Unfortunately in today’s society, car- jackings are on the rise but you don’t have to feel helpless. Below are a few helpful hints to help you stay safe while in your vehicle.
The first thing you should remember is that car-jackers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and ages so don’t assume that car-jackers should look a certain way. They are clever characters and will use whatever method necessary – including holding you at gunpoint – to obtain your car, your valuables, and anything else they can get their hands on.
Stay alert whenever you enter or exit your car. Do not assume that you are safe just because you are in your own driveway. Many car-jackers will use this opportunity to take advantage of drivers thinking they are secure on their own property. Do not pull into your driveway if you think you’re being followed by a car you do not recognize. If it’s your neighbor down the street and you recognize their face through your windscreen then that’s OK, but it’s better to drive around the block to see if someone is indeed following you rather than risk getting car-jacked.
Keeping Windows And Doors Locked
Always keep your windows and doors locked when you are inside your car. The only time you can feel free to roll the window down is when you are driving on the highway at higher speeds, but once you stop or are about to stop, make sure your windows are rolled up. Car-jackers will take advantage of a driver whose window is already down and not hesitate to shove a gun against your head thus forcing you out of the car leaving all of your valuables behind.
Have An Escape Plan
Whenever you are stopped at a stop sign, intersection or a red light, always leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you. A good rule is to make sure you can see the entire back of the vehicle in front of you – including their tires. This will allow you to maneuver your car easily if you run into trouble and need to pull away.
Keep A Low Profile
Do not invite trouble by announcing to everyone – via non-verbal communication – that you have money. Ladies, hold your purses tight and if you can, place the purse straps across your shoulders or wear a back-pack style bag. If you walk to your car from a shopping center with a bunch of bags, then you are a target – especially if your purse is just dangling loosely from your hand. Try not to wear any flashy jewelry when running errands. Someone in the grocery store might notice how expensive your jewelry is and follow you to your car.
Always be alert when exiting your vehicle or walking to your car. Be on the lookout for anyone following you, someone loitering, or someone making idle conversation to distract you. Don’t assume that the person begging for money on the street is truly homeless; they are sometimes just using a ploy to get you to roll down your window before they car-jack you. The same goes for motorists who appear to be stranded on the side of the road. They, too, can be car-jackers so if you feel they really need assistance then call the police and tell them where you saw the stranded individual.
Avoid Carjacking Scams
Do not get into your car, start it, then exit the car while leaving the engine on – and all of your valuables in the car. Some scammers will place a flyer on your back window which they assume you won’t see until you start your engine. They’ll expect you to leave the car running while you exit the car and go to the back of the vehicle to remove the flyer, and voila – they can easily take your vehicle and all of your valuables while you stand there waving good-bye to all of your possessions.
Another trick car-jackers use is to bump into your car from behind or intentionally cause an accident. If you suspect foul play during an accident, do not get out of your vehicle. Instead call the police and wait until they arrive. Let them determine if the person who hit you is safe.
When frequenting a shopping center, movie theatre, or any other public place, be sure to park in a well lit area where there is high foot traffic.
Hide Your Valuables & Personal Items
Do not leave your purse, money, credit cards, jewelry, or even shopping items on the seat of your car. Always take your valuables out, but if you have no choice but to put them in your vehicle then make sure you lock them out of sight in the trunk. This goes for times when you are filling up your gas tank. Be pro-active. If you know you’re going to be stopping for gas, then make sure your bags and other valuables are put out of sight before you pull into the gas station. Thieves love to take advantage of any opportunity they can. Look tough and suspicious and don’t make yourself a victim.
Always make sure you have your cell phone on you; it’s no good if you leave it in your vehicle. And lastly, just be alert at all times. Making assumptions will get you into trouble so be on the skeptical side – it could save your life.
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