Learning to escape a carjacking

A small part of the class from this weekend:
The ultra short version:

  1. Pretend compliance
  2. Jerk your head back and punch the gas for a second
  3. Lean over to put more car between you and the guy with the gun until you have some speed
  4. Pop up and get control of your car

9 thoughts on “Learning to escape a carjacking

  1. My secondary take-away from that is to use your air conditioning and don’t come to a stop with your window down. They can try to ‘jack your ride by gesturing through a closed window and a locked door, but if they shot at you, what then? There’s still a locked door and they have to reach through shattered glass to get at you, whether they hit you or not.

    What’s their advice if you come to a stop and there is significant cross traffic and you can’t punch it? Or if they box you in, and the carjacker is coming from a suddenly stopped vehicle in front of you (no room to maneuver left or right, can’t go forward, possibly someone behind you so you can’t go back?

    I’m willing to train for the most probable scenario. What’s the percentage of carjackings that occur with a single assailant at light or stop sign where the car is stopped long enough for the attacker to make it to that position? I’m assuming that the attacker has to approach from the opposite side of the road, or cross behind the vehicle at a crouch and come up behind the drivers side, assuming that the driver will not notice the approach because they’re wrapped up with watching for cars or watching the light. There has to be some time for the attacker to spot the target, decide to engage, then the vehicle has to be stopped long enough to get into position.

    Maybe he uses the crosswalk, then darts to the driver’s side? In any event, I don’t think the attack is going to work at a four-way stop with no other traffic to wait for; cars will stop for a moment then go, which might necessitate a crosswalk gambit which could be countered by this demonstrated technique.

    But other advice… don’t come to a complete stop in the bad parts of Chicago or Detroit or Oakland. Do a California stop and blow the light if you won’t get hit. Or be prepared to run over the carjacker’s girlfriend/accomplice lollygagging in the crosswalk in front of your car. The you get crucified in the media storm for running over T’keela or Sha’dindu Nuffin or La-a or whatever name Sumchik is going by these days, loving girlfriend of Sumdood the aspiring rapper just about to get his life turned around (who took off when Baby Mama [Number larger than 2] gets turned into road pizza in self defense).

    • Essentially all those scenarios were covered in class. This is just a small part of what we learned.

  2. Works great as a tactic….if there’s room in front of the vehicle in which to accelerate away. And, one doesn’t have their head in their phone, or is playing with the radio, or…., or…

    I learned decades ago: curb lane or median lane only, never the center lane (driving in the center lane is OK, stopping in it verboten), never stop without a car length between you and the car in front. Always. Every frickin’ time. Head up, all the time, on a swivel (including mirrors), check all the mirrors as you’re coming to a stop, pay some degree of attention to what’s going on in cars around you. E&E: escape route, escape route, escape route, then evade.

    Pro tip: Instead of playing with mirrors, radios, seat belts, cup holders, whatever, immediately upon entering the vehicle, start engine, trashmission in D, parking brake off, hold vehicle in place with the brake pedal, lock the doors, then seat belts, etc. The vehicle is a 3000-5000 lb weapon and escape tool and you never have to holster it. Think of “engine on, trans in D, brake pedal on” as “round chambered, cocked-and-locked.”

    Fortunately, there seem to be more than enough Ready Victims that staying only moderately alert avoids 99% of problems.

  3. I known of a case in real life where this tactic was applied: She is dead.
    Bad guy pulled the trigger several times as she drove away.

    • Did she have any training and practice? Or did she try to figure it out in real life with a real bad guy for the first time?

    • 1. What Joe said RE: training and practice.
      1b. Then practice some more.
      1c. Then keep practicing until the response is automatic.
      2. When you see the S about to HTF, take a visual snapshot of what’s in front of you, throw yourself down and to the right as low as you can get while flooring the gas pedal and aim for the empty space while “steering” for it with your hand on the bottom of the wheel. If there are cars in the way, aim between them and hope for the best – paint and sheet metal are cheap. Life is not, and that also applies to pedestrians in the middle of your escape path. I’ve seen the “collapse the seat back” technique used successfully in conjunction with the gas pedal; it has the advantages of allowing some vision of the road and moving the driver’s head from the window to behind the center pillar but it takes time with the left hand (in the US) to activate and acceleration will take the seat back all the way down so it absolutely, positively must be practiced a lot. It also fails if there’s junk behind the seat preventing it from reclining.
      2b. If you’re doing anything except putting 100% of concentration into driving the freaking car while you’re in an urban area you’re doing it wrong. Sea captains have absolute responsibility for what happens to their ships, crew and passengers, car drivers should as well.

      Extra point question: What’s your plan if the jacker appears from the right and threatens your passenger?

      Check with your local PD, there may be a non-sworn (“citizen”) version of whatever police driving instruction operation they employ. The parts you’re looking for are speed slalom, the traffic light fast decision lanes, skidpad and E&E. If it’s any good E&E will be at least 2/3 of a day.

  4. I can think of variations.
    One change I would definitely make is to swerve the car sharply towards the attacker. Another, not quite so sure about that one, is to close the car window. Come to think of it, keeping the car window closed in the first place seems like a good idea anyway.

  5. Jacker on the right, rub him off against obstacle. Remember, in a carjacking, keeping the car in one piece should NEVER enter your mind. Car is weapon, car is insured, car can be replaced. Objective is to get away or kill the jacker. Now, if you were wearing your weapon on your offside in a crossdraw holster, you might be able to get it out when you need to.

  6. Start looking at u-tube videos to see what works, and what the BG’s do. ASP has a large backlog of them. It amazes me what people don’t do with a vehicle when they are attacked. Think/plan ahead.

    Also, stop so you can see the ground under the rear tires of the vehicle ahead of you. DON’T leave a full car length, as you can be sure some idiot will fill it if you give them that much of an invitation. If you can see those tires, you should have enough room to turn around them and go without backing up. Also, if someone hits you from behind, you may not be pushed into the front vehicle, complicating your life.

    If you need to hit/move another vehicle to make an exit, use the back end of yours, not the front, if possible. If you hit your front, you may damage the radiator, or even the steering. You can drive a couple miles, maybe, with a damaged radiator, but lock that steering, and you are going nowhere. Some vehicles, if you drive the radiator into the fan, you may stall the engine, and you’re done.

    If you drive a truck/SUV, get a cattle guard mounted on the front for radiator protection.

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