Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Five Self Defense Tips for Drivers

Self defense is something you should not just imagine happening in a proverbial dark alley. Not all assaults are premeditated. It just takes a moment of desperation or anger to turn your daily routine into a dangerous situation. Cars are often silent witnesses to assaults as drivers enter and leave, or tempers get heated on the road. Here are five tips to help you effectively protect yourself in or near your car.

1) Drive Safely: This one seems like a real no-brainer, but a substantial number of assaults happen as the result of a fender bender, close call or other instance of dangerous driving. The other driver gets angry enough to attack or worse yet, is a criminal who has something to hide from the police. He doesn’t want to stick around – and he doesn’t want witnesses either. Drive safely, keep your distance from other vehicles and never drive to harass someone, no matter how angry you are – or how bad a driver the other guy is.

2) Call the Police First: If you get into any accident, call the police before you talk to the other driver and tell him you’ve done it. This takes any convoluted talk about keeping insurance out of it (a popular trick for fraudsters and the source of violent arguments) off the table right away. If the other guy has something to hide he might just get in his vehicle and take off. Fine – let him. Explain what happened as soon as the police arrive.

3) Don’t Leave Your Car to Confront an Angry Driver: If someone gets out of his car looking for a fight do not get out to try to calm them down or confront them. It’s not worth it. If you feel more threatened and your car works, drive away. Call the police, even if you’ve already called them before. In this case, the second call informs them of the angry driver and in the even of an accident, tells them that you’re not abandoning the scene.

4) Keep Pepper Spray or Other Self Defense Products in Arm’s Reach: If you own a cell phone stun gun, pepper spray or a similar self defense product you should be able to use it from your driver’s seat at a second’s notice. Your weapon should be securely attached to your person so it won’t fall anywhere it isn’t supposed to, and should not be in your glove compartment, where you’ll waste time grabbing it. If you go this route, make sure you have all the paperwork required by law in your jurisdiction, are legally entitled to carry the weapon, and when the police arrive, inform them that you are legally armed and wish to follow their instructions.

5) Never Let Anyone Force You Into a Car or Force You to Go Anywhere: Carjackings and attempts to force you into a car are always extremely dangerous situations, and you should consider them life threatening events to resist with any amount of force. Crimes where the perpetrator takes the victim to another location generally rank among the most dangerous, so you should consider escape your top priority, and even be willing to take risks you wouldn’t consider in other self defense scenarios.

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