prout. Speaking with a reputable provider about the road network can help you understand what risks are posed through ground transportation. Also ask that provider about options to mitigate the risks.

It helps to map out your route beforehand, including determining your rest plan for long haul trips.

SM. How can a traveler or his or her security detail maintain awareness of these issues while traveling?

Prout. Before embarking on your journey, it is also essential to look into local news outlets to gauge the weather conditions. It can be helpful to have local alerts sent to your phone for timely notifications of quick changes in the weather that can affect your travel.

Related alerts can be generated by utilizing a security provider or a public app that provides regular updates on weather, traffic, and changes to the risk environment.

SM. What factors go into deciding whether to drive or use a car service, such as a taxi or an Uber?

Prout. Understand the rideshare requirements for vehicle safety in your destination. This can vary by country, creating conditions where older, personally-owned vehicles may be used—vehicles that may not need to adhere to the same safety regulations as a traveler’s home country. Depending on the destination, a more reputable car service may be required, including having an air-side pickup in higher risk destinations when arriving at the airport.

SM. If a driver is hired, at what point does the company providing the driver need to be vetted?

Prout. Typically, medium-risk environments and above should trigger the vetting of ground transportation providers. The greater the level of risk to travelers who are traveling by roads, the more preparation that needs to go into the process. 

SM. It’s not always easy to get non-security personnel to support security initiatives. What should be communicated to the traveler to encourage security buy-in, instead of seeing security measures as an inconvenience?

Prout. Educate and inform. Speak specifically to employees about the risks associated with ground transportation and the need for road safety. Storytelling is a good way of communicating these risks, especially when dealing with higher risk environments. There are plenty of anecdotes around express kidnappings, road accident scams, and everyday incidents that can educate the individual on the importance of this issue.

Sara Mosqueda is associate editor for Security Management. Connect with her on LinkedIn or X, @XimenaWrites.