Many years ago, in Mexico City, I was involved in an attempted carjacking.
I was driving my Volkswagen bug in Colonia Chapultepec during the noontime traffic madness when a man jumped in the front seat of my car. At the time, (1972), I had never even heard of something called a carjacking.
I didn’t even get scared. I just went into high gear. I turned the steering wheel back and forth. I jammed on the brakes repeatedly, hit the gas pedal numerous times and honked the horn nonstop. In other words, I alerted everyone around me that something was badly wrong. Many people thought I was a crazy person. Certainly the man who wanted my car thought so. In less than 2 minutes, he opened the door and jumped out into the traffic.
He couldn’t get out fast enough.
I went on with my day trying to get my errands done as quickly as possible. It never even occurred to me that I might have been in a life threatening situation.
That was then. Car jackings are totally different events now.
Mine was a typical reaction to an unsuccessful carjacking attempt. That’s why carjacking is one of the most under reported crimes out there.
If I find myself in a car jacking situation today, I’ll definitely do things differently. For one thing, I’ll be the one opening the car door and running for my life…not the carjacker.
Cars are much more valuable these days than the VW bug I drove back in the 60’s. Carjackers often have weapons today. These attackers are prepared to wound and kill to get the vehicle they want.
Your defense against a carjacker begins in advance of the event. So, think about how you’re going to protect not only yourself but anyone else riding with you.
Begin your defense by parking your vehicle in a well lit, highly populated public place if at all possible. Lock your doors when you leave the area. Keep your doors and windows locked at all times.
Pay attention to the vehicles around your car when you park. Don’t park near a van or other panel truck. And, when you return to your car, look at what vehicles are parked around your car. What people, if any, are in these cars? How easy is it going to be for one of them to pull open your door and force you out of your car and into a vehicle parked nearby?
As you walk to your car, if you see a person, look directly at that person and make solid eye contact. Get a good look of the person(s) around your car as you approach it.
Don’t be afraid to get a good look of everything around you and your car. Walk with purpose, keep your head up, and notice everything in the area.
As you walk out the parking lot, remote start your car, have your phone, your pepper/mace spray out and ready to use if needed. If your gut tells you something isn’t “right”, honor that feeling. Never ignore your abdominal brain!
Look to see if something or someone is under your car or one of the vehicles parked next to your car.
Not all carjackers take your car as you enter or leave a busy parking lot, gas station, car wash, ATM, fast-food restaurant.
Some carjackers will stage a minor accident to get you to pull out of traffic and stop. Once you pull over, you’re going to find yourself robbed of your car and it’s contents.
If you witness a minor accident on a road, don’t pull over and don’t roll down your windows. Instead, lock your doors and windows, call 911 and continue on.
When you drive and come to an intersection, stop with enough space between you and the vehicle in front, so that you can see the tires of the vehicle in front. This space will allow you the room to “get away” if you decide you suddenly need to leave the area.
If you find yourself in a situation where a thief is in your car with you, get out of your car as fast as you can! Throw your keys out the window away from the car in one direction, and you go in the other. If you have a child with you, grab your child and start running while yelling clearly “My child is in this car!”.
At this point, you don’t want to be in your car as your carjacker drives it way. You don’t want to be taken to another location. Avoid this.
I’ve referred to pepper spray, and mace. There are also other options: a knife, a stun gun, brass knuckles, a revolver. Whatever you choose, be sure you know how to use it. Take classes. Practice. Be prepared.
While you’re at it, take a self defense class. Paul LaCroix is my self defense teacher.
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