While preparing for a disaster is a wise investment, it’s important that we remember the little things in life that are far more likely to happen to us. Learning how to handle a house fire is arguably better than stockpiling water. There remains one topic that is far more likely than you may think: carjacking.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 34,000 carjackings take place every year, with 45% of them succeeding. About 3/4th of them are done with the use of a weapon. They’re unfortunately common. Here are a few things to keep in mind so that you can be prepared for if it happens to you.
Common Carjacking Tricks
Despite TV and video games, random people won’t just run up to you while you’re driving and pull you out of your car. They use some tricks to get your attention first.
They Need Help. This could be anything from “my boyfriend is harming my daughter, can you please come stop him” to stopping you for directions. They may then direct you somewhere. Once you’re in place, they’ll act.
They’ll Bump Your Car. A traffic accident is a good way to get someone to stop, pull over, and get out of their car to talk to the hitter and assess the damage. That’s when they’ll strike.
Faking a Broken Down Car. They’ll use the scenario to ask for help with their car, you get out to take a look and bam, they’ve got you at gunpoint.
Following You to Your Car. Instead of getting you out of your car, they’ll stop you before you get in. This is most common at night when someone is getting off work.
Each trick has one similarity, they want you stopped, and preferably out of your car. Using situational awareness, you can prevent someone from getting the upper hand on you. If you see one of these situations, practice mindfulness before stopping to react. Which leads us to the next topic.
How to Handle a Carjacking
Let’s say you are caught in one of these scenarios, an assailant is threatening you for your keys and your car. Here are a few things you can do to get out o the situation ok.
Press the Panic Button. Making lots of noise will draw outside attention, this will often deter attackers. They’ll run once they know they can no longer commit the crime safely.
Run away. Seriously, a stab wound to the kidney is far more lethal than a lost car. Your life is the most valuable item you have, don’t gamble it on your vehicle.
Fight. Only do this if you can’t run, and they do NOT have a weapon. But if you’re feeling ballsy enough, fighting back could be enough to deter them from committing the crime. Bonus points if you’re someone that practices constant carry for pocket pepper spray.
The best way to prevent a carjacking is to practice safe, well-lit vehicle habits. Stay smart, Stay safe, and all that. But if it happens to you, there are options to getting out of it alright.