According to statistics released by the SAPS at the beginning of March, a total of 12 743 vehicles were hijacked in South Africa between April and December 2016 – that’s 14.9% more than in the 2015/16 financial year.
This means that 1416 vehicles are hijacked in South Africa each month – one every 32 minutes. Something that prompts you to think twice before saying: “It won’t happen to me”.
“We read and share shocking stats like these all too frequently, but it’s an absolute must to treat information that could help to increase vigilance, and perhaps even curb hijackings, with the same priority,” says Bianca de Beer, spokesperson for Dialdirect. “There is a wealth of information available online around hi-jacking hotspots and the latest hijacking tactics. The more you know, the better prepared you will be.”
Dialdirect offers the following practical tips to avoid becoming a hijacking statistic:
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 cellphone, 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.
Slowdown 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!
There are also seven golden rules to follow if you are confronted by a hijacker:
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
The following video of the recent attempted hijacking of a Porsche driver in Johannesburg