Make no mistake about it – carjacking is a potentially violent theft of your vehicle that could cost you your life. It’s no time to be a hero, because – no matter how your vehicle is stolen – your auto insurance will cover your loss, which is why you need to keep your head, if confronted.
While highly sophisticated and supposedly impenetrable new anti-theft devices and alarm systems have made our cars more secure to theft from conventional thieves, they have unfortunately created a violent alternative to breaking into a vehicle – carjacking.
Often with a gun in hand, the carjacker will terrorize unsuspecting motorists to turn over their vehicle under the threat of physical harm to the driver. Then, they speed away, leaving their frightened victim behind to contemplate what just happened or, in some cases, have driven off with an infant in the back seat of the stolen vehicle. The emotionally distraught parent is left screaming and crying at the thought of never seeing their child again.
Regardless of the scenario, if you mishandle the situation, you can put your life and your passengers’ safety at risk, so knowing how to avoid becoming the victim of a carjacking can be valuable information.
First of all, are you more vulnerable than most people to be carjacked? Actually, coming face to face with an armed car thief depends on a number of factors, including the crime rate where you live or work.
But, there are ways to reduce the risk.;. Regardless of where you live, drive or park your car, be sure you know your surroundings. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), the most common locations for a carjacking are parking lots, shopping centers, gas stations, car washes, convenience stores, ATMs, hotels, valet parking, fast-food drive-thru, and outside of retail stores.
Another preferred location for carjackers is at an intersection with a stoplight. The carjacker typically surprises the driver by suddenly appearing and pulling open the unlocked drivers’ door, and forcing them out before making a quick escape. Again, he may not be aware of a young child being present in the commission of his crime.
If You’re Driving
• Be sure to keep your doors locked at all times. Set them to lock automatically.
• Driving with a visible passenger will usually deter a carjacker.
• Be aware of your surroundings. Travel freeways or well-lit surface streets.
• When stopping in traffic, leave extra space to allow for a quick escape of your own.
If stopped and your car is “bumped”
• Depending on where you are – especially at night – if you believe it was deliberate, do not get out of your car.
• If the other driver approaches your vehicle, do not unlock the doors. Ask them to follow you to a more secure location (such as a police station) to exchange information.
If you come face to face with a carjacker
• Stay calm. Don’t resist, argue or fight with the carjacker. Your vehicle can be replaced – you can’t.
• Under no circumstances should you accompany the carjacker. In such a case, do whatever you need to avoid it.
If you’re parked in your car
• Never park in dark, poorly-lighted areas.
• Always take a glance at the surroundings before exiting or entering your vehicle.
• Keep your car keys or FOB unit in hand. Be prepared to unlock your vehicle to enter it promptly, if necessary.
• Once inside, lock all doors immediately.
• If you notice someone loitering nearby, do not approach your vehicle.
• If you are still inside, do not exit your vehicle if someone is nearby whom you don’t recognize. Instead, drive away and find a safer place to park.
By following these simple rules you can reduce the chances of becoming a carjacking victim. And, by comparing companies for the best auto insurance rates, you can keep from paying too much for your coverage. Why not get a free auto insurance quote comparison today?
Have you or someone you know ever been the victim of a carjacking? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.