HOW TO HANDLE A HIJACKING
BEING AWARE AND ALERT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS IS PERHAPS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO AVOID A POTENTIAL HIJACKING, SAYS LOCAL SECURITY COMPANY FIDELITY ADT.
Stay alert and alive
Verena Hulme, District Manager at Fidelity ADT advises, “Always make sure you know what is happening around your vehicle so that you can see any danger coming before it is too late.”
Prevention is always better than cure, she says. Hulme recommends the following steps to prevent any hijackrelated incidents from possibly occurring: • When parking, reverse park for a quick
exit (also at home).
• Always be particularly vigilant when you leave a shopping centre. Hijackers could have spotters working in the centre to alert of any big purchases or cash withdrawals.
• Keeping your car keys in hand when approaching your vehicle, do not fumble in your handbag as this shows you are off guard.
• Look out for any suspicious objects
near your car before getting in.
• If you suspect you are being followed, put your indicator on and slow down at least two to three houses before your home. If you are being followed, you will force the vehicle behind you to pass, which may cause the criminals to lose interest.
• Always make sure you can see the back wheels of the car in front of you when you stop in the traffic, as this gives you enough room to manoeuvre and escape.
• 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. Only then should you take the key with you as you open the gate. The key is a valuable negotiating tool – they want your car and you want your child. • Adjust your speed when approaching a traffic light so that you do not have to come to a complete stop where at all possible.
• Don’t fall for the “tap-tap” trap where
a driver taps the back of your car in
traffic. Never get out of your car on the scene to assess the damage but rather drive to a busy location.
• If you live in a secure complex with security guards, do not be fooled into thinking you are safe. You can easily be followed into your complex, so always remain vigilant. Research shows that most people relax the closer they get to home, and this is often when they are most vulnerable.
• Phone ahead to give a relative or friend
your expected time of arrival.
• Getting to know your neighbours and the cars they drive will help to identify any uncommon vehicles in your area. Hulme, however, advises that if you do find yourself face-to-face with a hijacker, “The golden rule is to not antagonise the hijackers, you need to show them you are not a threat. Lift up your arms to show you have no weapon and will surrender. Use your left arm to undo your seatbelt and put your car in neutral”. Do not turn off your car, she says, and get out slowly.
“Try and angle your body sideways, so you are not facing a firearm head-on. Also, remember to protect your head with your arms and avoid direct eye contact with the hijackers, but try to take in as much information as possible– such as what they are wearing, and the sound of their voices. Most importantly, try to remain calm”.
Hulme says these are the seven “golden rules” to follow if you are being held up 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 retaining any special features.
• Comply with the hijackers’ directions
• Try and get away from the area as
quickly as possible.
• Don’t be a hero – your life is worth
more than your car!