Carjacking is on the increase in part because so many cars now have good anti-theft devices. People who steal cars are discovering that while it’s getting harder to steal a car that’s simply parked at the curb, it’s relatively easy to get the car by taking the keys from the person who is driving it.

Be aware of the possibility that it might happen. Look around you when you approach your car in a parking lot or on the street to see if anyone is close by. Have your keys in your hand so that you can get into your car very quickly and lock the car immediately. Keep the car doors locked and the windows rolled up nearly all the way, or all the way, when you’re driving. Whenever you stop, be sure that you can see the road between your car and the car in front of you; that will give you enough space to maneuver if you have to suddenly pull out to one side or the other. Always check the back seat area before entering your car.

If someone approaches you while you are getting into your car, it might be the best thing to simply let them take the car, as long as they’re not trying to take you or your child with it. One way to foil their plan is simply to throw your keys as far away as possible. If someone is threatening you with a weapon, you are entitled to defend yourself; you’re not protecting your car from the carjacker, you’re protecting yourself from the carjacker.

The one thing you should try never to do is let the carjacker take both you and the car. If despite everything you can do, you find yourself in the car with the carjacker (now a kidnapper), some things you might try are to make the car crash by grabbing the steering wheel, or attacking the kidnapper’s eyes. If you are put in the trunk, use your cellphone to call for help, or try to kick out a tail light and wave your hand through the opening.