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September 01, 2009

Locked Out of Your Vehicle: Now What?

16219447[1] Due to our vehicles' new high-tech, heavy-duty theft-deterrent systems, it's not suprising that it's not easy to get into a locked car without the keys. And maybe our brains haven't quite caught up with this new technology: in 1980, lockouts represented just 1.4% of the total requests for service. In 2006, lockouts represented 16.9% of the total overall call volume to AAA in North America. There are tons of ways to prevent lock-outs from happening. But what if you don't get around to them until it's too late?

Even when you're baffled and confused at how you could've succeeded at locking your keys inside of your car, safety must always be a concern. The very first thing you should do when locked out alone is call someone and tell them where you are - even if they can't come wait with you or help, it is best to be in contact with someone close to you about the situation in case things get worse. And if you happen to hang out with people that know how to steal cars, your strange friendships may now come in handy. 

As for getting back into your car and on the road, no option is wonderful, as they all require lots of waiting around and some money - or a hanger and skill at using it. If you happen to be a member of AAA, they provide lockout service, but you have to stay by your car until they get there, and experience recalls waiting a lot longer than promised. This can be dangerous, especially if you're alone or in an unsafe area. It can also screw one's day up pretty badly when on a tight schedule. Calling the cops may be faster and cheaper, but not all city police departments will perform lockout services - they may refer you to a tow truck company, which will do the job, but for a price. It's been said there's potential to use a hanger or a tennis ball with a burn hole in it to get the door unlocked, but keeping these items with you won't do any good if your car is locked...and most people would need to learn the trick beforehand. The most important choice is to consult the people you know and keep in tight connection with them, to reduce the stress of the situation and just in case the situation gets worse.

For more auto safety and security tips from RTM, click here.

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