Did you know that 45 cars are hijacked every day in South Africa? That’s one hijacking every 30 minutes. If you’ve ever experienced a carjacking, you’ll know just how terrifying the experience can be – often only lasting a few seconds from start to finish. Criminals are unpredictable by their nature, but most hijackers are just interested in your car and belongings. By keeping the below in mind, you stand a good chance of making it out of a hijacking situation in one piece.
1. Raise both hands
Unless both of your hands are in the correct steering wheel positions, a hijacker will struggle to see what you are doing inside the car during the early stages of a hijacking. If they think you’re grabbing for a weapon or making a call, it could end badly for you.
The first thing you want to do when you realise that you’re in a real hijacking situation is to raise both hands above your shoulders. This will clearly indicate to your hijacker that you do not have a weapon or anything else in your hands. This also applies to any passengers that might be driving with you.
2. Avoid eye contact
It might not come across in the moment, but most criminals feel a deep sense of shame for their actions. Making eye contact with one during a crime appeals to their humanity, possibly planting a seed of doubt that could leave them conflicted and maybe even agitated.
The last thing you want to do while being hijacked is agitate the guy with the gun. Try keep your eyes down and away from their face, while keeping them in your peripheral vision.
3. No sudden movements
A hijacking is one of the most intense, nerve-wrecking experiences you will ever have to endure. Tension is running high among both the criminals and the victims, and one wrong move can spell disaster for you and your passengers.
Quick, rapid movements will spook a hijacker into thinking you’re going to fight back. Stay calm, take deep breaths, and make sure your movements are steady and controlled instead of twitchy and unpredictable.
4. Let go of your vehicle
Is your vehicle insured against car theft? It really should be, because this means one less thing to worry about during or after you are hijacked. It’s just a car, and it isn’t worth you or anyone else losing their life over.
Insurance is a big plus, but so is a tracking device. With these two measures in place, you can step out of your vehicle, with your hands up, knowing that you’re either going to claim on insurance and replace the vehicle (or your tracking company is going to recover it for you).
5. Don’t try to be a hero
Arrogance during a hijacking is a one-way ticket to trouble town. No matter how big you are from years in the gym, your biceps won’t stop a bullet. One big mistake people make during hijackings is to think that they can fight off the criminals. Unfortunately, they only make that mistake once.
Even if you can’t see a firearm in your assailant’s hands, assume that he or she is carrying one. Remember that they just want your vehicle – they aren’t there specifically to harm or kill you. If you do as they say and keep your cool, you will likely walk away from a hijacking alive.
General hijack prevention tips
- Always drive with your windows shut and your doors locked.
- When stopping at a robot or stop sign, leave at least half a car’s length in space between you and the car in front of you.
- As a rule, never stop your vehicle for hitchhikers or people you don’t know.
- Keep your cell phone on your person when driving. Hijackers won’t let you grab your phone from inside the car once you’ve exited.
- When driving on your day-to-day routes, always know where your nearest police station is located.
- Be aware of your surroundings and scan constantly for threats when your vehicle is standing still. Sometimes just being aware can allow you to have the chance to take evasive action and escape the whole ordeal.
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