Automotive Fleet

NOV 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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Page 45 of 65

SPECIAL FLEET SAFETY SERIES SPONSORED BY VOLVO CARS NORTH AMERICA © OC IST KP T HO O .C /C OM ELMA OOK SURVIVE A HOW TO PH OT O: Don't be a hero. Be safe and use your best judgment if you are ever the victim of a carjacking. And, remember, most carjackers simply want the vehicle. C arjacking has become one of the most prevalent crimes in many parts of the world. Most carjackings occur for the sole purpose of taking the car; it is a crime without a political agenda. You can protect yourself by becoming familiar with the methods, ruses, and locations commonly used by carjackers. Police experts recommend that drivers should agree to all demands, and try to draw notice of the situation to passersby. If there is an opportunity to escape, do it, but remember to weigh the risk of escalating an already volatile event. Practice Avoidance Te frst step to avoid becoming a victim is to stay alert at all times and be aware of the surrounding environment. Te most likely places for a carjacking are: ● High crime areas.  ● Lesser traveled roads (e.g., rural areas).  ● Intersections where vehicles must stop.  ● Isolated areas in parking lots.  ● Residential driveways and gates. ● Trafc jams or congested areas. Learn to avoid these areas and situations if possible. If not, take steps to prevent an attack. In trafc, look around for possible avenues of escape. Drivers should keep some distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them to enable the ability to easily maneuver out of a situation — about one-half of the vehicle's length. (Rule of thumb: Te rear tires of the vehicle trav42 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I NOVEMBER 2013 eling directly in front should be visible.) When stopped, use the rear- and sideview mirrors to stay aware of the surroundings. Also, keep doors locked and windows up. Tis increases safety and makes it more difcult for an attacker to surprise you. Accidents are one ruse used by attackers to control a victim. Te following are common scenarios leading up to a carjacking: Te Bump: Te attacker bumps the victim's vehicle from behind. Te victim gets out to assess the damage and exchange information. Te victim's vehicle is taken. Good Samaritan: Te attacker(s) stage what appears to be an accident. Tey may simulate an injury. Te victim stops to assist, and the vehicle is taken. Te Ruse: Te vehicle behind the victim fashes its lights or the driver waves to get the victim's attention. Te attacker tries to indicate that there is a problem with the victim's car. Te victim pulls over, and the vehicle is taken. Te Trap: Carjackers use surveillance to follow the victim home. When the victim pulls into his or her driveway waiting for the gate or garage door to open, the attacker pulls up behind and blocks the victim's car. Te bottom line: Tink before stopping to assist in an accident. It may be safer to call and report the location, number of cars involved, and any injuries observed. In all cases, keep your cell phone or radio with you and immediately alert someone regarding your situation. In most carjacking situations, the at- There are several ruses that are used by carjackers, including accidents. Stay aware of your surroundings, and agree to all demands. tackers are interested only in the vehicle. Try to stay calm. Do not stare at the attacker as this may seem aggressive and cause them to harm you. Also, while some people think that carrying a weapon or pepper spray may fend of attackers, police strongly advise drivers be properly trained to use them. However, they warn that these weapons could be turned against a driver. Act After an Attack Always carry a cell phone or radio on your person. If you are in a populated area, immediately go to a safe place before contacting someone to report the incident. Immediately report the crime and clearly describe the event. What time of day did it occur? Where did it happen? How did it happen? Who was involved? Describe the attacker(s). Without staring during the event, try to note height, weight, scars or other marks, hair and eye color, the presence of facial hair, build (slender, large), and complexion (dark, fair). Describe the attacker's vehicle. If possible, get the vehicle license number, color, make, and model, as well as any marks (scratches, dents, or damage) and personal decorations (stickers, colored wheels, etc.). Te golden rule for descriptions is to give only that information you absolutely remember. If you are not sure, don't guess. Remember, in the end, avoidance is the best way to prevent an attack. AF

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