Low Cost Self Defense for
There are tools that many professional truck drivers use in the course of their work that can also be used as a weapon when it comes to protecting your home security.
Pictured at right are three different types of tire checkers on sale at a truck stop. Notice that the one on the far right looks like a short baseball bat.
The photo below shows rubber mallets and metal-headed hammers, also on sale at a truck stop.
Speaking of the tire checker that looks like a baseball bat, there is no law that we know of that prohibits you from carrying a bat in your truck. However, if you are pulled over, your truck is searched, and someone finds a baseball bat, it will look far less suspicious if you also carry a baseball and glove with you.
One of the drawbacks to carrying a bat in your truck and using it as a home security device is its length. You may not have the room necessary inside your truck to deliver a powerful enough "swing" to disable an intruder. Then again, it may be useful to "jab" at an intruder or block a blow that is being delivered to you.
Along the same lines as these, some drivers carry a broom in their trucks to sweep out trailers from time to time. Depending on the configuration of your truck, you may be able to store a broom handle horizontally on the floor along the front edge of your bunk and the broom head separately under the bunk, accessible from the sidebox. Alternatively, you can store the broom handle vertically in the corner behind the passenger's seat. A broom handle can be used as a striking device in self defense.
We also recently became aware of a device called the "Unbreakable Umbrella" from Real-Self-Defense.com. We do not own one of these and note that they are expensive (much more so than a compact or folding umbrella one can buy at Wal-Mart); but the product looks to be worthwhile as both a weather shield and self defense product.
In its listing on Amazon.com (a link which is unavailable at the time of this writing), the Unbreakable Umbrella has the following features:
There are two different models of this umbrella, which Vicki describes as "the hook" (like you would see on the head of a cane) and "the knob."
Vicki has been thoroughly impressed with the videos she has seen about this product, including the one embedded below, which shows in some demonstrations someone defending himself against an attacker with this weapon in hand.
Spraying Devices for Self Defense
You may have seen an email circulating that recommends using a certain type of pesticide as self defense. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever do so. As the EPA states on its website, "It is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling."
That being said, there are certain sprays like pepper spray that are intended for self defense and make excellent personal security and home security devices. We think you can imagine, however, the problems associated with using this inside your truck. Still, if you're being attacked, it's better than nothing.
One professional driver we know carries a spray canister of 18% pepper spray in a keychain holster, as shown on the left.
This particular pepper spray was acquired at a flea market in Georgia where no identification was required to conduct the transaction and cash was perfectly acceptable as a payment method.
The trucker ended up buying four canisters of the 18% pepper spray, which is supposed to be the strongest concentration available and also the concentration that law enforcement uses.
The driver showed us one of his unopened packages of Cheetah pepper spray.
At the bottom of the front of the package, pictured at right, you can see the words "Maximum Strength."
The description of the product reads:
The holster has a keychain-type ring on it so that it can be used as a keychain or placed on one.
The back of the package contains more information:
"This Pepper Spray is most effective when it makes contact with the assailant's eyes, nose and mouth. Wind and other conditions such as rain may effect [sic] the spray's range. Do not spray into the wind if possible, to avoid getting the spray in your own eyes."
"HOW TO USE:
1. Unlock the red actuator button by sliding the flat red tab to the right so the red tab aligns with the small cut out of the black cap. CAUTION: Pepper Spray is now armed.
2. Point the pepper spray release hole toward the face of the assailant or the target.
3. Push down firmly on the red tab marked press using short bursts. Pepper spray will squirt about 8 to 12 feet in stream.
STRONG IRRITANT UNDER PRESSURE. DO NOT PUNCTURE.
AVOID CONTACT WITH EYES AND SKIN. IN CASE OF CONTACT FLUSH EYES AND SKIN WITH COLD WATER. CONSULT A DOCTOR IF IRRITATION PERSISTS.
DO NOT CARRY PEPPER SPRAY ON COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT.
DO NOT EXPOSE TO HEAT, FIRE OR IN DIRECT SUNSHINE. DO NOT STORE ABOVE 120°F."
Cutting or Stabbing Devices for Self Defense
When you are being attacked, think survival. Items that can be used to cut or stab can also be used in an attack against you. They may range from an ordinary Swiss army knife to a switchblade, from a table knife to a steak knife.
When Vicki took a self-defense course years ago, the instructor said that even an ordinary ball point pen (the kind one writes with) can be used against an attacker. There are, of course, places on the body where delivering a blow can be downright disabling or deadly. Exercise caution when using one of these.
Hand-to-Hand Moves for Self Defense
When you have been confronted by an attacker or intruder, it is useful to know some maneuvers that can disable him, especially if you have no weapons readily available.
You may recall that Mr. Spock in "Star Trek" and James West of "The Wild Wild West" had a tendency to use a person's pressure points to disable others. A search that Vicki did for information on such topics as "Mr. Spock pressure point" or "pressure point disable someone", brought results from which she could theoretically learn all sorts of bare-handed self defense techniques.
It must be noted that you may require some training to find disabling pressure points, one of which is shown in the video embedded below.
The following video shows how to get an attacker to release a choke hold, whether from the front or behind.
And this last embedded video shows how to apply a "wrist lock."
Calling for Help
Many professional drivers carry cell phones with them so that they may call for help in emergency situations. Depending on many factors, help may be unlikely to arrive for at least several minutes following such a call.
Obviously, for a cell phone to work, it must be kept charged. When in the truck, we kept ours charged by using an inverter, either a 12-volt outlet inverter or one connected directly to the batteries.
An alternative to let others know that you need assistance (or to help chase intruders away) is a very loud whistle like the one shown at right. It is best to have one that can be used year-round (even in cold climates) and has no moving parts.
Another alternative is to use your truck's air horn to signal your distress. We've never heard anyone (or heard of anyone) doing this, but then again, we've never been near anyone whose truck was invaded.
Obviously, there is a difference between offense and defense. We hope that you never have to use any of the self defense products or measures described on this page. Being prepared is critical. You may wish to employ multiple strategies to avoid being targeted (some of which we describe on our home security page). But if you are targeted, we have provided some self defense options.
We will be frank that there is not much that a driver can do when someone shoots at you through one of your truck's windows, as Jason Rivenburg was in 2009 (link)(link). While we have outlined a number of safety precautions you can utilize to minimize your risk, work out the plan that is right for you in your situation.
Money saving tip: Think proactively rather than reactively regarding your own protection. Work to prevent problems rather than try to solve them once they arise. Think of the layers of self defense in terms of concentric circles, like many layers of guards in place around a great treasure (you being the treasure). For ourselves, we would want to dissuade or fend off an attacker as far away from us as possible.
With the right training, it is possible to disable an attacker or intruder with common everyday items such as those you use in the course of your work, household items you have in your truck or your bare hands. As the embedded videos show, the size of the attacker is not as important as the way you leverage your body or where you strike your attacker.
Some self defense products require only a one-time purchase (such as a non-firing weapon) whereas others may require ongoing expenses (such as a spray or firing weapon that requires bullets). While weighing your options, consider all of the costs that will be involved in the short term and long term.
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