Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Vehicle Security: Situtional Awareness

Driving in the United States is just about an everyday thing. I started driving on my Uncle’s ranch at the tender age of 14. By the time 16 came around, I pretty much knew what I was doing. Driver’s Ed was a breeze. Even parallel parking! So driving is almost like breathing for me. As I’ve said before, I took a combat driving course back in the 80’s in the military. So when I get on a busy freeway I feel like I’m as comfortable as the country road in front of our house. But I’ve never experienced road rage. I don’t think I’ve ticked someone off enough for them to want to pound my head. It’s kind of crazy when you watch it. Is it really worth being 10 feet down the road further because of that lane change? We all have done it. I think most of us need to chill out when it comes to driving. But how do you keep yourself safe from a security stand point out in public in a vehicle? Usually, driving is not a big security issue. It’s when you stop or are entering or exiting your vehicle where you are most vulnerable (see blog Avoiding a carjacking, 5/28/2014).
First, just leave a little earlier. Something this simple can change everything. When you’re in a hurry you take more chances and may do some stupid things that may enrage those around you. Your mindset is different when you’re early. Change your timeline by just leaving earlier. Some may debate how much time, but at least 10 minutes would be good. I like 15 myself.
Your situational awareness should be elevated during driving. This is something that can be forgotten because we drive so much. Not only for safety sake, but for security sake. Cars are safer than any other time in history but that doesn’t mean we should be lax in our attention. With speeds faster than when we had the national “55 mph” mess, things are coming at you pretty fast. Look for an exit. I don’t mean an exit from the freeway, an exit from where you are driving. If you have a place to drive that is drivable, you will be able to maneuver and possible drive yourself out of an accident.
You should know your vehicle. Does your car or truck lock automatically? What features make you more or less vulnerable sitting there in a parked vehicle? So, locking your doors immediately is a good practice. Is there an weapon you can improvise if needed? Can you get to your weapon? (see blog Improv weapons, 5/6/2014) Make sure it’s time to put on your seat belt. Look around at what is going on around you. Will you have to exit the vehicle and run? Know this intel before you buckle up. There are some vehicles that will automatically unlock your doors when the vehicle is put in park. Disable this feature! Youtube or the dealer can show you how.
Remember you are out there in public when you are driving. It’s usually not a good idea to get out of your vehicle. Even if you are mad, don’t get out. If you are followed or someone tries to block you in, do what you can to keep moving and go to a public place or a police station. If you feel threatened move to get off the “X”. If you finally decide that exiting is the right course, find a safe place to do this. Have a plan and be in the Orange mindset (see blog Yellow to Orange, 3/8/2014). Have an escape planned before you exit the vehicle. Leave all the doors locked except what you just got out of. You may have to egress the situation quickly. Make sure you have your self defense items with you. You cell phone is a minimum. Don’t let anger run this confrontation.
The best thing you can do is to ignore road rage and keep you vehicle moving. That is where your safety and security is. Drive smart.
Semper Paratus
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