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Top hijacking prevention tips

Published on: 12 August 2014

Find  tips to prevent hijacks esp protecting your childrenIt goes without saying that hijacking statistics in South Africa are alarmingly high. Although there is no fool proof plan to avoid being hijacked, there are certain measures that you can take to limit the chances of being hijacked. We would like to share some helpful safety and precautionary tips from the National Hijack Prevention Academy (NHPA) that will hopefully keep you and your loved ones safe.

Top tip

According to the NHPA, the most important thing for women travelling with children to remember is, that the eldest child should always be seated behind the driver and the younger child to the left. If you are hijacked while your children are in the car, climb out of the car slowly and move to the back door directly behind the driver’s door. Place one foot firmly in the car (on the floor behind the driver’s seat) - as you lean across to retrieve the youngest child. The eldest child will probably cling to you and you can get both children out of the car at once.

Remember to stay as calm as possible. If the hijackers panic and the car starts moving before you have your children out of the car, your firm footing inside will throw your body weight into the car with your children, as opposed to you being left behind while the hijackers speed off.

Hijacking prevention tips

  • Research shows that most people relax the closer they get to their home and this is often when they are most vulnerable. Remember to be especially vigilant when pulling out of your driveway or when coming home.
  • If you have an electric gate, do not pull into your driveway before opening the gate. This can allow hijackers to box you in. Rather open your gate while your car is still in the road to allow you to make a quick getaway if necessary.
  • If you suspect that you are being followed, put your indicator on and slow down at least two to three houses prior to your home. By doing this, you force the vehicle behind you to pass and you can then get a better idea of their intentions.
  • If you need to stop in your driveway to manually open the gate, always leave the key in the ignition and the motor running unless you have a child in the car. If your child is in the car, take the key with you as you open the gate. The key is a valuable negotiating tool - the criminals want your car and you want your child.
  • When you stop in traffic, always make sure you can see the back wheels of the car in front of you. This gives you enough room to manoeuvre and escape if you have to, for whatever reason.

What to do if you are hijacked

  • The first and golden rule: Do not antagonise the hijackers. You need to show them that you are not a threat.
  • Lift up your arms to show that you have no weapon and that you will happily surrender.
  • Use your left arm to undo your seatbelt and put your car in neutral.
  • Be cautious not to use your right arm to lean across your body and undo your seatbelt or unlock the door. This could be construed as you reaching for a gun.
  • Do not turn off your car.
  • Get out slowly and try and angle your body sideways so that you are not facing a firearm head-on. Also remember to protect your head with your arms and to lift your shoulders to protect your neck area.
  • Do not turn your back on the hijackers - your organs are most exposed from the back.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the hijackers, but still try to take in what they are wearing, the sound of their voices, etc.

With anti-theft devices such as immobilisers, anti-hijacking and tracking devices, it has become increasingly harder to steal cars especially while parked – and this has resulted in an increase in hijacking rates. Remember to always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times, and be safe out there!