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Vehicle hijackings are on the rise — here are eight tips to help you stay safe

Latest SA crime statistics reveal that vehicle hijackings are up 13.3%.
Latest SA crime statistics reveal that vehicle hijackings are up 13.3%.
Image: Chayantorn Tongmorn / 123rf

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.

© TimesLIVE

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