It’s hard to imagine that someone would willingly steal from a complete stranger, but it happens every day. A car is parked on the street one evening, like it is every evening, and the next morning it’s gone. All that remains of the vehicle is shattered glass. Here’s hoping the person whose vehicle was stolen has some decent car insurance rates, right? But what happens if you see the car jacking as it’s happening? What do you do? What can you do? CoverHound is here to help. Read on for the do’s and don’ts of stopping and reporting a car jacking.
Stolen Vehicles: By the Numbers
In 2014, close to 700,000 motor vehicles were stolen in the United States. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that a car is stolen every 46 seconds. Think of the number of hours you leave your car parked out alone in the parking lot or on the street. Without even realizing it, you and unsuspecting drivers are at risk of having your vehicles stolen. But if you’re walking back to your car and you notice someone trying to break into it, what do you do?
1. Areas to Avoid
The top 5 areas most likely to experience carjackings are:
− High-crime areas
− Rural areas
− Residential areas
− Isolated areas
This means that as a motorist you must be ever vigilant in knowing your surroundings and being aware of others around you. Always park under a lamppost, and make sure you are parked in a highly visible area. Carjackers are less likely to try and steal a car that is parked in an oft-used area. If you can’t avoid parking in any of the above spots (and sometimes you really just can’t) you can try circling the lot or area again for a better spot. If one does not appear, then you will have to settle for the parking spot you don’t want.
Sources differ in their advice on how to best handle a carjacking. Some say to go on the defensive and fight back, while others say hand over the keys and move away from the car. How you respond depends on the type of the attack by the aggressor.
2. How to respond to the aggressor
If the aggressor is agitated and brandishing a weapon you need to give up the car and get away from the scene as quickly and safely as possible. Do not make any sudden movements, and comply with their demands. If they demand you remain in the vehicle and drive, drive into the nearest lamppost, fire hydrant or other landmark. This will bring public attention to you and harm your attacker. Your attacker will most likely not have buckled their seatbelt, and the car accident could send them flying through the windshield and away from you. Remember, this is a self defense tactic.
3. Call the Police
After your car has been stolen make an immediate call to 9-1-1. When the responding officer arrives, give them every detail of the event, including where the carjacker turned as they made their getaway and what they looked like.
You may or may not get your car back after a car jacking, but the right type of car insurance can get you back in saddle the again. Click here to learn more about car insurance rates and offers with CoverHound.