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Being Followed?

What To Do When You Believe You're Being Followed

by Sandy Esslinger

There are infinite possibilities to create a scenario for one of the more frightening experiences that could happen to any one of us at sometime in our lives — a car stalker!

If you're being followed, stay on the freeway as
long as possible. If possible, head to the nearest police station.

Statistics show that women are usually followed by someone they met or know. Perhaps they met you at a bar, grocery store or restaurant. Perhaps they're an "ex". You look into your rearview mirror and realize that the car that was behind you while you were exiting the parking lot is still behind you five miles later. Panic sets in. You grab your steering wheel with both hands and bury your foot into the throttle to get away. This is a natural reaction called the "fight or flight" instinct. Fighting doesn't seem to be an option when locked in your car, so the flight response kicks in full force.

However, this is the worst instinct you can have. Try to resist this impulse. The most important thing you can do is keep your wits about you, think and tell yourself to relax. Common sense will almost always get you out of situations like this. In this article we're going to point out some of the common sense strategies that can keep you out of trouble.

Often, it's part of the pursuer's sick and twisted game — or maybe it's his goal — to get the best of you, scare you. According to the police, don't speed up and don't show that you're frightened because these people find intimidation fun. Check to make sure your doors are locked and windows are up. Remember, if you're locked in your car, there's little your pursuer can do.

If you're being followed, stay on the freeway as long as possible. Here you have no traffic signals and no potential of getting blocked in. However, you may not find yourself on a freeway or may not be able to stay on the freeway because it's taking you into unfamiliar locations. If you end up on surface streets, stick to well-lighted main boulevards. Don't drive home — you don't want to show anyone where you live. Drive to the nearest police station. If you don't know where one is, go to a public place—lots of people and lights — because there's safety in numbers. Call the police from there. If you go into a bar, play the damsel in distress. (I guess that's exactly what this case is!) Many a macho man will jump to your defense. This seems to be one of those "natural" male reactions that in this case will be completely welcomed.

It's important to note that when on surface streets, always see to it that you observe some basic rules:

1. Always lock your doors.

2. Keep windows rolled up in locations of questionable security.

3. Keep a good distance behind the car in front of you, including at stopped intersections, so you don't get trapped and still will be able to negotiate your car out of a pinch.

The police note that if you don't appear to be riled, the pursuer will will get bored and give up. Furthermore, the authorities strongly recommend that women carry mobile phones in their cars for security purposes. In fact, according to Verizon, after registering the phone without a service carrier, 911 is still accessible. All you have to do is dial *611 (the local carrier), request 911 and you'll be patched directly through to the police.

Above all else, be sure that you relax, remain in control and use common sense. You'll increase your chances of getting rid of that stalker. As a final reminder, if a carjacking attempt is made, by all means, give up your car; your life is certainly worth more.

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