You get in the car and close the door, and it seems like you’re insulated from the world. You feel safe, protected, and comfortable.
But are you?
Thousands of people are attacked in their cars every year, whether they’re just idly sitting or actually driving.
For example, actress Jaime King’s 4-year-old son was sitting in his car seat inside her Mercedes Benz in Beverly Hills. A stranger suddenly approached and attacked the car. The stranger smashed the windows, blanketing the boy with shattered glass.
Use these 5 tips to stay safe in your car.
1. Should You Be Sitting in Your Car?
If you’re in a public area, especially at night, determine if it’s really necessary to sit in your car.
Bad guys look for potential victims relaxing in their car who appear distracted or blissfully unaware. If you sit in your car outside a party or at the mall, and you’re looking at your phone, smoking a cigarette, or re-touching your makeup, you’re a prime target.
Sometimes it’s safer to find a place to sit inside a building where there are plenty of other people around. Why make yourself a target when a safer location may be just a few feet away?
If you opt to sit in your car, stay aware of who and what are around you. Don’t stare at your phone and become oblivious to your surroundings. Also, keep your doors locked. It takes just a couple seconds for someone to enter your car and incapacitate you.
It’s also a good idea to have some kind of weapon within reach. A simple weighted leather slapjack (“sap”) can be kept in the door pocket. It’s small and hidden, but it makes a very accessible and effective weapon when needed.
2. Keep Your Windows Up
Sometimes you want to keep the windows down to feel the refreshing breeze, but when you’re in a sketchy area, it takes but a moment for someone to reach in and attack you.
When you’re stopped at a red light or sitting in line at the bank drive-thru, keep the windows up. Again, why would you leave yourself open to a potential attack when it’s not necessary?
3. Install an Anti-Carjacking System
You stay late at work to finish your latest project, and relief overwhelms you as you finally complete it. “Finally, I’m done!”. Filled with relief, you walk to your car, and, out of nowhere, you feel the barrel of a gun pressing into your lower back. “Do what I say, or I’ll kill you!”, a voice demands.
What do you do?
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 38,000 Americans get car-jacked every year. As stealing cars becomes more difficult with the newer high-tech alarms and safety features, car-jacking becomes more popular, since it’s a faster and easier way to get control of someone’s car.
Installing a car-jacking prevention system can save your life and your car. With the press of a button or the flip of a switch, the car will be disabled, either immediately or after a certain period of time.
Some systems also come with a pain generator. This feature emits a high-pitched siren that is painful to hear, so the bad guy will want to get out and run away.
4. Don’t Let Strangers in Your Car“Don’t pick up strangers” is common sense these days, but bad guys have tricks that can cause you to go against your better judgment. They can use decoys who appear harmless that seem to be in distress to get you to pull over and give them a ride.
Sometimes they’ll use a young girl or a scantily-clad lady who looks like she just ran out of gas and simply needs a ride up the road to the gas station. Be smart. Don’t let any strangers in your car.
If you want to help, call 911 and request assistance. Very rarely will there ever be a pressing need for you to stop, open your door, and let them into your car.
5. Choose Your Parking Location Wisely
Everyone wants to get more exercise, and every health and fitness guru hands out the advice to “park far away and walk to the store/office/etc. to get in some extra exercise every day”.
When you’re out at night or walking through a parking lot, that is not the time to exercise. It’s the time to stay vigilant and park as close to the building (or wherever you’re headed) as possible.
Taking a stroll through a parking lot makes you a prime suspect for bad guys because it’s so easy to surprise you and knock you down. Once you’re down, you’ll be hidden below the sightline and tucked between the rows of cars. At that point, it’s very easy for the bad guy to rape, stab, rob, or otherwise harm you.
These 5 tips are common sense but knowing what to do is not the same as doing it. If you’ve never been attacked, it’s easy to think, “It’ll never happen to me”. As a result, you’ll be lax in implementing these simple actions.
Use the tips, and use them every day. You won’t be easy prey, and you’ll be much more prepared to react and protect yourself if a bad guy does come your way.