Are you driving the most hijacked car in the country?

Being hijacked is a fear we probably all share. One of the many fears we have to face in this country, unfortunately. An article I read over the weekend shared the list of most hijacked cars in South Africa. What I want to know is, what are the actual numbers though? Let me start by giving you the list of most hijacked cars in South Africa according to Ctrack: MOST HIJACKED CARS IN SOUTH AFRICA Volkswagen PoloToyota HiluxFord RangerBMW X5Chevrolet Spark THE TOP TEN MOST HIJACKED PASSENGER VEHICLE BRANDS IN SA Volkswagen Toyota Ford Citroen Kia Hyundai BMW Audi Renault Chevrolet The problem I have with these lists is that it sends panic to those who drive or own these cars. But what isn’t mentioned is the fact that the likes of Volkswagen and Toyota are by far the most popular brands in this country. The amount of cars they sell will translate in to more hijackings, it is a numbers thing. It doesn’t mean that if you drive a Volkswagen Polo, you are necessarily more likely to be hijacked. Surely?! Of course, you need to be cautious, but this goes for any car you’re driving. It is more about where and how you are driving than the car you are driving. Suzuki reported on the number of ways hijackers can target you, even if your car isn’t a high risk vehicle. Executive head of Dial Direct, Warwick Scott-Rodger, the top five hijacking trends right now are: 1. Vehicles hijacked at fuel stations Drivers filling up with fuel at fuel stations are often targeted by hijackers. . They approach the driver from his or her blindspot and force them out of the vehicle. It’s difficult for petrol attendants to intervene as many hijackers are armed. 2. The dangers of strangers Vehicle owners can be approached at social spots by strangers who befriend them, later spike their drinks, and then steal their keys and make off with their vehicle. 3. Fake blue lights Hijackers pose as traffic officers or police officials and get vehicle owners to pull over. They often drive in unmarked vehicles and once drivers pull over, they are overpowered and their vehicles are hijacked. 4. Hijacked at home Vehicle owners are overpowered in their homes and vehicles are taken along with other possessions. 5. Vehicles hijacked after driver is followed home Hijackers follow vehicles home, box owners in their driveway, and then hijack them. Hijackers often wait for the owner to enter the property and then block the security gate from closing. And like I mentioned earlier, there are certain areas you need to be more vigilant. JOHANNESBURG’S WORST HIJACKING AREAS Booysens – 250 Incidents Jeppe – 238 Incidents Ivory Park – 163 Incidents Dobsonville, Soweto – 155 Incidents Moffatview – 155 Incidents JHB Central – 151 Incidents Honeydew – 149 Incidents CAPE TOWN’S WORST HIJACKING AREAS Nyanga – 257 Incidents Harare – 173 Incidents Delft – 164 Incidents Gugulethu – 157 Incidents Khayelitsha – 145 Incidents Philippi East – 136 Incidents Lingelethu-West SAPS – 104 Incidents Mfuleni – 103 Incidents Kraaifontein – 63 Incidents Milnerton – 63 Incidents TSHWANE’S WORST HIJACKING AREAS Soshanguve – 192 Incidents RIETGAT – 156 Incidents Akasia – 148 Incidents DURBAN’S WORST HIGHJACKING AREAS Pinetown – 238 Incidents Umlazi – 153 Incidents Umbilo – 149 Incidents Berea – 129 Incidents Chatsworth – 128 Incidents Sydenham – 126 Incidents Newlands East – 108 Incidents ISIPINGO – 103 Incidents Greenwood Park – 97 Incidents Empangeni – 86 Incidents With 46 cars hijacked a day in this country, that’s one every 32 minutes, you really cannot afford to be lax about it. Don’t freak out if you drive a Volkswagen Polo or a Toyota Hilux, just be aware of your surroundings and take precaution. You might not be able to avoid a hijacking altogether, but there are things you can do that could save your life.

