It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. You walked back into the parking lot, all ready to head home or to your next destination, only to realize you’re locked out. Maybe the weather is bad or you’re in a temporary location at a gas station.

The last thing you wanted to do was make a day of this. The first thing to do when realizing “I locked myself out of my car” is to assess the situation and how time-sensitive it is.

There are various strategies you can use, but some are much faster than others. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Is it an Emergency?

Is there a pet or child in the car who won’t do well if they sit for much longer? When you’re locked out it’s less of an issue if you’re the only one. If others are at risk your best bet is to call 911. They will arrive the fastest and can get your car unlocked, though it may require breaking a window. 

You aren’t charged for the service but you will need to fix any damage. This is the best option for a worst-case scenario but if you’re just locked out at a grocery store and have your phone, you ought to consider other options.

Road Side Assistance

If you are a member of AAA or another roadside assistance program, you can likely call to get your car unlocked. Often you’ll get one free unlock service each year. And you can also call an automotive locksmith if you don’t pay for one of those services. 

It isn’t free to have someone drive out and open your car, but it may be less disruptive than calling 911, and easier on your car. If you have some time to wait for a mechanic or locksmith, this is a good choice. And of course, if you have a spare car key at home you can call a family member or friend to help you out. 

DIY Post Locks

If you’re wondering “how to get my keys out of my locked car” but don’t want to use a service or call someone up, there are some options. If you have post locks you can try the shoelace trick, though it also requires you have a shoelace.

This entails tying it in a specific knot and using it to pull up the lock by flossing. It can be a little difficult but it might do the trick. 

DIY Other Locks

If you have a different kind of lock like a horizontal lock, you could use a coat hanger to try and jimmy the lock. This trick does work but depends on your type of car. Generally, older cars are easy to get into if you find you’re locked out, but newer cars do have some options.

Some newer cars allow you to sync with apps that can set your phone as a key. Opening your car with your phone is something you might not realize you can do, so look it up before you dismiss it as an option, especially if your car is new. 

“I Locked Myself Out of My Car”

The realizations and then acceptance of the thought “I locked myself out of my car” can next be met with panic about how to get back in. As long as you aren’t in an emergency, there are plenty of other options to get your keys back. And if it is an emergency, always call 911 right away. 

It can feel like a terrible inconvenience, but you’ll be back on the road in no time. And if you found this helpful, keep reading for more helpful car tips.