Before stealing cars, hijackers thoroughly plan what to do and how to do it. For your own safety, you have to stay alert and know how to protect yourself. CarZar find out important information you should know to avoid being hijacked:
First and foremost, in order to protect yourself, you must be aware of different types of hijackings:
- Freight Hijacking: It is a commercial vehicle hijacked, not only to get the vehicle, but also its cargo. The things in the vehicle are more valuable, than the car itself.
- Transport Hijacking: The vehicle is taken to use it as transport during their crime activities such as gun running, bank robberies, drug dealing, burglaries, etc. After taking out parts from the vehicle – it may be dumped somewhere.
- Showmanship Hijacking: A gang of friends persuade one another to hijack cars in order to prove that they are ‘cool’. This type of hijacking is caused by peer pressure.
- Operational Hijacking: These kind of hijackers usually have experience in car theft and have selling connections within the motorcar industry – they receive and pay cash for stolen vehicles or spare parts.
- Syndicate Hijacking: The most organised of all and often has international connections. A syndicate is often backed by a lot of money, especially if there are international links and makes full use of any potential to bribe the authorities in order to protect their operations
Highly hijacking spots to be aware of:
- Most hijackings take place in the driveways – hijackers like areas with easy to escape routes.
- Stay alert at any traffic sign or intersection – hijacking is highly spotted in those kind of places.
- When you want to stop the vehicle and answer your phone, be careful of places you stop at. Hijackers like to wait next to the road for any car that might stop. Do not be the victim.
- Hijackings also happen at post offices and parking areas. When exiting the petrol station, you may be followed leaving with the objective to hijack your vehicle where it is quiet.
- Sometimes, hijackers use a vehicle to force the victim off the road – always stay vigilant on the road.
- Always watch your surroundings – when dropping off or picking up children hijacking might take place.
- When off-loading or loading passengers – always make sure there are other cars around to avoid being hijacked.
- When selling your vehicle – be careful on how you advertise it, other hijackers take chances by pretending to be a buyer.
In South Africa, out of all nine provinces – there are three provinces most likely to be hijacked. Look at the statistics below and be watchful:
WATCH: A lady hijacked on her driveway in Constantia Kloof, Johannesburg. YouTube video by Crime Watch.
Approaching and entering your driveway:
- When driving towards your house – 2km away be extra alert of your surroundings.
- Remember to stop your car on the inside of the gate and select reverse whilst waiting for the gate to close. This will creates confusion as if you are going out again, not knowing you are waiting for it to close.
- Always be on the lookout for your driveway and street before you enter or leave your house.
- Ensure your driveway is clear and no one can hide.
- When you see strangers next to your house, do not turn into your driveway, pass and come back later.
- Know your neighbours – in case of an emergency you may need their help.
- When returning home at night, ensure that an outside light is on, or have someone meet you at the gate. Check with your armed response company if they are really who they claim to be.
- When opening the gate of your house, ensure the road is clear and nobody suspicious. Stop in front of your driveway. Do not switch off the vehicle, leave the keys on, get out of the vehicle and try not to create suspicion. Open the gate, drive in and immediately close the gate.
- If you have small children in the vehicle – for their safety always take the key with you. You might need the key as a ‘negotiating deal’. You want your children and the hijackers want your vehicle.
- If your children are older – when opening the gate they must get out of the vehicle with you, so that you are all separated from the vehicle should an attack take place.
Safety While Driving
While you drive you can ensure your safety by doing the following:
- When stopped in traffic, leave enough space to pull out from behind the car you are following.
- Roll up the windows and lock all the doors while you drive.
- Always be cautious when you pass intersections crowded with beggars, street kids, street vendors and newspaper sellers.
- Keep your possessions such as laptop, handbag, mobile phone out of sight.
- Be careful of distraction while driving – one person might talk to you, only to be tricked and robbed by their partners on the other side.
- If you wish to communicate with someone alongside the car, open your window only few centimetres.
- NEVER give lifts to strangers.
- Be alert of anyone who signals that there is something wrong with your vehicle, unless you know or suspect there is and it’s dangerous to drive on.
- If you feel or suspect you are being followed, drive on to the nearest police station.
- When you are in a potentially dangerous situations sound the horn.
- Avoid distractions while driving – Do not listen to loud music or radio, be aware of your surroundings, and never tempt to check your phone messages or social media updates while in traffic.
- Avoid interacting with strangers on the road – Women attract attention simply by being women drivers. No matter what type of car you drive, just for being a woman someone may try to talk with you on the road. Try to trick and rob you.
- Avoid strangers trying to get your attention – ignore the person and drive on, or turn at the next intersection.
Noticing you’re followed?
- If you notice a car following you, turn into a different route than the one you usually take. Whilst doing that, be aware of road signs and landmarks so that you remember your surroundings.
- If the other vehicle still turns into the same road as you, take a few more twists and turns to be sure that it’s following you. If it still follows you – it is safe to say you are being followed. Drive to the nearest police station and report it.
- Do not stop or allow the other driver to pull up beside you, drive on until you get to a safe place.
- If the police station is far, drive to the nearest fuel station or convenience centre. In an emergency there is indeed strength in numbers!
- Always have an emergency kit, snacks and water in your car.
- Ensure your phone is fully charged and you have a car charger with you – it will make things easier for you to make an emergency calls.
- When your car break down – pull aside, turn on the hazard lights and call for emergency assistance.
- Always be aware of strangers offering to help you – stay in your vehicle and roll down the window only few centimetres and tell them the help is on the way. If they still insist to help, allow them to make the phone call again. Do not get out of your vehicle.
- If someone tries to get into your car, attract attention by sounding your horn.
- Never accept a hike from a stranger. Just to be safe, no matter how friendly they help may seem, you need to stay in your vehicle until help arrives.
- When a stranger offers to help you – never follow them, you might find yourself on an unfamiliar road or street. Rather wait in your vehicle and ask for directions.
- If you have a flat tyre in a dark or dangerous location, drive slowly to the nearest petrol station. Don’t worry about the tyre, even if it’s ruined, as long as you are safe – your life is more important.
- Should your vehicle be hit from behind and it seems to be deliberate, ensure your doors are locked and stay in the car. Wait for the police to arrive.
- For your safety – when police arrive to assist you, open the window just enough to speak to them and ask to see their police IDS. Never assume that an unmarked vehicle with flashing lights is a police car.
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