If This Happens While You're Driving, "Call 911" ASAP, Police Say in New Warning
Authorities report that this crime is rising around the country.
For most of us, driving is a daily necessity, but it's not exactly the safest activity. From car crashes to vehicle failures, there are a seemingly endless array of risks to be aware of on the road. Unfortunately, there is one danger you may not be aware of that authorities are now asking you to consider. Police have issued a new warning about a rising crime targeting drivers—and they're advising you to call 911 as soon as possible if you find yourself in this precarious situation. Read on to find out what you should be watching out for while driving.
READ THIS NEXT: If This Happens in a Parking Lot, Don't Get Out of Your Car, Police Warn.
Police often warn about driving dangers.
Due to the number of risks on the road, authorities regularly alert drivers to the problems plaguing them.
Back in June, police in Illinois issued an alert about an increase in road rage-inspired expressway shootings, warning that aggression on the road raises your risk of being involved. Just last month, authorities over in Texas warned about more accidents occurring because of "blinding sun glare" during the fall, advising drivers to take an alternate route when possible. And later in October, police issued alerts about the danger of driving too fast over wet leaves.
Now, authorities are back to alerting people in the U.S. about crimes happening out on the road—and what they should do if they're targeted.
A fender bender may not be what it seems.
A recent fender bender in Minnesota has authorities alerting the public about one concerning scheme. According to a Nov. 10 Facebook post from the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office (RCSO), this incident involved a man's SUV bumper being tapped from behind by a minivan while he was waiting to turn into a parking lot in Maplewood, Minnesota.
As it turned out, the tap was not an accident, but part of a scary scheme.
"He got out to check on the situation—and it quickly turned violent. One of the four people in the minivan jumped out, pointed a gun at him and then drove off in his SUV," the Minnesota police department wrote. "It's called a 'bump-and-run' carjacking."
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Authorities say bump-and-run carjackings are becoming more common.
This was not a one-off situation, unfortunately. In the Facebook post, the RCSO warned that the bump-and-run tactic has been an "ongoing problem" in other cities before it showed up in Minnesota. In August, police in Jackson, Mississippi issued their own warning about this criminal scheme happening in the state, NBC-affiliate WLBT reported.
"Thinking he or she has been involved in a fender bender, the victim will get out of his or her car to assess the damage and exchange insurance information," the Jackson Police Department (JPD) explained. "That's when the carjacker will threaten the victim and steal his or her car. The carjacker zooms away in your vehicle, his accomplice drives away in his, and the victim is left stranded."
Other alerts have already been sent out in places such as Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Mike Martin, the undersheriff of regional services for the RCSO, told NBC-affiliate Kare 11 that authorities have now seen about a dozen cases of similar bump-and-run carjackings in the Twin Cities Metro. "We're starting to see an increase in incidents like this," he said. "And it's something that we're very concerned about."
You should call 911 as soon as possible if this happens to you.
If your vehicle gets bumped from behind, it's important to proceed with caution.
"Do not get out of your vehicle," the City of Atlanta Police Department warned in a Facebook post.
According to police in Jackson, this is especially important if you have any reason to suspect that this was not a legitimate accident. "If you suspect the bumper is a car thief, call 911 and stay in your car with the doors locked and windows rolled up until the police arrive," the JPD said.
The RCSO also warned drivers to "trust [their] instincts" and to drive to a police station or a well-lit, busy location before getting out of the car. If you do get approached by criminals, authorities advise against doing anything that is going to put your personal safety at risk.
"There's no car, there's no purse or wallet, or cell phone, that's worth risking your life," Martin told Kare 11. "So if you end up in the situation, just comply with whatever they're trying to get you to do and call 911 as soon as you can."