- May 2015

How to deal with a Hi-Jacking as a motorist

Motorist tips on how to deal with a hi-jacking

As a motorist in South Africa, the thought of being hi-jacked has played on the minds of many of us, it is an unfortunate reality. For many years now our country has been synonymous with car related crime and the sad thing is that it is true. Whilst this is the case, there is something you as a motorist can do to potentially prevent the situation and deal with it if it does happen to you. As a former car salesperson working for a very popular brand, I used to get the same question from my customers. “Is this car a hi-jack risk?” The brand I was working for had the stigma of being a very high risk car because many of the models that were sold were part of the top five most stolen vehicles. I used to tell my customers the same thing, it’s a numbers game. Yes the cars we sold were part of the top five but those same cars were also part of the top five most sold cars in the country. To answer that question simply though, the answer is yes, that car was a high risk vehicle but nowadays most cars are. The criminal mind is an interesting one, I am no expert on criminal activity but I would like to make a separation between two types today. There are “chancers” and then there are professionals. A chancer is someone who specializes in vulnerability, if he sees a “soft” target, he will pounce. The sad part about this is that chancers are most likely the type that will harm you. Simply because they are inexperienced and nervous, so if something doesn’t go according to plan they panic and act. The professionals operate differently, they study their victim and get to know their moves so that when the opportune time comes, they act swiftly and get what they want.

We don’t know the type of criminal we will encounter, so the best thing to do is always be alert. Whether you’re driving in the day or at night, always know your surroundings. Be on the lookout for suspicious activity around you, especially if you are alone and it’s a quiet area. There is a difference in being alert and paranoid, being alert takes planning. If you are entering a new area, plan your route before leaving, don’t look lost or unsure of where you are because you become a “soft” target. When you are travelling home or leaving work, be cautious of suspicious cars or people who seem like their up to no good. There are moments when the unavoidable happens, and you are in a compromising situation. If this is the case, the key is to cooperate. No cell phone, wedding ring or vehicle is worth a life so if the criminals want it, give it to them. Try not to panic, if you panic they panic or they get even more aggressive. More often than not the criminals want the possessions so don’t get in the way of that, again your life is priority. Don’t make eye contact; criminals don’t like loose ends, so if they feel that you could identify them to the police, they will want to make sure that you can’t. These are just a few tips that can help you if you are ever in a situation like this. In a perfect world we would just talk about nice cars, but the reality is that this is our reality, so it’s better to be a prepared motorist. Keep safe and Just.Drive