Fidelity ADT has warned that South Africans should avoid becoming complacent as they approach complexes and residential estates.
According to Charnel Hattingh, communications manager at Fidelity ADT, the security company has continued to see incidents of follow-home hijackings and opportunistic hijackings throughout the year.
She advised drivers to wait in the road and not in their driveways if they suspect they are being followed.
“Wait for any cars to pass you and wait until the car is a far distance away before entering your property, she said.
“If you have a panic button or a mobile security app, have it on hand just in case.”
Hattingh said that when you have children in the car, the eldest child should be seated behind the driver and the youngest to the left.
“The National Hijack Prevention Academy recommends this. The reason for this is if you are hijacked and need to get out of the car, you can move quickly from the driver’s door to the door directly behind it,” she said.
“You can reach across the eldest child to unstrap the younger child. The eldest child can cling to you as you remove them both together.”
Hattingh said that if you need to stop in your driveway to manually open the gate, remember to always leave the key in the ignition and the motor running unless you have a child in the car.
“Only then should you take the key with you as you open the gate. The key is a valuable negotiating tool – they want your car and you want your child.”
Handing over your car
In the unfortunate event that you are hijacked, there are several procedures to follow to give your car over in a non-threatening manner.
“The first and golden rule is to not antagonise the hijackers who are probably more scared than you are,” Hattingh said.
“You need to show them you are not a threat. Lift up your arms to show you have no weapon and will surrender. Use your left arm to undo your seatbelt and put your car in neutral.”
Hattingh said that it was also important not to turn off your car and get out slowly.
“Try and angle your body sideways so you are not facing a firearm head-on. Also remember to protect your head with your arms and avoid direct eye contact with the hijackers but try to take in what they are wearing, the sound of their voices, etc.
“Most importantly try to remain calm,” she said.