After the carjacking near the Hobby Lobby in Woodbridge New Jersey a little over a week ago on Saturday, October 7th, it’s worth highlighting some safety tips when it comes to the subject:
Be aware of your surroundings.
Carjackers look for very specific opportunities when seeking out a victim, specifically, any time you’re stopped or slowing down.
- Gas stations
- Car washes
- Parking lots
- Parking decks
Getting in or out - lock up.
As soon as you enter or exit your vehicle, lock yourself in. Do yourself a favor and keep your windows shut whenever you stop or slow down.
Avoid driving alone (especially at night).
We know this is not always feasible, but whenever it’s possible, grab a buddy for the dark drive.
Give yourself room to escape.
Whenever you’re stopped, slowed or idling around other vehicles, give yourself enough car space to maneuver your way out, should you be accosted by a would-be carjacker.
Hide your stuff.
Keep anything valuable out of sight. Use your trunks, center consoles or glove boxes to stash items that may attract theft.
Avoid getting stranded.
This seems obvious, but there are some common sense actions you can take to avoid an unexpected stranding.
- Keep your gas tank full. Don’t allow it to go below 3/4 of a tank. Your gauge may not be as reliable as you think. And you never know when traffic will strike, leaving you with less gas than you planned for.
- Maintain your car. Oil changes, tire checks, etc - these steps can keep you moving - and from becoming a stranded target.
Be alert during minor accidents.
Some vehicles are intentionally struck to force you to stop. Use caution. If you have any suspicion this may be the case, flag the driver and head to the nearest well-lit, highly-populated area - or better yet - the closest police officer. This is a completely reasonable action to take, especially if you’re in a remote place, dark area or desolate highway.
Use parking wisdom.
The safest places to park are well-lit, heavily populated areas. Try to avoid parking in dark spots or near dumpsters, big vehicles or other obstacles that may conceal you, your car or limit your visibility.
Don’t argue with the bad guys.
If you are approached by a would-be carjacker, give up the car. Your life is more valuable than a vehicle. If you’re seated in your car and it’s idling, some officers advise you to deliberately crash into a stationary, inanimate object to create a distraction and draw attention to yourself. Get away as soon as you can. If possible, get a description of the carjacker so you can provide to police.
Know your car.
Make sure you know your car’s make, model and license plate. Any helpful identifiers will make it easier to track down your car later.
While we sincerely wish that no one ever has to plan for such an incident, we value your safety and want you informed. These tips may serve to save you someday. For more info on the subject, the Millburn Police Department has created a helpful guide for Carjacking Safety. Find it here.