Avoid becoming a hijack victim: 19 tips that could save your life

By Drum Digital
01 June 2017

In South Africa, one hijacking occurs roughly every 32 minutes.

Over 12 000 vehicles were hijacked in SA between April and December 2016 – 14.9% more in 9 months than in the previous financial year

“We read and share shocking stats like these all too frequently,” says Bianca de Beer, spokesperson for insurance provider Dialdirect.

“There is a wealth of information available online around hijacking hotspots and the latest hijacking tactics. The more you know, the better prepared you will be.”

Here are their tips:

  • Use a GPS to avoid getting lost and becoming an easy target. Inform someone at your destination about your estimated time of arrival.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and look out for anything suspicious.
  • Limit distractions, such as checking or talking on your cell phone when walking to or from your car.
  • Avoid driving with windows open, keep the doors locked and lock valuables out of sight. Install smash-and-grab window protection if possible.
  • If you suspect you are being followed, make a couple of false turns. If someone is still following you, drive to the nearest police station.
  • Leave enough room between you and the car in front of you to avoid being boxed in.
  • Slow down in such a way that the light is green by the time you reach a traffic light, especially late at night – this prevents you coming to a complete stop and reduces your risk of becoming a target.
  • Always park in a safe, well-lit area.
  • If you sense you are in danger, use the panic button on your tracking device or contact your armed response company.
  • Check the back seat before getting into the car, even if you left it locked.
  • A well-maintained car is less likely to break down – keep your car in good condition. If you do break down then pull over, turn the hazard lights on and call for emergency assistance.
  • Avoid distractions while driving. Checking Facebook and Twitter in the car is a no-no!

What to do if confronted 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 hijacker’s 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

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