In South Africa, reports of hijackings have increased by a whopping 55% in the last four years.
There have been a reported 16 325 vehicle hijackings between April and March 2019. Between 2017 and 2018, 50 663 vehicles were stolen and 16 325 car hijackings and 1 202 truck hijackings were reported around South Africa. This is a terrifying statistic.
So what do you do if you ever fall victim to this terrible crime?
Firstly, make sure that you and the people with you have not been hurt. See to any injuries first and call the police and an ambulance if necessary.
Once you have reported the incident to the police, you will receive a case number. This is what you will need for insurance purposes.
Wheels 24 says that if the police find your vehicle, it’s important to remember that the process doesn’t just end there. There is a specific procedure that needs to be followed for a successful reinstatement of the stolen vehicle and insurance claims.
Activate your vehicle’s tracking device, if one has been fitted.
You may need to relay the story of the hijacking several times – to the police and the insurer, and possibly family and friends who will want to check on you. This, on top of the actual incident, can be a very traumatic experience so it might be helpful to seek some sort of counselling to help you deal with the fall-out.
How to avoid hijackings
Keep an eye out for anything suspicious, especially when approaching your home and pulling into your driveway. If you think you are being followed, drive past your house and go to the nearest police station.
If you have an electric gate, do not pull into your driveway before opening the gate. Rather open your gate while your car is still on the road to allow a quick getaway if necessary.
Do not pick up hitchhikers, especially at night. Keep your car in first gear when nearing traffic lights in the evening, always be ready to pull away if anyone tries to open your car door. Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you at a traffic stop and ensure there is enough space to swerve and pull away.