Senior Safety In Your Car

Driving has become an everyday activity that many of us take for granted.  We tend to ignore the facts and statistics that tell us getting into the car and driving somewhere can pose dangers and risks to our personal safety and security.  

  1. Taking precautions when you use your car can help you avoid many risky situations that Seniors face when they’re driving and in the car.

  2. Thinking through different situations and planning ways avoid dangerous situations when you drive places will help keep you calm react wisely if you ever find yourself in a dangerous spot.

AsYouAge Safety Tips When You Are In Your Car

  1. If you are going to be gone in your car for more than a few hours during the day tell a friend or neighbor you trust where you’re going, who you are going with, and when you expect to return.

  2. Plan your route and take a map with you. You can use services like  Mapquest (  to help map and plan your trip route.

  3.   Know where you are and know where you are going.  Know the names of the streets you are driving on to get to your destination and also the highway exits you take.  (You need to know these things in case you have to call for help and direct police to your location.)

  4.   Keep your car maintained and your gas tank at least half full.

  5.   Always buckle up - and make sure your passengers buckle up, too.

  6.   Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up when you drive.

  7.   If your vehicle breaks down in an isolated area, raise the hood, lock the doors and stay inside.  Don’t leave the car: wait for help to come to you.  If you have a cell phone, use it to call for help.

  8.   If someone stops and offers to help, ask him or her to call the police.

  9. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened, honk your horn and keep on honking until help arrives.

  10. If you come across an accident or someone who needs assistance, don’t stop at the scene.  Drive past the scene, pull over when it is safe and then use your cell phone to report accidents or stranded cars to police or state patrol.

  11. Never pick up strangers, hitchhikers, or people who claim they need of emergency assistance.

  12. If your car breaks down, pull over to the right as far as possible, raise the hood and wait inside the car for help.  If you have one, use your cellphone to cal for assistance.

  13. If you must talk to someone who is outside your car, crack your window open only an inch or so, and close it again as soon as possible.

  14.   Don’t park near large vehicles or shrubbery or up close to a building.

  15. Park in well-lit secure parking areas, and check your surroundings before getting out.  Do this during the day and at night.

  16. Lock all your valuables in the trunk.  Don’t leave anything in plan sight inside your car.

  17. Whether you’re away from your car for a few minutes or a few hours, make sure to close all the windows and lock all the doors - and the trunk, too.

  18. When you return to your car, have your keys ready.

  19. Be alert and aware of your surroundings as you approach your car.  Don’t let yourself be distracted by talking on your cell phone or listening to your iPod or MP3 player.

  20.   Check your the cars parked near your car before getting too close to the car.  Notice if there are any people sitting in cars that are parked close to yours.

  21. Be extra careful if large vans or utility type vans with sliding doors are parked right next to the driver’s side of your car. 

  22. If it doesn’t feel right when you are walking to your car, go back to where you were and ask to have someone escort you out to your car.

  23.   Have your keys ready as you approach your vehicle.

  24.   Check your car for intruders before you get in. Check under the car, the front and back seat.

  25.   Lock all your doors after you’ve gotten into the car.

  26.   Start your car and drive away immediately once you get into your car.  Don’t talk on your phone, write notes, read mail, etc.

  27.   Don’t put your name, address or license plate number on your key ring.

Carjackers Present A Serious Threat To Seniors

Carjacking occurs when someone takes possession of your vehicle through force, fear or intimidation.  92% of all carjackings happen when the person is alone in their car.

Most carjackings take place in areas with poor lighting or security

  1. Dark streets and dimly lit parking lots of businesses and apartments

  2. Busy intersections when people stop for traffic signals

  3. In parking areas along the outskirts of shopping malls

  4. Be especially alert at parking lots, intersections, self-serve gas stations

     and car washes, highway entry and exit ramps, and ATMs.

  1. At schools, where there is a lot of traffic and commotion

Like many other criminals, carjackers look for easy targets

  1. They choose dark areas where there aren’t a lot of people around

  2. They look for people who can’t or won’t put up much of a fight.

Tell your family or a trusted neighbor or friend when you’re going out.  Better yet, take someone with  you.

Buckle up, lock your doors and keep your windows up every time you get into your car and while you’re driving.

Have your keys ready when you approach your car.  Look around outside and and check the front and back seats inside before you get in.

Don’t put any personal identification or information  on your keys or keychain. Learn ways to use your keys as a defensive weapon if you need to.

How To Protect Yourself If You’re Carjacked

  1. Always be aware of your surroundings.  Look around you, and use your    

     rear and side view mirrors.

  1. Never leave your car unattended when the keys are in the ignition or    

     when it is running.

  1. Drive in the center or inside lane whenever possible.  This makes it    

     harder for would-be carjackers to approach the car.

  1. Be wary of people in cars around or behind you trying to wave you down    

     for some reason, or someone at an intersection or on the side of the    

     road with a sign, handing out fliers, panhandling, asking for directions    

     or trying to do something that will distract you from your driving.

  1. If the carjacker threatens you with a gun or other weapon, give up your    

      car.  Don’t argue.  Your life is much more valuable than your car.

  1. Get away as quickly as possible.

  2. Contact the police.


If you are confronted by a carjacker, stay calm.  Give up the car, get away and contact the police. No car is more valuable than your life.

What Thieves Want To Steal From Your Car

Car thieves always look for easy access into a car, and they have a shopping list of things they are looking for if they can break into it.

The list includes audio and electronic equipment like your cell phone, MP3 player, iPod, laptop, Kindle or iPad; cash; purses or briefcase; tools; clothes; driver’s licenses and other personal documents; credit cards and check books; luggage; cameras; anything of value that they can use or fence.

If a thief manages to get anything on it with your personal information, (including a social security number or drivers license), you are now in danger of also becoming an Identity Theft victim.

Practicing basic, common-sense safety and security habits                                 when you are in your car is the key to your personal safety.

ABC news reports that people at self-service gas stations are easy targets for thieves.  People leave their car unlocked to pump gas and pay the cashier, making whatever valuables are left in the car in plain view easy to steal.

Unlocked cars at gas stations are easy targets for thieves.

Leaving purses or other valuable items out in plain view inside your car is an open invitation for thieves.

If your car breaks down, raise your hood, call for help on your cell phone, and  stay in your car with the doors locked and windows up until help arrives.

Carjacking Prevention From The U.S. Department of State

The U.S.Department of State provides a very helpful guide about car jacking.  Although written for international travelers, the information and suggestions offered aptly apply to everyday situations Seniors face when driving in America as well.   Read their carjacking prevention tips at

Carjacking: It isn’t just about prevention; it’s about protection, too.

Carjacking Prevention Tips From The Crime Doctor

Security expert Chris McGoey provides a wealth of information and safety tips to follow if you ever become a victim of carjacking. 

Read what he has to say about precautions and self defense at


Carjacking is becoming more common in U.S. cities.

                                                     photo c/o caranddriver  Provides Free, Reliable Senior Information and Resources

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Senior Safety In The Car

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