Rest areas have been a part of the U.S. Interstate Highway System since its inception in the late 1950s. Travelers in finned Chevrolets and hybrid Toyotas alike pull off at the blue exit signs to stretch their legs and use the bathroom. The first policy statement on interstate rest areas, published in 1958, called them a "safety measure" that would provide "provisions for emergency stopping and resting by motorists for short periods." Today, some people see rest areas as anything but safe thanks to an increase in crimes like prostitution, vandalism, theft, drug dealing, panhandling, vagrancy and car-jacking at many locations. While this trend is worrisome, rest areas can serve as a safe and convenient pit stop for your family vacation if you follow a few common-sense tips.