Tips to prevent a vehicle hijacking | Western Cape Government

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Tips to prevent a vehicle hijacking

A vehicle hijacking can happen at any time and any place, but with a little precaution you can ensure that you are a little safer from a possible hijack situation. Mom with kids in car
While the circumstances of each ordeal may differ it’s important for you to know how hijackers think and operate so that you can adequately protect yourself against a possible hijacking of your car, motorcycle or truck. Knowing what targets they’re likely to go for can help you protect yourself.

Most hijackings take place: 
  • at any time during the day and night,
  • in high crime areas or hot spots,
  • in the driveways of your home or business while the driver is waiting for the gate to open or close,
  • when a vehicle is stationary at the side of the road – e.g. when you’re talking on-your cell phone,
  • in quiet parking areas where you can be easily followed, and/or
  • while you’re loading or unloading passengers or goods and the vehicle is idling.

18 tips to keep in mind

There is no guarantee what action will prevent a hijacking, but here are some tips to keep in mind: 

  1. Always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. 
  2. When returning to your parked car, be aware of the surroundings.  
  3. Walk to your car confidently. Have your key ready but not visible. Only unlock your car when you’re close by.
  4. Don’t talk on the phone as you walk to/from your vehicle. 
  5. Check the back seat before getting into the car, even if you left it locked. 
    Travel safety
  6. Plan the safest route. Drive with a GPS and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you somewhere. This may mean adding up to 20 minutes to your travelling time, and may also add to your mileage. 
  7. Avoid high crime areas or hotspots. 
  8. Change your routes and your schedule if possible on a regular basis.
  9. Try not to drive late at night and/or the early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.
  10. Always check the rear view mirror to see if you’re being followed, and if you suspect you are, then drive to your nearest police station or busy public area, but don’t go home.
  11. Keep your doors locked at all times and avoid driving with your windows open.
  12. Put all valuables out of sight especially handbags and laptops. Place these items in the boot.
  13. If possible, install a smash-and-grab window film for extra protection on windows. 
  14. When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green. 
  15. Try to stop about 5m behind the car in front of you at a stop sign or traffic light – it makes it easier to get away if trouble arises.
  16. If another vehicle comes up alongside you and tries to flag you down by indicating something is wrong with your vehicle. Slow down but don’t stop. Head for a safe location where you can check the potential problem.
  17. Get to know your neighbours and beware of any unfamiliar cars in your street.
  18. When you arrive at home or at your workplace make sure the driveway is well-lit and that there are no bushes where someone can hide.

In the event of a hijacking 

Remember that no matter how outraged you may feel at the time, your main objective must be to look after your personal safety and that of your passengers. The golden rule is to not lose your temper or antagonise the hijackers. You need to show them you’re not a threat. 

Here are 8 dos and don’ts in the event of a hijacking: 

Truck driver
  1. Keep your hands clearly visible and lift up your arms to show you have no weapon and will surrender. 
  2. Don’t turn your vehicle off at any time.
  3. Don’t make any sudden gestures with your hands (this might startle the hijackers).
  4. Try to listen and understand exactly what the hijackers want from you.
  5. Don’t resist. Surrender your vehicle and move away, leaving everything (except your children) in the vehicle.
  6. Calmly alert them if there are any children / other passengers in the car and request for them to be safely removed from the vehicle while reassuring that the vehicle can be taken.
  7. Don’t turn your back on the hijackers – remain aware of their whereabouts and your surroundings at all time.
  8. Avoid direct eye contact with the hijackers but still try to take in what they’re wearing, the sound of their voices, etc. to assist the police with their investigation. 

How to report a hijacking

In the event of being hijacked you should try to get to a safe place and contact a police station nearest to where the hijacking took place for assistance.

If you or your passengers have any injuries call the National Medical Emergency Number at 10177 for medical assistance.

The content on this page was last updated on 5 August 2015