According to AAA, carjackings were highest in August in 2012.
Of the 473 carjacking incidents of 2012, 54 occurred in the month of August alone, the release said.
Throughout 2012, men were carjacked in 67% of the instances. Men also comprised 95% of the perpetrators in the crimes, AAA said.
Most of the carjackings occurred on the weekend at highway exits between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m. in 2012, according to the release.
"According to research, most carjacking cases nationwide, the victim is alone when the attack occurs. Carjacking is a crime of opportunity - a thief searching for the most vulnerable prey,” Ragina Cooper-Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic's Manager of Public and Government Affairs said.
To protect yourself from carjackings, AAA offers advice:
- Awareness is your best line of defense. Look around, especially at places where you slow down or stop.
- Avoid poorly lit, isolated areas.
- Approach your car with the key in hand.
- If you are bumped from behind, motion to the other driver and go to a police station, 24-hour store, hospital, or firehouse.
- Lock your doors and keep your windows rolled up, especially when stopped in traffic.
- When you're coming to a stop, leave enough room to maneuver around other cars, especially if you sense trouble and need to get away.
- Drive in the center lane to make it harder for would-be carjackers to approach the car.
- Avoid driving alone. Go with someone whenever possible, especially at night.
- Stay on main roads and highways - and don't forget to use AAA's TripTik® Travel Planner, free to all motorists.
- When stopping for breaks, never let children go to the restroom alone. Always lock vehicle doors, even if you'll only be gone for a few minutes.
- Do not stop to help a disabled vehicle. Instead, call for help.
- If stopping during nighttime travel, choose a well-lit, populated facility. Park where your vehicle can be seen.
- If approached by someone while your vehicle is stopped, keep your doors locked and only roll your window down enough to hear what the person is saying.
- Follow your instincts. If you feel threatened in any way, trust that intuition and get out of harm's way.
- Carry a fully-charged mobile phone in case of emergencies.
If you find yourself a victim of a carjacking, AAA advises:
- Never get in the car with the carjacker. If the carjacker threatens you with a gun or other weapon, give up your car or throw the keys as far as you can. Don't argue. Your life is worth more than the vehicle.
- If the carjacker has a gun…run. Get away from the area as quickly as possible.
- If the carjacker forces you to drive, buckle up, and consider staging a fender bender at an intersection.
- Try to remember what the carjacker looked like - sex, race, age, hair, eye color, special features, and clothes.
- Report the crime immediately to the police.