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What to do and how to avoid a hijacking

Hijacking statistics in this country are terrifying. At my previous job, I did a number of articles on what to do if you are hijacked and ways to avoid being hijacked altogether. I haven’t done that yet on my website and thought it was about time. MasterDrive is an incredible brand and they often send out safety tips to the media. It is from them that I have learnt how to avoid a hijacking and what to do if I find myself face-to-face with a hijacker. MASTERDRIVE TIPS ON AVOIDING A HIGHJACKING Don’t stop in your driveway You need to be stationary to be hijacked. While it may seem rather redundant to say so, coming to a complete standstill is something many drivers still do. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert explains: “Hijackers need you to be stationary which is why you should never pull into your driveway until the gate is open. Instead, wait in the road parallel to your driveway, ready to go at any moment, while the gate opens. “Where possible you should also try avoid stopping completely at intersections. If conditions allow, anticipate traffic light changes and drive slowly up to the intersection to avoid stopping at all. Remember, however, these techniques can only be effective if you are aware of your surroundings and spot a potential threat before it reaches your window,” says Herbert. Reverse parking Shopping centers are one of the areas where crime levels increase drastically over holiday periods. “If you find yourself at a shopping centre, find a parking space against a wall. Then reverse your car into the parking space. When you return to your car you can offload your purchases while keeping an eye open for potential threats. The wall at your back also prevents someone from surprising you from behind.” Practice “While none of us wants to think of being hijacked with our children, the reality is that we should. Before you find yourself in this situation, teach your children where to sit in the car and what to do if it does happen. Agree on a keyword which will mobilise car occupants into action. Remember a car is replaceable but a life isn’t. Your primary objective should be to get yourself and your family out the car as quickly and safely as possible.” MORE TIPS TO AVOID BEING HIJACKED Suzuki South Africa adds some tips: Park in a secure area, with good lighting and preferably a guard on duty. Have your keys ready, but out of sight, and only unlock your car when you’re close to it. Many Suzukis come with keyless entry which saves you from scrabbling around in your handbag in the dark. Keep your valuables out of sight, preferably in the boot. Drive with your windows closed and doors locked. Stay vigilant. Be aware of your surroundings and watch your mirrors for any suspicious vehicles or pedestrians. Avoid distractions, like checking your phone at the robot, as this leaves you vulnerable. Don’t remain stationary if you don’t need to. Slow down when approaching a red robot at night, so it’s green by the time you reach the intersection. Keep a safe following distance (approximately one car length) and when stopped at a robot, allow yourself space to manoeuvre in case you need to make a quick getaway. If you feel like you’re being followed, drive straight to your nearest police station or a busy, well lit public area. Change your route regularly to avoid criminals being able to identify your routine. Don’t turn into your driveway if you believe you’re being followed. Pull up parallel to your gate as it opens or check to see if you have been followed from a shopping mall. Let people know in advance what time you’ll be arriving so that someone can open and close the gate for you. Keep your own driveway well lit and cut back any overgrown shrubs which could obstruct the view of your surrounding WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE HIJACKED Remain calm and non-confrontational. Be compliant and do as the hijackers say. Hand over your car keys without hesitation. Appeal to their humanity and ask them to let you go. Although it’s difficult, try to absorb as much detail as possible (e.g. the age, facial features and physical build of the hijackers). Get as far away from the hijackers as possible before calling for help. Report the incident to your local police station and vehicle tracking company. Seek trauma counselling to help you recover from the ordeal. BUSINESS INSDER’S 5 THINGS TO DO IF YOU’RE HIJACKED Business Insider SA explains exactly what to do and I think these tips could potentially save your life. Derek Kirby, Ford South Africa’s advance and defensive driving expert, has one top tip when it comes to surviving a hijacking: “Remember that the car is insured!” 1. LIFT UP YOUR HANDS Lift both your hands up and spread your ten fingers wide apart to show you’re not holding anything, which sends a message that you are not a threat to the hijacker(s). 2. THE SEATBELT MANOEUVRE In such a high-stakes situation, one wrong or quick move could potentially lead to the pulling of a trigger out of panic. With both hands still raised, slowly reach for your seat belt with the left hand and rest it above your left thumb. Once you’ve reached for the seat belt, pull it forward using your left thumb with the four idle fingers spread, again, to show that you’re not holding anything. With the seat belt now up in front of you, being held up by your left thumb – pass your right hand under the seat belt to the left-side of it. And then gently slide down the seat belt with your left thumb to the buckle and unbuckle it (with the right hand still raised up – to show you’re not pulling any funny moves). 3. PULL UP THE HANDBRAKE AND PUT YOUR CAR IN TO PARK OR NEUTRAL

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