Seniors are told that using a remote control car door opener from a distance away, day or night, will keep them safe in a parking lot. The remote control will allow a senior to quickly slide into the unlocked car without fiddling around with car keys as they attempt to open, shut and lock the car door.
The remote control car door opener sounds like a great safety plan. However, it might not work if someone happens to be hiding and waiting for you on the other side of your locked car, day or night.
Car Safety Features Are Not Always Safe
Car manufacturers keep coming up with safety features for cars. The indoor car light that goes on when a car door is opened, reveals if anyone is hiding in the back seat or floor of the car. However, if the light bulb burned out and never has been replaced the safety feature is questionable.
Actually, a remote control car door opener might offer little or no help to seniors when used too far a distance from their parked car. Someone who might be waiting on the other side of the door, out of your view, is alerted by the sound of the click that the car door is open and the driver is approaching. Anything is possible.
I was parked in the parking lot of an Office Depot store. My printer stopped printing and I needed to buy ink. It was in the middle of the afternoon. People were crossing the lot, and going into and coming out of other stores who shared the same parking lot. In other words, the area was not empty. It also was not dark.
I was still sitting in the car, gathering my purse, getting ready to get out of my car. I sat still when my eye caught an elderly senior leaving the store. She was standing at the door, a distance away from her car, and paused momentarily to remove the remote control car door opener from her purse.
She pointed her outstretched arm towards the car, as if pointing a gun, and hit the remote control button. I heard the click of the car doors as they unlocked.
I said to myself, “I bet she feels safe now that her car door is opened”. However, at the same time, it dawned on me that if there were someone lurking on the other side of the car door, they also would have heard the click.
A stranger could easily have slipped into the unlocked car, hidden in the back waiting. Unaware, she would slide into the drivers seat, locked the car door and driven away.
She never would have realized that someone was in the car with her. She could have been brutally attacked, robbed and left for dead or killed and he could have fled the scene without anyone noticing.
Safety Tips To Follow Shopping & Parking
1. Seniors should not be complacent when they park in a parking lot. They should be aware of where they parked.
2. Look carefully so you can find the car immediately when you leave the store. Do not wander the parking lot. Figure it out before you leave the safety of the store.
3. Write down the number of the parking area when you park. Make sure you know what side of the store you are on if there are two or more entrances. You might go out the opposite side that you came into and never find the car. Be alert!. Write it down on a pad that you keep with you at all times. Be sure to have a pencil as well.
4. Do not park far away from the entrance of the parking lot especially if you are shopping alone. Stay as close as possible to the entrance door. If the lot is filled and the mall if crowded, then go back another time to shop. Safety is a priority at all times.
5. If it is dark when you leave the store, and before you walk out of the door, gather your wits and know exactly where you parked. Do not wander up and down a parking lot alone, especially at night. Contact the store or mall manager and ask for help finding your car.
6. Feel safe at any time of the day. Ask a salesperson inside the store for help getting your packages into your car. I do this most of the time, even during the day. Many women have been attacked on their way to the car in the daylight. I would rather be safe than a statistic.
7. Stand a distance away from the car. Check out at all sides of the car. Make sure no one is hiding on the floor. Take your remote car door opener, open the door and immediately get into the car and lock it.
If you notice anyone lurking near your car, quickly walk the other way. Do not use the remote car door opener. Use your voice and yell for help and/or use your cell phone and dial 911. The idea is for seniors of all ages to always be aware of their surroundings and to use their car door opener only when they are sure they are safe.