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Anti-Hijacking Tips from Phillip Kekana

Safety - 23 May 2019

Phillip Kekana, Road Safety Ambassador at Puma EnergyHi Jack! Might be a funny term used in many Leon Schuster movies, but it is a very different scenario to be involved in an actual hijacking. To help you become street smart and avoid catching yourself in this situation, here are some tips from Puma Energy’s Road Safety Ambassador, Phillip Kekana.

Phillip has been an advanced-driving instructor for over 15 years. The Soweto-born stuntman has taught some of South Africa`s great racing drivers like Gugu Zulu the tricks of the trade. Some of his career highlights include acting alongside the late Paul Walker of The Fast and Furious franchise, and he was also stunt driver for Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

This time, Kekana is going to teach us how to be mindful on the roads and what we should do if we ever get carjacked.

How to Avoid Being Hijacked

While the latest crime statistics from the South African Police Service’s show that the number of hijackings in South Africa has dropped. There is a car hijacked every 32 minutes and that equates to roughly 46 cars hijacked every day in our country.

Phillip Kekana works regularly with the Department of Community Safety in Gauteng to educate motorists on how to #BeRoadSafe by using S.M.A.R.T driving tips. Most importantly, motorists must always be alert while driving to try and avoid a hijacking scenario.

Here are some basic anti-hijacking safety tips that you can start implementing in your daily drive:

  • If you use a mapping service, you can share your route with your family members so they can track your journey. You should look at changing your routine and alternating routes so your schedule isn’t predictable by anyone who may be watching you and targeting your vehicle.
  • Be conscious when pulling out of your driveway or coming home at night, most hijackings occur close to home. Around 80% of hijackings happen in driveways. The hijackers have likely been watching your daily habits and choose a day when you are distracted to strike.
  • Always look in your rear-view mirror, if you suspect you are being followed, slow down at least two to three houses before you arrive at your house or intended destination. Try and force the vehicle behind you to pass or keep driving past your house and stop at a police station or flag down your local security company for help.
  • If you have an electric gate, always open your gate before you pull into your driveway. This will allow for a quick escape if necessary.
  • If you do not have an electric gate and your child is in the car, take the car key with you as you open the gate. The car key can be used as a valuable negotiating tool, the criminals will want your car and you want your child.
  • Don’t fall for the “tap tap” trap where the driver of another vehicle gently drives into the back of your car in traffic. Never get out of your car to look at the damage. Rather drive to a busy location or a police station. Signal the other driver to follow you. If it’s not a real accident they will seldom follow you to the busy location or the police station.
  • Another tactic that is often used by hijackers is forcing a gun into your open window while you are smoking. It is always a good idea to keep your windows closed when approaching a known hijacking hotspot.
  • Remember to test your tracking device and assist button frequently.

“Always be aware and constantly look at the other drivers and people around you. When you are involved in a car hijacking it is normal to panic. You must do your best to try and stay calm,” says Phillip Kekana.

What to do if you are Carjacked?

Parents will always be worried about their children in a hijacking situation and it is important to know how to protect yourself and your kids should you ever encounter a carjacking.

  • Always ensure your child is in the car seat directly behind the driver’s seat. If you are driving with two children, ensure your oldest child is in the seat behind you and your youngest child is in the car seat next to them.
  • Once the hijacking is in progress remember to breathe in and out. This will help you to remain calm and collected. Listen to the hijacker and avoid antagonising them. Show them you are not a threat; you are happy to give them your car if they spare your life.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the hijackers, this will make them uncomfortable and if they know you can identify them then you become at risk of becoming a hostage.
  • Hijackers want access to your car and will do anything to get your vehicle, so it is better to give them the car and escape the scene unharmed. They often use a sparkplug to break your window. If this happens you will experience a loud bang, so you need to try not to panic. Give them the keys and put your hazards on to signal to the other motorists behind you that something is wrong, hopefully, the driver behind you will alert the police.
  • Always lift up your arms to show you have no weapon on you and that you are harmless.
  • Slowly use your left arm to undo your seatbelt and put your car in neutral, jerky and fast movements can be perceived as a threat or cause the hijackers to react.
  • It is not a good idea to turn off your car, this is likely to anger the hijackers as they want to make a quick getaway.
  • If you are hijacked while your children are in the car, climb out of the vehicle slowly and tell the hijackers calmly that you need to take both your children out. Move to the back door directly behind the driver’s door.
  • Remember that if you are travelling with the entire family, your eldest child should always be seated behind the driver and the younger child to the left. To remove them out of the car:
    • Take your older child out of the car, then place one foot firmly in the car on the floor behind the driver’s seat, as you lean across to retrieve the youngest child.
    • Your eldest child will probably cling to you while you are trying to get to your younger child.
    • Reassure the older child that everything is fine, while taking out the younger child.
    • Back away from the car slowly with both of your children.
  • If the hijackers panic and the vehicle starts moving before you have your children out of the car, your firm footing in the vehicle will throw your body weight into the car with your children, as opposed to you being left behind and the hijackers speeding off with your children.
  • Turning your back on the hijackers is dangerous; always keep your head down not looking at the hijackers and keep your body facing them. Remember that your organs are most exposed from the back.

