Self Defense and Safety in Your Vehicle
This is the introductory paragraph that all the "experts" say I should include to introduce you to the subject of the blog. I'm also supposed to add a personal story here to make the blog feel more -- I don't know-- personable or relatable or something. But, if you're like me, you want to get strait to the good stuff. So, here it is.
The first thing to do when you get in your car
LOCK the doors! Don't wait until you buckle up or start the car. Don't arrange your purchases in the seat next to you. Don't check your makeup. Just lock your doors and leave.
Unlocked doors put you in a very vulnerable position. Bad guys can pull you out and take your car or, worse, jump in and force you to drive them somewhere.
Keep all doors locked at all times
Your car doors should always be locked whether you are in or out of your vehicle.
When you're in your car, it will keep thugs from jumping in when you are stopped at an intersection or any other place where your car is stationary.
When you are out of your vehicle it keeps thieves from stealing your stuff and/or your car. It also keeps predators from hiding in the back seat where they can take you by surprise.
Related Content: 4 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim... Parking Lot Safety
When stopped in traffic
Leave space between you and the vehicle in front whenever you stop in traffic. It gives you room to pull around the vehicle or do a u-turn to get away if necessary. For instance, if a stranger approaches your car and tries to get in or is behaving suspiciously, you can drive off.
Be aware of what's going outside your vehicle. Look for someone getting out of the cars in front, beside and behind you, plus anything else that appears suspicious. Use your rear-view and side-view mirrors as well as keeping your head on a swivel.
What if a "helpful" person is indicating to you that your tire is flat? Don't pull over. Don't hang around. Go to the nearest police station, service station or other safe area. Then check your tire. The "helpful" person could be trying to get you out of your car so they can steal it, and/or kidnap you.
If you think you're being followed, don't drive home. They could grab you before you can get to your front door. Or, they can wait until another time because now they know where you live.
Instead, make four right (or left) turns in a row (basically, going around the block). If you're on the freeway, exit and then re-enter the freeway. If the car stays with you, head to the nearest police station or other safe place and report them.
If you see a police car, honk and flash your lights to get their attention. If you are in a deserted, area, call the police and ask them to meet you somewhere.
Related Content: I Think I'm Being Followed! What Should I Do?
The "Bump and Jack"
A "bump and jack" is when a car rear-ends or "bumps" the car in front of them. When the driver gets out to check the damage, a carjacker jumps in the car and takes off with it.
If you get "bumped," don't immediately get out of the car. First assess the situation. Is the area isolated? Are you alone in the car? Do the people in the other car seem suspicious or make you feel uneasy? If so, drive to a police or fire station or any other safe area. Call 911 and let them know what's happening.
If you do decide that it's safe to get out of your car, take your keys with you and lock your doors. And remain aware.
It's easy to become totally focused on your child when dealing with a car seat. Those buckles can be a pain to open and close. And if the child won't cooperate, it's that much harder.
It's no wonder people end up so focused on the car seat that they forget to pay attention to their surroundings!
Before putting a child in a car seat, take a good look around to see if anyone is lurking nearby. Remember to look around from time to time as you are struggling with the buckles.
Paying attention to your surroundings will make you a less desirable target for thugs. And it gives you time to react if you spot danger.
Alternately, you could get in the back seat with your child, lock the doors, and then deal with those blasted buckles.
Avoid Road Rage
You're driving to work and some stupid driver cuts you off.
Instead of letting it go, you get mad. This guy needs to be taught a lesson! First chance you get, you pass him while flipping him off. You cut in front of him. It makes YOU feel better. But now HE's mad. (He may not have even realized that he cut you off. As far as he's concerned, you're the rude one.)
Like you, the other driver wants to get even. Unlike you, the other driver is crazy. He follows you. You get to work and get out of your car. He gets out of his car. He approaches you. You think it's just going to be some shouting and profanity. Nope. He doesn't say a word. He just stabs you.
You're in the hospital in critical condition. But hey. At least you taught him a lesson.
Related Content: Road Rage: Is "Saving Face" Really Worth Dying For?
Flat tire in a dangerous neighborhood? Drive on your rim. A new rim is a small price to pay to avoid a violent encounter.
And, finally, never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever leave your keys in your car. Ever. 'Nuff said.