File picture: MasterDrive via Motorpress.
File picture: MasterDrive via Motorpress.

Be prepared - this could be a new hijacking method on SA highways

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Feb 3, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - Car hijackings are a frightening reality in South Africa, accounting for more than half of all vehicle crimes according to Tracker, which is why it’s important to remain vigilant at all times and pay attention to potential new methods.

Hijackings on freeway onramps is not known to be a common occurrence, but a video circulating on social media recently shows what could be a new hijacking method.

The video shows a female driver being boxed in by the vehicle in front and then hijacked by some of its occupants on the Beyers Naude onramp in Johannesburg. Although it’s not clear when the video was taken or how common this modus operandi is, MasterDrive managing director Eugene Herbert says it still serves as a reminder of the importance of hijack awareness whilst driving.

“Even though this was completely unexpected, there are still some basic techniques to help detect a potentially dangerous situation immediately and then give you the chance and space to escape that situation,” Herbert says.

“The driver was blocked in by the hijacker’s car that preceded her and soon by traffic behind her. A key way to prevent yourself from being in this position is to ensure that you keep at least three metres between yourself and the car in front of you when stationary. Admittedly, it would have been difficult to move around the hijackers in this video as their position appears to be carefully chosen but, in many instances, it could give you the space to move around quickly and safely.

“Quickly moving around a car that suddenly and expectedly stops, can make all the difference,” Herbert added. “Reacting this way, however, is something you need to train yourself to do. When driving, accept that someone stopping suddenly in this manner may be a threat and that your best response is to immediately move around the obstacle.

When to surrender

“Often, however, this may not be possible. Oncoming cars, or as is the case in this video, people (criminals or otherwise) make this impossible. In this instance, rather surrender the car than subject yourself to physical harm by fighting with the hijackers or driving straight at them. A car can be replaced but a life cannot nor can the consequences of a rash decision be reversed.”

“Our thoughts are with the driver of this car, and any other driver who has been in a similar situation, and consequently left shaken and traumatised,” Herbert concluded.

IOL Motoring

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