Dealing with being locked out

Castlegar News b-weekly columnist Gord Turner remembers too many unpleasant episodes involving car keys

Recently, I was waiting in my vehicle for my wife who was shopping in Safeway, and I saw four people walk over to a vehicle. They stood around it, giving one of the guys the gears. It seems he locked his keys in the vehicle.

Locking your keys in your vehicle is not a problem if you carry a spare set. It’s also not a problem if you have an extra set of keys at home and you have a friend nearby who can drive you home to get them.

Unfortunately, in this situation, neither of the above scenarios applied. So the owner went to look for a coat hanger to put down the inside of his truck window.  Because one of the windows had been left an inch or two open, the girls with their slender arms tried to reach in far enough to turn the window further down. No luck!

Having been in similar situations many times myself, I went over to help them. As an exercise in sympathy, I gave them a string of rope and a long piece of rubber with a hook on the end. I couldn’t get my arm through the gap in the window, so I let the girls work at it.  Soon after that, I had to leave.

I don’t know how long it took them to get into the vehicle. With the window partway down, it probably didn’t take too long. However, this situation does point out a basic necessity—carry a second set of keys.

The set doesn’t have to have all your keys on it—just a simple vehicle door-key that can fit into your wallet, handbag, or pocket.

An old trick that a lot of owners used to do was to purchase a magnetic key holder, insert the extra key, and place it under the vehicle in a place fairly easy to get at. That way if you locked your first set of keys in your car, you simply needed to crawl under the chassis and grab the extra key.

Nowadays, I carry an extra set of keys in my pocket—just in case.  I wish I had done so in the past. I guess I left my keys in the ignition or on the car seat at least a dozen times over the years.  Many times I had my family with me, and because in those times we weren’t rolling in money, I always tried to get into the vehicle myself—usually using a coat hanger.

Most of those times, I did get into the vehicle to retrieve my keys.  Sometimes it took an hour or so working that coat hanger up and down inside the window. Often the seal around the window would be damaged and the paint on the door might be scraped a bit. The task was extremely frustrating and time-consuming.

It’s interesting that when you’re in the locked out dilemma, a crowd usually gathers to watch. In some instances, one or two guys insist on helping. They often work at the window from a different angle. Many of them had stories to tell about times they were locked out and how difficult it was.  Their stories passed the time while we were probing and prying to get inside the vehicle.

Perhaps the best way to ensure you are not stuck for too long with your keys locked inside the vehicle is to become a member of BCAA, an organization that is set up to bring help your way quickly. Don’t, however, leave your cell phone in the vehicle, too. That would be double lock out.

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