Editor-in-Chief’s Note: Each year in the United States, there are over 30,000 carjackings; many of them brutal, violent and over within a few seconds. While it may seem impossible to guard against attacks like these, Contributor Wyatt Knox has offered some simple steps below to keep yourself and your loved ones out of harm’s way.
Keep A Full Tank
Keep your gas tank full and fill your car only at well-lit, busy gas stations that have video surveillance. Always fuel up before traveling through any high-risk areas.
Be Aware Of What’s Around You
Be fully aware of what’s going on around you. Most drivers only look out of the windshield, whereas you really need full 360 degree situational awareness. Carjackers know your blind spots and often use them; if they make it to your window, it’s too late.
Stay On The Move
Keep moving if you sense a potential threat. The police will understand you running a light or stop sign to avoid a carjacking and a traffic ticket is always better than an ambulance ride or worse.
Always Leave An Out
If you do need to stop, always leave yourself an out. Park well behind the car in front of you so you have room to maneuver around it if necessary.
When In Doubt, Reverse
When in doubt, reverse out. The quickest way to put distance between yourself and an attacker may often be in reverse. High speed backing can be tricky, as your car will be rear-steer, so find a safe place to practice reverse driving.
Don’t go to Detroit. There are three times more carjackings in Detroit than New York City, which has ten times Detroit’s population. Even Detroit Police Chief James Craig was the victim of an attempted carjacking while in his cruiser.
Beware Of Fake Accidents
Carjackings often involve fake accidents and carjackers often even bump into their target car, then take it by force when the driver gets out to exchange information. If you sense this is the case, keep moving and call the accident in to the police explaining your actions.
Don’t Be Fooled By Flashing Headlights
Carjackers have historically flashed their lights or waved drivers down as if something was wrong with their vehicle and taken it by force once the driver stopped. Keep moving and check your car in a known safe place if you think something may really be wrong.
Avoid Being Boxed In
If you sense someone is trying to box you in or bring your vehicle to a stop, again do your best to keep moving. If you are forced to a stop, get into reverse quickly and separate yourself from the threat.
Windows Up, Doors Locked
Keep your doors locked and windows up through high-risk areas.
When All Else Fails, Give The Vehicle Up
If your best efforts fail and a confrontation occurs, it’s historically safer to give up the vehicle than attempt resisting.
Editor-in-Chief’s Note: Wyatt was the 2011 2-Wheel Drive US Rally Champion, former lead instructor at the Team O’Neil Rally School and is now racing internationally as well as doing private instruction and coaching.
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