LOCKING your doors and carrying capsicum spray is all well and good for thwarting carjackers, but drivers in the US have another potent weapon at their disposal - choosing a car with a manual transmission.
It seems that driving a manual is likely to reduce your risk of being held at gunpoint and forced to hand your car over to criminals.
The theory was borne out in two separate cases in the US recently where would-be car thieves put their plans on hold after realising the car they'd targeted didn't shift gears on its own.
According to overseas reports, a woman leaving a petrol station was stopped at gunpoint earlier this week by a would-be car thief in Denver, Colorado.
After taking the woman's purse and keys to her late-model Audi, the perpetrator got into the car and attempted to drive off … until it became clear that he did not know how to use the manual gearbox. The humiliated hoodlum chose to flee the scene rather than ask for a quick driving lesson.
It follows another case in Florida earlier this month where a man and woman were left bewildered after being victims of a similar confrontation.
Two armed men reportedly appeared at the window of the couple's 2007 Nissan and ordered them out of their car at gunpoint. The carjackers then took hold of the car until they discovered a third pedal.
According to the victims, the two men gave up on stealing the car and fled the scene of the crime on foot.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.