Updated: How to avoid a carjacking

With vehicle crime returning to pre-Covid levels, it’s more important than ever to remain vigilant while on the road, and to ensure your car and possessions are properly insured.

With car jackings still rife in South Africa, it’s better to be cautious and take preventative steps. Here’s what you can do:

  Stay alert at all times

See who’s behind you, and notice what’s happening around you, especially if you’re close to home. Some people get followed home from a shopping centre or airport, so keep a lookout. If you ever feel unsafe, head to a police station or garage. While it’s illegal to use your cell phone when driving, many still do. Avoid this not only for your safety, but so that you’re not distracted and can follow everything that’s happening around you.

  Change your routes

Try different routes home to deter any criminals who could be following your patterns.

  Get an electric gate

When you get out your vehicle to open and close your gate, you and your car are vulnerable. An electric gate is best – ensure you open and close it swiftly, as lots of hijackings happen in this time. If you can, get a remote panic button, or ask your security company to meet you at your house, and ensure you get in safely.

  Slow your speed when approaching traffic lights

Change your speed when coming to a traffic light so that you don’t have to come to a complete stop.

  Beware of fake accidents or people needing help

Carjackers often use decoys like people flagging you down for help. If it looks or feels suspicious, rather move on.

  Keep your car locked and your windows closed

Use an app or digital platform to share your journey with friends or family

Allow your friends or family to track your journey so they can be aware of anything unusual if you don’t arrive on time.

  Don’t get boxed in

When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a car’s length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.

   If you are accosted by a hijacker:

  • Remain calm
  • Don’t fight
  • Don’t make sudden gestures
  • Do not make sudden gestures
  • Avoid eye contact with the hijackers
  • Give them what they want – your life is worth more than your car
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