It can be hard to keep track of every single thing in your life. We all make mistakes and if you are in a hurry, it is easy get out of your car and shut the door before you realize that you have left your keys inside. Many people have had the experience of returning to their car to see the keys dangling from the ignition and the door locked.

It is easy to panic under these circumstances. Unfortunately, panicked reactions are seldom the most reasonable ones. Try to stay control your emotions as you go through your options. Obviously, being locked out of your vehicle is stressful, but panic and anger only make things worse.

Remember, locking the keys in the car is a common mistake that most drivers make at least once in their lives, but if you make that mistake, don’t make another big one.

Do Not Try to Break into Your Car Yourself

Don’t attempt to get into your car using a bobby pin or coat hanger. This solution involves the use of tools that can easily damage your car.

Instead, Explore Your Options

Many modern vehicles are built with automatic safety features that keep you from locking your keys in the car. Some have services like OnStar that can open the car remotely. The problem is that many of us are still driving older models and do not yet have these luxuries.

If you are driving an older car and you lock your keys inside, the options available to you include:

Option 1 — Calling 911: Many people who wind up with their keys locked in their car call the police to come to their location and help fix the problem. In most cases, the police will be able to unlock the car, but they can also call a tow truck if they cannot. Of course, you will be paying for this service. Calling the police should be a last resort and one that you should use only if you feel that you are in immediate danger.

Option 2 — Calling the Dealership: This will mean taking the car to the dealer on a flatbed, which can be costly. Replacing the key through the dealer can also be very expensive depending on the model you drive.

Option 3 — Calling Your Locksmith (BEST Option): When you call your locksmith, explain your situation and give them your location. Note that there are scam artists out there who call themselves locksmiths, so you will want to do some research to make sure that you are dealing with a company that has a good reputation.

Why Call a Locksmith?

A professional locksmith will respond to your call promptly. In addition, they will have the tools to get into your car quickly and without damaging it. They may even be able to perform key cutting and programming on site.

How to Prevent Future Lockouts

Keep an extra key somewhere on your vehicle using a magnetic lockbox. Naturally, you will want to find a location that a thief would not look. This does pose a security risk, but you have to weigh this against the cost of being locked out.

Get a key that can open the car but not start it. This will allow you to get into your and retrieve your keys. Keep this key separate from your ignition key.

Avoid getting into the habit of locking your car while you are still inside it. Lock it on the outside so that you can always be certain that you have your keys on you.

Getting locked out of your car is a stressful experience, but there are solutions. A reputable locksmith can get you back in your car and on your way in no time.