People have a tendency to feel safe in their vehicles in a similar way to feeling safe in your home. And while being in a vehicle has its safety advantages in a defensive scenario, it is no fortress on wheels. When facing an attack in your vehicle, knowing its strengths and vulnerabilities will greatly impact our ability to defend ourselves and our loved ones.
Speed is not always dangerous
When in your vehicle you are always at a greater risk of being attacked when your vehicle is stopped. If you are coming to a stop light, allow yourself enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you to maneuver if necessary. If possible, especially at night, slow down early for a red light in order to reduce the amount of time you will spend stopped, or even if possible allow the light to turn green again while your vehicle is still rolling. Always keep your doors locked until you are exiting your vehicle.
Getting in and out of our vehicle is the most vulnerable time for attack, plan accordingly. Check your surroundings as you drive to your parking space. Select a place to park that is well lit, visible from a distance, and has as few obstructions near it as possible. When you are approaching your vehicle, try to have your strong hand free so that you can use a weapon if attacked. Avoid double pressing the unlock button on your keychain when going to your car, this will alert possible attackers of where you are headed, and it will unlock all doors on the vehicle.
If you are attacked while in your vehicle you need to realize it’s limitations of security. It will effectively protect you from an unarmed attacker, it will offer substantial protection from an attacker with a club or a knife, but it will do little to protect you from an attacker with a firearm. Only the engine and the wheels will stop a bullet, the windows and doors will do little to protect from gunfire. That being sad, if you are firing from within your vehicle the bullets trajectory can be drastically altered by the glass. When the bullet passes through glass at an angle, most notably the windshield or rear window, the bullet will tend to rise. Fire your first shots at low center mass, the pelvis, trying to put further shots through the original holes. The later shots will not be as effected as the first since the integrity of the windshield will already have been compromised. Do not be conservative with your bullets when firing on an attacker from within your vehicle. If your self-defense tool of choice is pepper spray, keep in mind it will be contained inside the car, so if you can, use it outside the vehicle as you will also be impaired if it is sprayed inside the vehicle.
Always be ready to defend yourself and don’t allow the comfort and relative security of your vehicle make you complacent when you are traveling.
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