Hijackings are up by 14.5%. We advise South Africans to be aware that there has been an alarming rise in ‘blue-light’ hijackings.
To prevent becoming another statistic Warwick Scott-Rodger, Head of Dialdirect, recommends the following easy tips to stay safe:
- Stay alert. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re travelling the same route every day. Make sure you keep your eyes on the road and notice your surroundings.
- Be connected. If you’re travelling to an area you know to be unsafe, keep a spare, cheap phone on you. Load it with some airtime, save a few emergency contacts onto it and turn it off to make the battery last. If your car and valuables are stolen, you will still be able to call for help.
- Mix up your routes. Use your GPS to try different roads home to throw off any criminals casing your home or your car.
- Get 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.
- Make space. Leave enough room between your car and the one in front to avoid being boxed in.
- Check behind you. If you think that you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or another safe, public place. Don’t go home.
- Be vigilant. At unusual or unexpected roadblocks, keep windows closed and doors locked and ask for the police or traffic officer’s identity card.
- Be ready. If you sense you are in danger, hit the button on your tracking device if you have one.
- Warn someone. When driving home alone, always phone ahead to give a relative, husband or partner your established time of arrival.
- Stranger danger. Get to know your neighbours and the cars they drive. This will help to identify any uncommon vehicles in your area.
- Be aware. Adopt a search pattern radius to scout before approaching your home.
- Slow down. Adjust your speed when approaching a traffic light so that you do not have to come to a complete stop.
There are golden rules to follow if you are accosted by a hijacker:
- Remain calm
- Do not argue
- Do not make sudden gestures
- Avoid eye contact but try to remember what the carjacker looked like by identifying and remembering special features
- Comply with the hijackers directions (within reason)
- Try and get away from the area as quickly as possible
- Don’t be a hero – your life is worth more than your car
Prevention is better than cure. To prevent a hijacking situation one needs to be equipped with the correct information and knowledge. The greatest weapon in a hijacker’s arsenal is not his gun, but your belief that it won’t happen to you. “Hijacking is a reality and you need to be prepared for this horrific eventuality,” Scott-Rodger.
Article taken from Telesure website