In this article, I’ll be talking about things we can do to prevent ourselves or our loved ones from being a victim.
(Image of armed carjackers attempting to attack Arsenal players Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac)
The most important aspect of avoiding being a victim is to Maintain situational awareness. (See Our blog post on situational awareness)
Here are some key points
- Pay attention to surroundings
- Look for anomalies in the environment
- Have a plan for if something goes wrong
We will further explore how to develop a ‘mindset’ that will specifically focus on being aware whilst in a vehicle. These will be broken down into bullet points for ease of reference.
- At traffic lights take a good look at those around you.
- Take a look at their posture, their vehicle and their passengers.
- Who could you carjack right then and there? Why?
- What did you see that would make you think jacking their vehicle would be easy?
- Now, think of yourself. Are you vulnerable to a carjacking?
It’s important to develop a driving mindset that includes paying attention to things around you.
- Have habits like locking your doors if your vehicle doesn’t do it for you automatically.
- Being vigilant while driving will help you become much safer overall on the road.
- Your vehicle can be used as a weapon.
- If there is no other option our vehicle could be used to save our life.
The points we have discussed will help “static:”*
situations. Vigilance is the key to not being ambushed while getting in and out of your vehicle.
*The definition of “static” in regards to vehicles, is being parked in a car park or outside of your house.
“Moving* in a vehicle is a more complex issue in relation to a carjacking. We will address several key points on what to do in this setting.
*”Moving” refers to being in transit on the roadway, which includes stopping in traffic due to traffic lights or traffic jams.
One of the huge advantages we have as a driver is the ability to quickly gain distance from someone on foot. One disadvantage we have is having to navigate obstacles like other vehicles and people. This is where mindset comes back into play and mentally rehearsing accelerating away from someone.
To gain distance and then speed, we need to make sure we give ourselves an “out” when slowed or stopped in traffic. By this we mean “vehicle spacing”. There are two things to consider when it comes to the distance we allow ourselves when slowing and stopping.
Specifically, do we close the distance to the vehicle in front of us or do we leave a gap?
Leaving a gap is going to be the best option in most cases. This is done by leaving enough distance from the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of us to be able to turn our wheels and drive around them. Typically, this is being able to see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of us. We also need to pay attention to other vehicles slowing or stopping around us.
We need to be able to look around and have an “out”.
Now that we have left enough space to drive out of a possible carjacking attempt, we need to be ready to do whatever is necessary to escape/drive away. For example, we may need to hit the cars around us to get out of a situation, or drive up a curb.
We have just covered a fraction of possible scenarios and evasive techniques which are too exhaustive to write about in this blog post.
Guardian Defence does offer specialist courses on anti-carjacking.
We will conclude with some common sense tips which we should always employ whilst in our vehicles.
- Lock doors whenever in a vehicle.
- Setting Mirrors. Adjust mirrors correctly to avoid blind spots. Purchasing convex blind spot mirrors is an option. These mirrors use double sided tape to secure to your outside mirrors and can be adjusted to see people approaching from the rear and sides.
- Windows – Tinting windows maybe another consideration, as it makes it difficult to see how many occupants are inside.
- We should also be conscious when we have our windows rolled down. It’s great to get fresh air but we may want to consider putting them up when we start slowing in traffic.
We hope this article will get us thinking about carjacking prevention and also help us become more observant drivers which in turn will make us safer drivers.
Please note that all of our Krav Maga Self Defence Classes and Courses are based in Manchester