Team Oneil Tips: Carjacking 

oneil winterThe Team Oneil Rally School is the best rally school in North America. They not only train rally drivers but they teach winter driving courses and advanced driving techniques on loose surface. They also train security personal. Their Facebook page is a wealth of information and they regularly put out pretty cool and very usual tips like this one.

Many of us heard about Jon Olsson’s RS6 that was recently stolen at gunpoint and later burned to the ground. What we don’t often hear is that there are over 30,000 carjackings in the US annually, or what drivers can do to avoid having their cars taken by force. Here’s a few simple tips to keep yourself out of harm’s way and your wheels in your possession:

1. Keep your gas tank full, and fill your car only at well-lit, busy gas stations that have video surveillance. Always fuel up before traveling through any high-risk areas.

2. Be fully aware of what’s going on around you. Most drivers only look out of the windshield, where you really need full 360 degree situational awareness. Carjackers know your blind spots and often use them, if they make it to your window, it’s too late.

2. Keep moving if you sense a potential threat. The police will understand you running a light or stop sign to avoid a carjacking, and a traffic ticket is always better than an ambulance ride or worse.

3. If you do need to stop, always leave yourself an out. Park well behind the car in front of you so you have room to maneuver around it if necessary.

4. When in doubt, reverse out. The quickest way to put distance between yourself and an attacker may often be in reverse. High speed backing can be tricky, as your car will be rear-steer, so find a safe place to practice.

5. Don’t go to Detroit. There are three times more carjackings in Detroit than New York City, which has ten times Detroit’s population. Even Detroit police chief James Craig was the victim of an attempted carjacking while in his cruiser.

6. Carjackings often involve fake accidents, and carjackers often even bump into their target car and then take it by force when the driver gets out to exchange information. If you sense this is the case, keep moving and call the accident in to the police explaining your actions.

7. Carjackers have historically flashed their lights or waved drivers down as if something was wrong with their vehicle, and taken it by force once the driver stopped. Keep moving and check your car in a known safe place if you think something may really be wrong.

8. If you sense someone is trying to box you in or bring your vehicle to a stop, again do your best to keep moving. If you are forced to a stop, get into reverse quickly and separate yourself from the threat.

9. Keep your doors locked and windows up through high-risk areas.

10. If your best efforts fail and a confrontation occurs, it’s historically safer to give up the vehicle than attempt resisting.

Bill Caswell is a self-taught racing driver, mechanic, and fabricator, and rose to internet fame taking a $500 Craigslist BMW to a World Rally Championship event in Mexico in March of 2010. His exploits have featured in places like ESPN Magazine, Grassroots Motorsports, NPR Radio, Wired.com and Jalopnik.com. A lifelong fan of rally and motorsport, Caswell famously believes nothing to be impossible.