Vehicle hijackings are on the rise — here are eight tips to help you stay safe
Motorists are warned to be especially vigilant as according to the most recent SA crime statistics, hijackings are up by an alarming 13.3%. Claims statistics from Dialdirect Insurance also show that hijackers are back in business.
“We have noticed that hijackings are back at the same level they were pre-lockdown. To prevent becoming another statistic, we recommend the following tips,” says spokesperson for Dialdirect Bianca de Beer.
1: Stay alert — it’s easy to get distracted. Make sure you keep your eyes on the road and notice your surroundings.
2: If and when possible, invest in an electric gate. Many hijackings and home invasions happen just as you are entering or leaving your home. Having a well-lit driveway and an electric gate (that can switch to a battery during power failures) can help you get in and out safely.
3: Leave enough room between your car and the one in front to avoid being boxed in.
4: If you think that you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station. Don't go home.
5: When driving home alone, always phone ahead to give a relative, your spouse or partner your established time of arrival.
6: Know your neighbours and the cars they drive. This will help to identify any uncommon vehicles in your area.
7: Adopt a search pattern radius to scout before approaching your home.
8: Adjust your speed when approaching a traffic light so that you do not have to come to a complete stop.
There are also seven golden rules to follow if you are accosted by a hijacker:
1: Remain calm
2: Do not argue
3: Do not make sudden gestures
4: Avoid eye contact but try to remember what the carjacker looked like by identifying and remembering special features.
5: Comply with the hijackers directions (within reason)
6: Try to get away from the area as quickly as possible
7: Don’t be a hero — your life is worth more than your car
“As we all know, prevention is better than cure, but in order to prevent a hijacking situation one needs to be equipped with the correct information and knowledge. Remember that the greatest weapon in a hijacker’s arsenal is not his gun, but the belief that it won’t happen to us. Hijacking is a reality and you need to be prepared for this horrific eventuality,” concludes De Beer.