What to do in the event of a carjacking

There are many ways to stay safe while on the road, such as always wearing your seat belt and keeping your doors locked at all times. But what can you do to prevent a carjacking? (h/t to UrbanSurvivalSite.com)

A carjacking is defined as the theft of a vehicle from a driver or owner “by force or intimidation.” Carjackers may threaten drivers using a weapon, and they may resort to physical violence.

When disaster strikes, people will be desperate to take your car by force to escape a disaster scenario. Here are some ways on how to avoid getting carjacked, and what to do when someone attempts to steal your vehicle.

7 Tips to avoid being carjacked

Stay away from certain areas.

The best way to prevent a carjacking is to steer clear of areas where they are most likely to happen.

Carjackings usually occur in these locations:

  • Areas where traffic is at a standstill
  • High-crime neighborhoods
  • Mostly empty parking lots
  • Near banks and ATMs
  • A residential driveway on a quiet day
  • Traffic lights, stop signs, etc.
  • Urban areas

Since you can’t avoid most of these areas for long, you need to be on your guard at all times.

Improve your situational awareness.

Situational awareness refers to “being in the present moment and actively observing your surroundings.” Even if you’re at a red light, resist the urge to check your phone. Carjackers may take advantage of any distraction, and the last thing you need is to make it easier for them to steal your car.

Always look around your vehicle and check all your mirrors. This makes it easier to spot a carjacker before he gets too close. If you can see them approaching, you’ll have a better chance of escaping.

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Be wary of people following you

Carjackers usually plan their attack, and they may watch or follow you for a couple of minutes from a distance before they make a move. Avoid this by keeping an eye on the cars behind you.

If you notice someone following you, even if they’re several cars behind, confirm if they’re tailing you by taking four right turns. Doing this means you drive in a complete circle and end up where you started. If they’re following you, they’ll drive in the same direction.

Once you confirm that you’re being followed, head to a public place and park as close to the entrance as you can. This can scare the carjacker away. Do the same thing if someone’s following you on foot. They could be following you to your car. Try to lose them, and if you can’t, find a police officer and ask for help.

Leave plenty of space around your car so you can escape easily.

When you’re on the road, keep plenty of distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. If you can see the rear tires of the car in front of you, you’re far enough to escape. You should also leave space around your car by staying in the center lane so carjackers can’t box you in.

Keep your distance even if you’re on the move. Carjacking can still occur even if you’re moving slowly since you won’t be expecting an attack while you’re driving.

Lock your doors and windows.

Make it a habit to lock your doors the minute you get inside your car, and keep the windows closed.

Stay alert.

Get your keys out before walking to your vehicle so you don’t waste time searching while a suspicious person approaches. Before getting into your car, check the back seat. Some carjackers won’t be able to hot-wire your car so they’ll hide in the back until you get in so they can steal your keys.

Park in a brightly lit area near the entrance.

Carjackers will pick other targets if you stay in a well-lit, busy area.

Common carjacking strategies

  1. Bumping or hitting your car. When working in pairs or groups, some carjackers will pretend to hit your car. When you pull over to assess the damage, they will attack you. If your car got hit and you feel that it’s somewhat suspicious, stay in your car and call 911 immediately. If they can see that you’re already calling someone, they may switch to an easier target.
  2. Following or hiding until you reach your car. Carjackers will go for an easy target. Practice situational awareness and park in a well-populated and brightly lit area to avoid this.
  3. Pretending to need help. Carjackers will attempt to get your guard down by pretending to need help. They may pretend to need help with their car, or they could pretend to ask for change so you’ll roll down your window. Be cautious even when you’re on the road.

5 Tips to help you survive a carjacking

You can’t always tell what will happen in an event like this, so you need to know what to do when you’re dealing with carjackers.

Press the panic button.

A lot of key fobs come with a panic button that will make your car honk or trigger an alarm. Pressing the panic button can send a carjacker running. If your car doesn’t have one, hire a professional to install a car alarm.

Run away.

If you’re on foot and an armed carjacker tries to take your car as you’re getting in, just drop your keys and run. According to statistics, you have a greater survival rate if you try to escape. There’s no need to attack you if they already have your car keys.

You can replace a lost car, but you only have one life.

They might also force you to get into the car at gunpoint, but run away if you can. If you comply with their demands, they might still hurt you. If you escape, you have a chance of surviving the encounter.

If you’re driving with young children, stay with them and wait for another chance to run away.

Crash your car.

If a carjacker forces you to drive your car, crash your vehicle on a busy road or at a busy intersection. Before you do this, however, make sure you’re buckled in, so you stay safe as long as the crash isn’t too severe. If the carjacker isn’t buckled in, they’ll most likely be injured.

Even if the carjacker isn’t injured, chances are he’ll flee from the vehicle instead of staying and risk getting caught by the police.

Put up a fight.

This option is a last resort and you must only attempt it if the carjacker is unarmed. If you fight back, he might change his mind about stealing your car.

You have a better chance of winning this fight if you have a weapon, but it must be within easy reach of the driver’s seat. This is one reason why the glove compartment isn’t the best place to hide a weapon.

Keep your weapon anywhere that you can easily grab it, but don’t attempt to get it if the carjacker is armed to avoid getting attacked.

Turn on your phone’s location tracking.

Turning on your phone’s location tracking feature allows your family and friends to know where you are. If they can’t reach you and they notice that you’re in an unusual location, they can at least call the police. You can also use an app that allows people to track you at all times.

Preppers know that carjackings are more common than disaster scenarios. Stay safe by following the tips above and be alert at all times.

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