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"Get In The Car"

By Christopher Caile

You can be very vulnerable when approaching your parked vehicle or waiting in your stopped vehicle. Here are 10 basic rules of car self-defense everyone should know.

Forcing you into a car, or attacking you once inside, are preferred methods used by child abductors, molesters, and rapists. So be careful when in a garage, parking lot or deserted area when going to your car – especially when alone.

Of course, you are always safer if you are accompanied by another person, so ask for an escort if your car in an isolated area. It is also safer if you are in a busy, well lit area, during the day, or in an area monitored physically be security personnel or cameras. Remember, predators don’t want extra company. It makes things more difficult and increases chances of being identified or detained. But if you are alone, and the environment less than ideal, here are a few things you can do to avoid problems or deal with them if they appear.

1-Even if the predator has a gun and tells you to get into a car, van or truck, don’t acquiesce. Instead, run. I know it’s scary, but the odds are with you. You are much more likely, I mean 90% more likely, to get hurt or killed if you do follow orders. If you run, the likelihood is that the abductor will just “get out of there, fast” instead of shooting, which will draw attention, identify his vehicle and maybe draw assistance. Even if a shot is fired, the chances of getting critically hurt are one in ten – good odds and a lot better than if you got in the vehicle.

2-When approaching or getting into your car, look out for possible predators. Watch for someone lingering behind you or near your car. Watch for a passenger sitting in a vehicle parked next to your driver’s side car door. The space between parked cars is narrow and often obscured from view of others – a perfect place for a stranger to suddenly take control. And if there is a van parked next to you, a door can be quickly opened to pull you in. If you find such a vehicle parked next to your driver’s side, enter your car from the passenger’s side. You may feel foolish doing this, but it could save your life.

3-Before getting into your car, check the back seat, especially the floor. If it is dark an attacker can easily hide there and attack or kill you once you have gotten inside your vehicle.

4-Once in the car, lock the doors. Too often people just sit for a while in their car after entering, arranging articles, eating or making cell phone calls. Without locked doors, you invite an attack.

5-If you are approaching your vehicle be especially sensitive to others who might need your help. This sounds counter-intuitive, but killers, adductors and rapists often use this technique. Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer, walked with a cane, limped and asked for help into his vehicle (where he abducted his victims). He seemed harmless. He was also good looking, well dressed and well spoken – someone who certainly didn’t look dangerous. He used this guise to gain sympathy of unsuspecting women – whose assistance made them vulnerable.

6-If you are in your car, in a parking lot, at a gas station, or just waiting for someone, keep your doors locked and windows up. Be careful of anyone approaching your car and trying to talk to you. If you roll down your window beyond a crack, you could put yourself in danger. A recent article (Your $5 Ma’am: An Approach By A Serial Killer) on FightingArts.com referred to a Lafayette, LA serial killer. It recounted a frightening incident where a women in her car, late at night, was approached at a gas station by a clean-shaven person who knocked on her window (after she had bought a few items inside) holding up a five-dollar bill to the window. He said, "You dropped this." Most people would think, “Oh, that is so nice of a person not to keep my money and to return it to me.” Luckily, however, the woman was suspicious and didn't open the window. The man then began pounding on the window and door as he shouted, insisting that she open the door and that she had dropped the bill. At this point she just drove away, a move that probably saved her life. Later, city officials said the perpetrator might have been the serial rapist loose in their city.

7-If you find yourself in a car with a stranger who threatens you or has a gun, don’t just drive off or follow his orders. First put on your seat belt if you can. Then, as you start to move forward, suddenly gun the engine and aim for something – a car, a building, a light pole, etc. Crash into it. You might get a little injured, but so will the attacker, especially if he is in the back seat, or next to you without a seat belt. Then open your door and get out of there and run if possible. This is a lot better than someone finding your mutilated body in a trash barrel or along side the road.

8-If you are forced into the trunk of a car, try to kick out a tail light of the car. If you can, push your hand out the hole and start waving. If you carry small portable flashlight, it can be held in your hand to gain attention. If there is a vehicle behind the car, you will be noticed. Punching out the taillight, however, can be difficult. You can try kicking one out. If that fails look for any hard, long object in the trunk that you can use as a tool. Often the trunk will contain a jack or other tools used to change tires. These can be used. There is also another possible alternative. If the attack was sudden, you might still be in possession of a cell phone. Call 911.

9-If you are heading to a parking garage in the basement, or moving between levels of a garage, use the elevator rather than the stairs, which are often deserted. And when using the elevator, be careful entering when there is another lone male there.

10-If you are stopped on the street and someone points a gun in your face through your car window and demands your car keys to car-jack your car – get out of the car and give them your key. Your life isn’t worth the risk of arguing with a gun. Don’t argue, and don’t fight back. You might feel that this makes it too easy for the perpetrator, but remember that the carjacker is nervous and scared too, which clouds thinking and causes quick anger and an emotional reaction -- pulling the trigger.


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About the Author:

Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com. He has been a student of the martial arts for over 43 years. He first started in judo. Then he added karate as a student of Phil Koeppel in 1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and then hitch-hiked eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama and later in the US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th degree black belt in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience includes aikido, diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo, kobudo, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student of Zen. A long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, he is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled extensively through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to Japan and Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their history and tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman, newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.


To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

car abductions, self defense, car self defense


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