What to do in the event of a hijacking



What to do in the event of a hijacking

The unfortunate reality is that South Africa has one of the highest incidents of hijackings in the world. On average 40 cars are hijacked everyday, with 50 percent of these occurring in Gauteng. These aren’t great stats. And although, most people don’t want to believe that it’ll ever happen to them, it’s a good idea to be aware of what to do in the event. So here are a few tips to help you, should you ever be in the situation.


Approaching or entering your driveway

If you consider 68 percent of all hijackings occur in driveways, then it’s imperative that you learn to become vigilant when leaving or returning home. On your way home, switch off the radio and concentrate on your surroundings. If you notice any suspicious vehicles behind you, don’t go straight home. Rather drive in a large square around the neighbourhood to determine whether you’re being followed. Stop in the road while you wait for your gate to open. This lessens the chance of someone blocking off your exit: once you’re in the driveway, you’re committed. When the gate has opened, quickly manoeuvre the vehicle behind it and slip the car into reverse while the gate closes behind you. Your reverse lights will light up the area behind your car and also create confusion for any would-be hijackers. Also make sure that your driveway is well-lit and clear from any shrubbery that might make a good hiding spot.

If you don’t have an electric gate and need to open the gate manually, switch the car off and leave the key in the ignition when opening the gate. The only exception to this rule is when you have small children, then take the key with you – it becomes a good bargaining chip. The perpetrators want your car. And you want your children.


When driving

Many of us have bought and drive used cars in Gauteng. Many of these vehicles may have alarms, immobilisers or trackers. It’s important to make note of these things when purchasing a vehicle and learn about where the device sits in the car. This may help immensely in retrieving the vehicle. When driving, always know your destination and how to get there. In the age of Google Maps, getting lost is difficult, but intentional and confident driving could mean you don’t become a victim. When stopping behind another vehicle, try to maintain half a car’s length between you and the car in front: it’ll afford you some wiggle room if you need to make an emergency exit. Drive with your doors locked and if you ever do feel threatened, take evasive action to get out of the situation: Honk your horn, screech your tires, drive through red robots if you have to. The commotion is likely to spook any attackers and give you time to get away.


What to do if hijacked

It seems like a daft cliche, but don’t panic. Try to remain calm. Your car can be replaced, your life can’t. Don’t antagonise the hijackers or try to fight. Rather show them that you’re not a threat, show them your hands and give them what they want. Use your left hand to undo your seatbelt and put your car in neutral before climbing out. You’ll want to face up to the thieves as your organs are most exposed from the back. Try not to make eye contact with the perpetrators but take note of as many details as possible.

If you keep a firearm close and you want to fight back, then you’re likely to end as a statistic (or at the very least a viral YouTube sensation). Seriously, all the heroes are dead. And your life is worth far more than any car.

There is no general rulebook when it comes to how you should act in the event of a hijacking. It’s probably sensible to respond instinctively to events as they unfold. No situation or criminal is the same, and every situation is going to offer different challenges. Try to be alert at all times and trust yourself to respond to the situation as best you can.