Car chases are a staple in movies today. Hollywood loves a good action scene, but in the real world you're probably not going to be able to use anything you've learnt on the big screen. Which presents a real and present danger. What do you do if there's a car following you?
- Perhaps they're a road rage incident waiting to happen
- Perhaps they're wanting to see your bug out location
Today, I'm going to cover exactly what you should (and shouldn't) do if you're being followed in a car, along with a couple of techniques to lose your tail.
Right, let's get straight into it.
Never drive to your home
The first rule when you're being followed is to stay away from your home. In a grid-down scenario you're simply leading those behind to your stockpile.
I don't care if there's 20 people from your survival group waiting to defend you, never, ever give away your bug out location. Because once the bad guys know where you are, all they need to do is come back with enough firepower to take it by force. And no one is going to come out of that aftermath any good. This also goes for everyday life. If there's a creep tracking you down, don't go to your house. You're arming a potential stalker with valuable intel.
Instead, you've got to lose your tail.
Determine if you're actually being followed
Before you let paranoia set in, there's a couple of quick exercises you can do to see if you're actually being followed.
The first is to do a soft loop. If you're in a downtown or city area with lots of crossroads, make a series of four consecutive left (or right) turns. This will drive you in a rough loop, that brings you back to where you started. It is very unlikely that anyone would do this on purpose, and if the car behind keeps on your tail it's a good bet they're following you.
The second is to vary your speed. This works well when you're on the highway or driving along a big stretch of road where you can't do the soft loop. The goal here is to make some pretty drastic changes to your speed, and see what the car behind does. Try changing lanes and dropping your speed by 20 to 30 mph. If they drop back too, wait a few minutes and speed back up. If they're still behind you matching your speed, it's a good bet you're being followed.
What to do with your tail
Before the SHTF I'd recommend you drive to a secure location. Like the local police station. Give them a call on your cell and let them know what's happening and head straight to their parking lot and follow their instructions. Get on the horn and let them know you're outside, and sit back and let the police handle the situation. You could also drive to a secure complex like a gated university parking lot, a fire station, or even a trusted friend's house who is aware of what's going on.
But this isn't always possible.
Let's say the SHTF and you're currently living in a state of lawlessness. The police have their hands full, and you're on your own. Here’s what I'd do next.
Use your vehicle to escape
The first step is to use your local knowledge of the area to escape. Perhaps there's a park you can cut through or a driveway that goes through to the block behind. This is why it's important to have a good knowledge of your area, as it could give you an edge in escaping a pursuer. If you're on a more agile vehicle like a quad or a motorbike, use this agility to your advantage to get away. Just be careful. You don't want to push it too hard and cause an accident. Then you'll be at the mercy of those following behind.
Find somewhere to hide
The goal with this step is to use your surroundings to get out of sight from the car following you. In traffic, try to weave between the cars and use larger vehicles like buses or trucks to place a visual barrier between you and the car behind. Time it right, and you may be able to escape off an intersection or exit without your tail immediately noticing. And by the time they double back to try and find you, you're already long gone.
Brace for the skid
One move you've got to be particularly careful of is when your followers try to stop your vehicle. This is a move often executed by police teams in high-speed car chases, and will cause the car to spin out of control. It works when those in the following car align their front wheels with the back wheels in your car. Then a quick ram sideways will push the back of your vehicle out, sending you into a spin. In an aggressive car chase pay attention to those following you, and if they try this you can either accelerate, or hit the brakes and get in a position to execute this maneuver on their car.
Be willing to fight back
As a last resort you need a means of self defense. I've always got my pepper spray and a pistol with me, it's a habit I've been following for years. In a SHTF situation, it's important that you're able to defend yourself whenever you're leaving a secure location. And you're probably going to want something a little more powerful than a 9mm. A shotgun or an assault rifle would do well here. The first step involves showing your weapon, but be warned. Doing so is a crime in most states, and it can also trigger those following to start shooting. Do this when you have no other option. But it's also rather difficult to shoot accurately from a moving vehicle. If you can, aim for the windshield, their tires, and any assailants hanging out the windows shooting back at you.
Car chases in real life are nothing like the movies. If you suspect you're being followed the safest move is to avoid going to your home, and take steps to try and lose the car that's behind. If you're particularly concerned a defensive driving course can boost your confidence behind the wheel, and as someone who has done his fair share, they're also really fun. Stay safe people.