In the wake of violent hijackings that continue to plague our day to day reality, South Africans are increasingly on edge on the road – and rightly so. Every 32 minutes, a motorist is hijacked somewhere in South Africa – that’s a horrifying 46 cars that are hijacked every day.

Chief executive of Secure Rite Security, Craig Austen comments: “The increasing number of reported hijackings is a worrying number.  It remains a traumatic experience for victims – whether there is physical harm or not.” Austen adds: “Secure Rite Security remain focused on not only keeping the community safe but also on ensuring better awareness of potential threats around us.”

Here are 10 easy ways our community members can reduce chances of being hijacked. Study these and ensure they imprint in our minds and our behaviour.

1. The 5-minute rule
Make it a habit to focus on your surroundings when you are 5 minutes from your home. Be extra alert. Switch off the car radio and concentrate on your surroundings. If you have noticed any vehicle behind you, do not pull into your driveway or even attempt to open your security gate. Drive to your nearest police station.

2. Keep it in reverse
Remember to stop your vehicle just on the inside of the gate and select reverse whilst waiting for the gate to close. This creates confusion and may buy you a few seconds for the gate to close completely behind you. Try not to pull into your driveway, rather wait in the road with your indicator on while observing your surroundings before turning into your driveway or garage.

3. Light it up
Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear from shrubbery where perpetrators can hide.

4. Extra eyes
When returning home after dark, ensure that an outside light is on, or have someone meet you at the gate.

5. Watch out for traps
If you are having trouble with your motorised gate when you arrive home, do not get out of your vehicle to open your gate manually as this may be a trap. Alert your security company to meet you at your residence and inspect the property before you enter.

6. Keep those eyes peeled
When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles/persons. This is very important as the majority of hijackers approach their victims in home driveways.

7. Know where your nearest police station is
Only pull over when it’s safe. Some syndicates use bogus police or traffic officers. In the event of being approached by an unmarked SAPS vehicle, you should switch on your hazards, put your hand out of the window and indicate that they should follow you.

8. Don’t stop if you don’t feel safe
If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation, drive to your nearest police station and instruct the person to follow you there.

9. Reverse and drive away
If you encounter obstacles in the road such as rocks or tyres, do not get out of your vehicle to remove them. Rather reverse and drive away in the opposite direction.

10. The escape gap
When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front of your vehicle to make an emergency escape if necessary.

With so many distractions around us, sometimes we can miss the most obvious warning signs. Keep vigilant, be observant and you will reduce the chances of being a victim of a hijacking.

Always remember: your life and safety, and that of those who are with you, are worth far more than a vehicle.

Call Secure Rite Security for all your safety and layered security needs. We offer everything from home- based systems, armed response and mobile panic buttons.

Call us on 0860 10 30 99.
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