How not to get car-jacked

Here is a startling story that has me feeling jumpy. On last night’s news there was a report about a man who left Berea, Ohio for Cleveland Friday night to visit a sick relative and never made it. Instead, he left a note at a highway rest stop off I-71 near the exit that goes to Wooster. The note, found at 10 am by a rest stop cleaner, said that he was car jacked, was in trouble, and to please let his wife know.

Why this caught my attention, more than other car jack stories, is that:

  • #1. My husband is from Berea, Ohio and just two weeks ago we drove from Berea to Cleveland. I know the route well. Berea is just minutes from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
  • #2. We have stopped at the rest stop mentioned in the report.
  • #3. Just over a month ago, I interviewed a man who is an expert in self defense for a magazine article. He gave me tips on how to avoid a car jacking, among other things.

One of the main tips he told me that I had not heard of before is that when you are stopped at an intersection, you should be able to see the entire back tires of the car in front of you. This will leave you enough room so that if someone is trying to get in your car, you can pull out and get away. If you’re too close to the car in front of you, you’re stuck.

Here’s a list of other tips to keep in mind to ensure that when you head out in your car–or a rental you’re traveling safely. Personally, I’m not one of those people who worry a lot. I tend to see the world as a safe place, but when stories come up about places I’ve traveled to my mind puts me there. This time I remembered the create a gap tip and wanted to pass it on.