Carjackers act fast, but they’re not looking for fights! This victim practiced good Active Self Protection to protect himself and his passenger from very dangerous carjackers.
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Original video of the carjackers is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
What does this prepared victim teach us about defending ourselves against carjackers?
- I can’t believe how often I have to say this, but LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS. When you get in the car, lock the doors. If your car automatically unlocks the doors when you put it in park or shut the engine off, read your owner’s manual and change that setting. Your car door is a great barrier to keep between you and any potential carjackers, so keep it locked for your safety! Your order of operations should be get in the car, lock the doors, start the car, seatbelt on, drive off.
- One of the best ways to protect yourself from carjackers is to simply drive off. The car can get away quickly if you are ready, taking you out of danger. So be ready to drive off if you need to! Keep the car in drive until you’re ready to get out. Keep the engine running. If you’re aware of your surroundings you can escape a lot of problems.
- Your car can be used as a very effective force multiplier if you are willing to use it against carjackers. While a handgun might deliver 300-500 ft-lbs of energy, a car delivers on the order of 200,000 ft-lbs of energy at 40mph. (calculate your car’s KE here: https://get-asp.com/swon if you’re a nerd like me!) Being behind the wheel with a deadly threat in front of you also puts the engine block between you and the threat; engine blocks are effective cover. It makes sense to use your car if you are in it to defend yourself.
- Cars are constant transitional spaces, as these carjackers show. When they are moving, they’re really not, but when standing still your car is a likely place of attack. When you’re getting in or out, your awareness generally suffers because you’re distracted, providing carjackers and muggers with opportunity to ambush you. When approaching the car when it’s parked in public, it can be used as a hiding place as well. When you’re stopped at a light you have a highly valuable commodity (the car itself) and can be ambushed and carjacked. Recognize the increased risk your car brings and keep your awareness high!
- In almost all instances and jurisdictions you cannot use deadly physical force to defend property. (Texas is the rare exception to this, but recognize that TPC 9.42 has some significant limitations) Even in cases where you COULD use deadly physical force to defend property, it’s worth considering whether it is WISE to use deadly physical force because of the risk to yourself and to any bystanders that could come because you choose to continue to engage the criminal(s). That doesn’t usually apply to occupied buildings and cars because of the inherent value of the people inside of them, and the defense of property does vary considerably from state to state as to what’s acceptable. Please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction to be sure that you understand the laws of your area! These carjackers were a threat to the life of the person inside, so deadly force was completely justified here.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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