“Your car can always be replaced, but you only have one life. Please remember to remain composed. Once the hijackers are out of sight, you can then report the hijacking to the authorities, and hopefully, the motorists that you signalled took note of the perpetrators to apprehend the criminals,” states Phillip Kekana.

If you feel that you need a hijacking prevention course, it is definitely a good idea to look at the following options:

  1. National Hijack Prevention Academy
  2. Hijack Prevention Training
  3. BMW Safety Experience
  4. Toyota Anti-hijack course
  5. VW Defensive Driving and Hi-jack Prevention Course

Hijacking Hotspots to Look out for

Driving at night naturally puts you at risk as you are less likely to see a hijacker coming out of a nearby bush or from behind a road sign. Robots or traffic lights are known hotspots for hijackers, gear down when you approach a traffic light at night and slowly make your way to the line getting ready to accelerate when the traffic light turns green.

Gauteng dominates the hijacking list; however, Nyanga in the Western Cape has the highest number of carjackings.

HIJACKINGS BY PROVINCE

Province

Reported carjackings 2018

Per day

Gauteng

8 269

23

KwaZulu Natal

2 698

7

Western Cape

2 182

6

Eastern Cape

999

3

Mpumalanga

896

2

Limpopo

584

2

North West

425

1

Free State

235

1

Northern Cape

<1

South Africa

276

45

Source:  BusinessTech

HIJACKINGS BY STATION

Station

Province

Reported carjackings 2018

Change from 2017

Nyanga

Western Cape

276

+7.4%

Jeppe

Gauteng

262

+10.1%

Booysens

Gauteng

198

-20.8%

Honeydew

Gauteng

184

+23.5%

Moffatview

Gauteng

183

+18.1%

Delft

Western Cape

175

+6.7%

Johannesburg Central

Gauteng

169

+11.9%

Kempton Park

Gauteng

168

+15.1%

Vosloorus

Gauteng

158

+83.7%

Tembisa

Gauteng

156

+32.2%

Umlazi

KwaZulu Natal

150

-2.0%

Khayelitsha

Western Cape

144

-0.7%

Cleveland

Gauteng

143

+23.3%

Dobsonville

Gauteng

142

-8.4%

Kwazakele

Eastern Cape

 139

-8.6%

Moroka

Gauteng

131

+13.9%

Mfuleni

Western Cape

126

+22.3%

Roodepoort

Gauteng

124

+34.8%

Harare

Western Cape

124

-28.3%

Bramley

Gauteng

123

+28.1%

Mamelodi East

Gauteng

123

+0.8%

New Brighton

Eastern Cape

122

+2.5%

Mondeor

Gauteng

121

-9.0%

Alexandra

Gauteng

120

+12.1%

Soshanguve

Gauteng

120

-37.5%

Pinetown

KwaZulu Natal

117

-50.8%

Atteridgeville

Gauteng

113

+20.2%

Ivory Park

Gauteng

112

-31.3%

Florida

Gauteng

109

+21.1%

Rietgat

Gauteng

108

-30.8%

Source:  BusinessTech 

After a Hijacking Seek Trauma Counselling

After being involved in a hijacking situation a professional trauma counsellor can help you cope. You probably will experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and go through the five stages of trauma.

The counsellor will assist you to deal with the following:

  1. Denial – how did this happen to me?
  2. Anger – they stole my car and I still need to pay the monthly repayments
  3. Bargaining – if only I had taken a different route
  4. Depression – the incident goes around in my head it makes me so sad
  5. Acceptance – this happened to me and I have learnt to be more aware

Find a trauma counsellor within two days of the incident to ensure you start talking about what happened and to identify any triggers. All traumas are different, but you should see a counsellor for roughly three months after the incident. This depends on how serious and violent the hijacking was, in severe cases you may have to see a counsellor once a week until you feel brave to conquer the roads again. Remember that you experienced a shocking crime and need to go through all the stages until you feel you can drive again. It may take weeks or months before you feel you are able to drive to the road or the place where the incident happened, but the moment you pass the site without anxiety, you will know that you have successfully overcome the trauma.

At Supa Quick, we aim to keep South Africans safe on the road. A well-maintained vehicle will not stall when you need to get away from a stressful situation like a hijacking. Visit your nearest Supa Quick fitment centre for a free vehicle safety check to ensure your car is ready for anything!

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. The views expressed here are not that of Supa Quick. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on this site is at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the content on this site.

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