Every driver is at risk, but here are 7 ways to protect yourself and improve your odds of preventing carjacking.
Police officers and security professionals offer the following tips, which they say can significantly reduce the chance of your being carjacked.
Table of Contents
1. Keep Your Car Keys With You
Never leave your car without removing the ignition key and taking your key with you. If you have a key fob, never let it leave your sight. It only takes a few minutes for a carjacker to jump in and take off with your car.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s actually quite common for drivers to leave their car keys in the ignition while filling up with petrol. Or, if you’ve ever popped into a shop for a quick transaction and left the car running out front, you’re not doing everything you can to deter car thieves.
The best way to implement this safety measure is to make a habit out of always taking your car keys with you. Establishing a routine will protect you from forgetting someday.
2. Be Suspicious
If someone is approaching your car, your gut reaction should be one of total suspicion. They may want to ask for directions or sell you something, but in reality they could be trying to get you to open your window so they can steal your car.
Don’t roll down your car window when someone approaches your car.
If you are pulled over by an unmarked car and they claim to be police, don’t get out. Don’t even roll down your window! In fact, lock all your doors and use your mobile phone to call the real police.
If you are stopped and you can’t leave a bad situation, make a spectacle of yourself by honking the horn. Draw attention to your situation and the suspicious person might leave.
3. Be Alert
Sometimes just knowing about your surroundings can keep you safe. This is especially true when you are stopped for a traffic light. Look around, take in your environment using your vehicle mirrors, and stay alert.
Always keep your doors locked, even when driving. It’s a good idea to keep your windows rolled up, too (even the rear windows).
4. Mind Where You Stop Your Car
Be choosy when it comes to cash machines. Stay away from isolated cashpoints because that’s where car thieves can take advantage of there being nobody around to witness a crime or intervene.
On that note, don’t stop in any isolated areas, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. Even if you think nobody is around to steal your car, it’s better to play it safe and establish a personal protocol.
5. Don’t Provide Window Shopping for Thieves
Leaving your possessions laying about the interior of your car is an open invitation for thieves to steal them. Remove as much as you can from your car so there’s nothing there to entice would-be thieves. Don’t even store too much in the boot.
This goes for paperwork about your car ownership, too. Store those types of documents at home, except for what you’ll need if you’re pulled over by the police. In that vein, don’t leave private mail in your car, either, especially if it has your private address on it.
Also, don’t leave credit cards or debit cards in your vehicle (and of course no cash either).
You may even want to consider taking your navigation equipment with you when you leave your car. Some even take removable stereo equipment with them, too, as well as phones and laptop.
6. Look for ‘Park Mark’ Signs When Parking
Park Mark signifies that a car park has been approved by the police for safe parking. If you don’t find any Park Mark signs, use common sense. Isolated areas should not be your first choice.
As for parking at home, use your garage if you have one. If you don’t, park in a well-lit spot. Avoid spots that are concealed from the pubic eye.
7. Consider Window Etching
Did you know you can have your vehicle’s registration number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched on windows, headlamps, and any glass surface?
That can help the police identify and retrieve your vehicle if it does actually get carjacked and stolen.
To recap, it usually takes just a little common sense and alertness to prevent carjacking. Don’t park in isolated areas, don’t roll down your window for strangers approaching your car, and don’t invite opportunistic thieves by leaving valuables in your parked car.