Blog: Vehicle Weaponization – Safety Tips

North Carolina, Israel, France, Ohio, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, United Kingdom (again), United Kingdom (again), Spain, Canada. From 2006 to most recently as we post this, October 1, 2017, there has been an attack in each of these locations involving a vehicle that has been weaponized… In layman’s terms, driving a heavy vehicle into a crowd of people at a high rate of speed.  It is easy to plan, undetectable, and devastatingly effective.  And terrorists know vehicle weaponization works.  

In a 2016 edition of Rumiya, Isis’ version of a company newsletter, it is explained in detail how to plan, coordinate, and execute a mass killing, utilizing vehicles and knives.  Here is a brief excerpt of that article (please be advised, it is not a pleasant excerpt):

Vehicle Attacks

Though being an essential part of modern life, very few actually comprehend the deadly and destructive capability of the motor vehicle and its capacity of reaping large numbers of casualties if used in a premeditated manner. This was superbly demonstrated in the attack launched by the brother Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel who, while traveling at the speed of approximately 90 kilometers per hour, plowed his 19-ton load-bearing truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, harvesting through his attack the slaughter of 86 Crusader citizens and injuring 434 more.

The method of such an attack is that a vehicle is plunged at a high speed into a large congregation of kufar, smashing their bodies with the vehicle’s strong outer frame, while advancing forward – crushing their heads, torsos, and limbs under the vehicle’s wheels and chassis – and leaving behind a trail of carnage.

These guys certainly paint a picture, huh? So what does this mean?  Well, essentially it is Isis doing what Isis does best…..marketing.  Isis has been able to use this type of propaganda to recruit citizens already living in the areas they wish to attack.  Terrorism is being outsourced, and it works.  So let’s get back to vehicle attacks.  

The right person behind the wheel of an automobile becomes the smartest weapon on the planet.  It has the ability to pick and change routes and targets at will.  The attack is undetectable until the last minute, and the effects speak for themselves.  So what can you do?  Sadly, there is very little that can be done to prevent these attacks, so the focus must be on what to do when it happens to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.  Here are a few tips to help you.

  1. Try to always walk in the opposite direction of traffic.  If a vehicle swerves onto the sidewalk, you will at least be able to see it happen, and will be able to quickly react.
  2. Try to pick a spot on the street that has concrete barriers or cars parked along the road.  The more stuff between you and the moving vehicles, the better.  The driver is human, and will most likely pick the path of least resistance when selecting a target. Always be the most difficult target.  Also, don’t loiter or hang around on unprotected roads, if there is a clear line of sight between you and moving vehicles, it’s time to move along.
  3. PAY ATTENTION.  If you hear a revving engine, squealing tires, sounds of collision or panic, find out where it is coming from, and quickly!  In this moment, time and movement is life.  Give yourself time to move, and you have a chance.
  4. Don’t rush to help.  I know this may be hard to hear, but once you get to a safe location, reassess what is going on before you try to help anyone.  In most of these attacks, the driver exited the vehicle and began wielding a knife.  This means you may be attacked while attempting to render aid to someone else.  Make sure the scene is safe before you decide to approach.
  5. If you carry concealed, LEAVE IT IN THE HOLSTER unless absolutely needed.  It will be a chaotic scene with a ton of moving parts, so the last thing you want is to be confused for the person causing the chaos.
  6. If the vehicle is coming, run to the sides, not in the opposite direction.  You will never outrun the vehicle, so use physics to your advantage.  If you run directly to either side, and ideally towards the vehicle, you will decrease the ability for the vehicle to turn after you.  Most vehicles used are big and lack maneuverability.  You can use this to your advantage.  This diagram will help explain.  

These attacks are hard to deter and hard to give advice on.  Every incident is different and brings with it unique challenges and situations.  Keep good situational awareness, follow your gut instincts, and remember to always think about the If / Then.  “If this happens……Then I will do this”.  Prepare your mind, and you will be less likely to freeze when the bad stuff happens.  Stay safe out there.  

Thanks for taking the time, we hope you take away some safety tips and for more visit opssecuritygroup.com/blog.