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October 15, 2007

Don’t Be Taken For A Ride: Safety Tips To Live By!

Shock Life is full of unexpected surprises. Some of them are fun and thrilling, and others are scary and dangerous. You never know when, where or how an unexpected event will occur. This lack of control of outside circumstances can cause you to be re-active instead of pro-active. To be able to make informed decisions, you need to be informed. Here is some information about those scary and dangerous events that can occur when you are with your car. Yes, this may sound paranoid and excessive, but having this information could just safe your life.

When you’re alone and going to your car in a parking lot, parking garage or poorly lit area, BE-AWARE! This means looking all around you before getting into your car. You of course want to have your door key in your hand ready to unlock the car as soon as you’ll approach it. If you have a remote key, don’t unlock the door until you are ready to get in! 


As you approach your vehicle, look to the left, right and behind you and glance under your vehicle. When you get to your car, check out the passenger seat and the back seat before you get in. You make look weird, but attackers tend to pass by someone who is aware of what’s happening around them.

If there is a big van parked to the left of your car, enter your vehicle from the passenger seat. If the vehicle next to you has a male sitting alone in the passenger seat, enter from your passenger seat, or go back from where you came from and ask someone to escort you back out to your car. This is definitely one of those times to trust those “gut feelings.” If something doesn’t feel right, turn around and retreat. Better safe then sorry really fits the bill here.

Once you get into your vehicle, looks the doors! Don’t open your window or door for any stranger. Lots of rapists, attackers and kidnappers are clean cut and honest looking. I heard a story of a woman who filled her gas tank at a gas station one night and had to go into the building to pay. She had 2 twenty dollar bills with her. The gas cost her exactly twenty dollars, and she knew the other twenty was safely in her wallet in her handbag. When she got into her car, a good looking, clean-cut man came walking over to her with a ten dollar bill in his hand. He motioned for her to roll down her window waving the money in the air. He cheerfully claimed she had dropped the money on her way into the store, and he only wanted to return it to her. When she did not roll down her window and responded that it wasn’t her money, the cheerful fellow turned into a raving maniac and tried to open her door. Then he started pounding on her window calling her all kinds of obscene names. She started her car and drove away. Yes she was shaken up, but she was safe and unharmed.

Honking Another “trick” used on unsuspecting women motorist, is a man pulling alongside your vehicle pointing at your car indicating something is wrong and that you should pull over right away. Take a reality check first! Is your vehicle driving okay? If you’re going to pull over, look for an open gas station or well-lit populated area to pull over.

If you feel threatened, don’t hesitate to make a scene. Scream, shout, lay on the horn or flash your bright lights over and over. Most attackers aim to be discreet and secretive. Carrying a loud whistle or a can of pepper spray can be a huge deterrent to most attackers.

If you get pulled over by an unmarked police car for no apparent reason in an area that is not well traveled or well lit, there are a number of things you should be looking for. Is the police officer’s uniform neat and tidy? Is the badge and name tag plainly visible? Is his attitude polite and official?  If he uses any kind of suggestive, threatening or abusive language, something is not right! First off, keep your doors locked and window up. Ask to see his badge and identification. If he doesn’t have any, then drive away as quickly as possible. Once you are in a safe place contact the real police and tell them what happened. If they do have a badge and identification but you’re still feeling uncomfortable, you have the right to ask for a “backup.” This means they need to call for another officer to come to the scene. If they won’t call for another officer, they may not be a real policeman after all. You could use your cell phone to call 911 or if red flags are waving, drive away and go directly to the nearest police station.

My intention is not make you afraid to go out by yourself, but I am asking you to be aware of where you are and what’s happening around you. Then you will be able to avoid dangerous situations and take the appropriate actions to keep yourself safe and secure.

Safe and Happy Motoring,

Amy_mattinat Amy Mattinat
Auto Craftsmen Ltd.
Author of “How to Buy a Great Used Car”
Available online at


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