If you have been driving for any length of time, you have either locked your keys in your car at some point our you know someone who has. It's a pretty common occurrence. Every year, about four million Americans do this to themselves. The results can range from simple frustration to actual physical endangerment.
Knowing what to do about the situation before you get stuck can sure help to mitigate any anxiety that arises. Armed with knowledge, you can take action to prevent locking your keys in your car, truck, or SUV.
Your first steps will include the following:
Familiarize Yourself with Your Surroundings
Take stock of your location. Is there a nearby gas station? Those can sometimes sell the tools you need to get into your locked vehicle. Are you in an unsafe or remote area? If so, it is advisable to call 911 and request assistance from the police if you feel your physical well-being is in jeopardy. Beyond this, your next steps will really be dependant upon your geographical location and the time of day.
Call Roadside Assistance
If you come to the conclusion that your safety is not an issue, then call the roadside assistance associated with your vehicle insurance or vehicle warranty plan. It's not uncommon for help to take 30+ minutes to arrive. And, naturally, you have to pay to have the car unlocked; common deductibles range from $25-$50 for this service. Still, this is the easiest way to get into your car and back on the road.
Technology is Wonderful
Many modern vehicles can work with a manufacturer's phone app to let you monitor and control different parts of your vehicle's performance, such as... unlocking your doors!
Keep a Spare Key or Code
This is a really easy one that most of us don't think of. It's super simple to keep a spare key in a purse or pocket. You can even have your local shop mount a small metal box somewhere along your undercarriage for the sole purpose of holding a spare key. If you can open your vehicle by punching in a keycode on your vehicle's exterior, it would be a good idea to keep that code on your person. Again, it fits nicely in a wallet or purse.
Review Your Vehicle Warranty for More Options
Many warranties offer a roadside assistance option that includes unlocking vehicles. Review your warranty to see if you have this coverage. If you don't have it, but would like to have it, please give us a call. If your warranty information is locked in your car, your local dealer should be able to look it up for you. Give them a call. Having this coverage as part of a warranty can also spare you from having to pay the tow truck driver. Further, some credit cards will even offer roadside assistance as part of their member benefits. Give your card provider a call to see if you have this coverage and, if not, find out if you are you able to add it.
How to Get Help When You Have Locked Your Keys in the Car
If you are unable to open the vehicle yourself and need to call someone for assistance, simply keep calm and mention these critical points:
1. Your Location. This will depend upon your you find yourself. You can reference cross streets or local landmarks. If need be, the GPS on your phone can also serve up your exact location.
2. Your Vehicle Make and Model. When the roadside assistance help is looking for you, they'll know just what kind of vehicle to seek out. Beyond that, knowing the make and model of your vehicle can be a clue as to which type of tools will be needed to unlock your vehicle and get you back on the road.
3. Your Policy Numbers. Whether it is your vehicle warranty, an insurance policy, or any other protection, having your numbers available helps get your call processed more quickly, as there is not time spent looking up the policy before verifying what kind of coverage you have available.
Getting in Your Locked Car When it is an Emergency
In some cases, you don't have time to wait for help to arrive, such as when you have a child or pet in the car on a hot summer day.
While you may not have time to wait before taking action, you should still call 911 first. They will send emergency responders. Some may be in your immediate vicinity and can arrive quickly to provide help. Also, depending on the situation, you may need the assistance of emergency medical professionals.
If you are alone, however, the most recommend course of action is the smash the side window of your vehicle that is furthest away from your child or pet. From a structural standpoint, the glass on the side windows is less-resistant to breakage than the windshield is. Wrap your hand, if you can, and use whatever tools you have at your disposal to break that window. This could be as simple as a good-size rock if that is all you have available. If there are others around, call out for help. They might have tools in their vehicles that can help you break the window. Finally, don't aim for the center of the window. Go for the edge; that is the weakest part of the window.
Nobody likes to get locked out if their vehicle. By taking a few precautionary steps, as well as knowing what to do in the face of such a situation, you will be prepared to act in a way that gets you back in the vehicle in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of inconvenience.