There is an increasing demand for vehicles with buyers already lined up, prior to hijacking, stolen to demand. These buyers are in neighbouring countries and are often sold for drugs as well as money.
The most vulnerable time for the motorist is on a Friday at the end of the day, when people are tired and less alert and typically between 16:00-20:00. Most hijackings take place when the engine is idling, on the drive, at the security gate in residential areas. They also occur whilst stationary at traffic lights or when people stop on the side of the road to make or receive a phone call. Outside schools at drop off and collection, when loading shopping or picking up passengers, advertising your car for sale or getting pulled over by bogus police or traffic officers.
So how can you avoid being hijacked?
A few minutes from home be extra alert, switch the radio off, pay attention to strangers on your street and if necessary drive on pass and whilst waiting for your security gate to close behind you, put the car into reverse as it causes confusion .
When you are driving know your destination, keep your windows closed and your doors locked. Place all valuables in the boot and your handbag in the foo twell, but preferably under your seat.
Avoid late night driving, alter your route if you drive it regularly. Leave half a vehicle length in front of you when you stop at lights or a junction, slow down for red lights, try to keep moving as it turns to green. At stop signs, check the road ahead as you approach, but it is not an excuse to break the rules of the road by running a red light or a stop sign. You’ll need to justify and prove you felt concerned for your safety or you’ll get a ticket like everyone else.
If you’re flagged over by an unmarked police car, indicate you will stop but they must follow you to the nearest police station.
If you do find yourself in a position of being hijacked, following these simple steps could save your life.
Don’t argue, fight, and don’t make eye contact. Raise your hands to the side of your head and place them together on the seat belt and slide them slowly down towards the belt buckle release and step out of the vehicle. If you have your children in the car, take your keys with you and ask if you can remove the children from the vehicle.
If you can afford it purchase and fit safety film, the window won’t smash immediately and if you’ve left have a vehicle gap in front of you, you’ll have room to manoeuvre out of the traffic and away from the threat.
Always carry your ID and licence with you. If you’re an expat make sure your licence is officially translated into English.
Do not pick up hitchhikers, stop for injured animals or stop to remove objects from the road, this is a common ploy used by hijackers to get you to stop your vehicle.