Tips: What to do in a carjacking

Posted at 8:20 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 23:38:53-05

You're sitting in a car. A person comes out of nowhere and points a gun at your head. They're trying to carjack you. What do you do?

"Assess the situation," explains Rick Seid, who teaches self defense with Fighting Chance Training.

A Punta Gorda man visiting Boynton Beach was forced to assess the situation this week.

The 60-year-old told detectives he was sitting in a rental car at his hotel in Boynton Beach when three men came up to his car, forced him out, hit him in the head with an object and stole his car.

Police tell us the man told detectives the suspected carjackers implied they had a gun, but the man never saw one.

Seid's crew set up some fake scenarios to give us some tips.

"I want to make sure I don't give up my back," Seid explains while stepping sideways along his car, as two pretend carjackers approach him from the front.

This way he can keep his eyes on the attackers. By slowly walking away from the car, and remaining calm, the attackers may let him go and just take his car.

"I have an opportunity to use my voice as a weapon, take off running as quickly as possible, or, if I'm a gun owner, I can deploy my gun," Seid says.

But his partner warns you should be well trained on when and how to use a firearm.

"If you do it at the wrong moment, the wrong way, it can make a bad situation even worse," Steve Becerra says.

Seid says cars and phones can be replaced, your life cannot. If it appears the attackers only want your things, let them have them.

He says you should avoid conflict, but if you feel threatened, he says going on the offensive could be your best bet.

He teaches students to use a baseball hat to distract attackers by throwing it in their face.

He says things you have in your car, like a pencil, can be used as a tool to fight back an attacker. 

One police department says your goal should be to escape uninjured. Unless you're trained and comfortable fighting, a spokesperson advises you to avoid fighting an attacker with a weapon.

Another tip involves your cellphone. Have 911 programmed in the speed dial menu. Make the call and put the phone in your pocket. Dispatchers may still be able to hear you and pinpoint your location.

In 20 years teaching Krav Maga techniques, from the Israeli special forces, Seid hasn't heard many carjacking stories. He says the key is to be prepared, not paranoid.