(Car) Jacked Up
Date Added: July 27, 2000
Without argument, it is easier to impart advice to people if you get their attention. And, the best way to get people's attention is with a near-tragic story - true or not.
SUBJECT: For women who drive at night:
Guys out there please share this info with the women in your life.This is a good thing to know. Sometimes emails that get forwarded are important.Consider this one to think about. Very important for your safety.
As I headed for home by myself at approximately 10 pm, I was between exits when a car pulled into the right-most lane beside me (I was in the center lane) and started matching speeds with me. After a minute, I tried to slow down so he would pass. He slowed, too. I regained my previous speed, and he sped up with me. Finally after a few minutes of this, he pulled slightly ahead of me, rolled down his window and motioned towards my tire as though something was wrong. The man had already begun to make me nervous by driving alongside me for some distance on the mostly empty highway, and now my training took over. This man is trying to get me off the road by myself here in the dark," I thought. The area where I was, is basically the middle of nowhere. I know my car. I am very careful with maintenance, and I am an experienced driver.
I know what a flat tire feels like. I knew my car was fine. I put on my turn signal and moved to the right-most lane behind the man anyway and slowed down slightly; there is always the chance that something could have been wrong, better to be prepared. The other car pulled onto the shoulder and started slowing down. Now I knew he was definitely trying to get me to pull over. I passed him, he swerved back on the road and drove right behind me.
At the next exit, there were two gas stations. They were well lit and there were a few people there. I exited, he followed. Not only this, but a car I had not previously noticed, that was in front of us suddenly swerved off the exit when I put my turn signal on. I know this scenario. I grew up in some pretty bad areas.
At this point, everything I had learned was in control. I decided not to stop anywhere. By now there was absolutely no doubt that my car was fine. When we approached the stop sign at the dark, empty intersection after the gas stations, the car ahead of me put on his left turn signal and stopped. I checked for traffic as I approached the intersection, then pulled around him to the right, and headed straight back for the highway. Both the car that had been ahead and the one that had been following me turned left across the highway and did not pursue further. I carefully checked my car in a safe place when I knew I was no longer being followed. It is in perfect condition. This is a classic scenario for car jackers to use at night.
I feel lucky that I was well prepared and didn't have to think too much about what to do.
1. Don't ever let yourself be caught between cars. Car jackers often work in pairs, attempting to corner your vehicle.
GOOD ENOUGH TO READ? PASS IT ON!
This story is the stuff of urban legend: An anonymously authored first-person account of a crime that was supposedly thwarted by a fast-thinking heroine. A common theme in urban legends is that women traveling alone at night place themselves at a significant risk for crime. This notion is echoed in other legends about ankle-slashing gang members, mall abductions, and rapists in unmarked police cars.
Note that in the story no crime was actually committed - the author suspects carjacking to be the intention of the other motorists, but has no proof to back up her claim. She offers no identifying information about herself the setting of her encounter, or when it occurred (this chain has been circulating since at least 1999), so there's no way to validate the story. Not that there is likely to be any record of it, even if it is true. We are left to take it on faith and must consider it rumor at best.
The advice imparted seems sensible enough, but what is the source? What research or experience is it based upon? Surviving a suspected carjacking does not make one an expert on vehicular safety. The advice is based on common sense and common belief, but some of the claims are questionable without a more reliable source. Break this chain.