What do you if you accidentally lock your keys in the car

If you've ever locked yourself out of your car, you're not alone. AAA says it gets calls from about 4 million motorists per year - up half a million more than just a few years ago.

Consumer Reports has some tips on how to quickly and safely get back on the road.

Being in a hurry is one of the most common reasons car keys end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"In a panic, in a rush or not wanting to be late and accidentally lock their keys in the car," said one motorist.

Don't panic. Many gas stations can help, as owner Alex Fernandez does, inflating a balloon, then slipping a long hook into the door to unlock it.

He has a good record of rescuing keys.

"99% of the time we can," said Alex.

But what if you're locked out with no gas station nearby? First think about your safety.

"If you think you are in danger, call 911. The police may be able to unlock your car door themselves. Or they will find someone who will," said Consumer Reports' Sarah Goralski.

If you're in a safe spot, take advantage of AAA or any free roadside assistance program you may have.

"You can call a towing service, but make sure that they have the right equipment to unlock your car. And keep in mind that you'll probably have to pay for it yourself," said Sarah.

"It cost me $125 and about an hour and a half late to work," said one driver.

Also, Consider some higher-tech solutions. A keypad with a code comes on some models of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury.

Then there are lockout services like GMs OnStar that cost around $200 dollars per year. With OnStar, you call an 800 number and a technician clicks open the door.

There are also apps that let you open the car with your phone.

Of course, that won't work if the phone is in the car with the keys.

Finally, having an extra key may seem old school, but it's tried and true.

You can get a discreet metal box to attach to the exterior of the car, stash a key in your wallet or purse, or have a friend keep one for you.

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