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to avoid a hijack situation
and entering your driveway
entering your vehicle and while driving, the following should be considered
you should know
you are taken hostage by hijackers
confronted by hijackers
Protecting Yourself Against Hijackings
Amidst the increase in hijackings in South Africa, it is very
important to know some of the following aspects:
How do the hijackers operate?
When am I most at risk?
How do I avoid being hijacked?
What do I do when confronted?
Specialists Richard and Melinda Rossouw of the National
Hijack Prevention Academy [NHPA] have a vast experience in avoidance measures
and also present driver training modules such as (a) Collision Avoidance/Skidpan
and (b) Defensive Driving. They have made available to the public via their
the following information on how to avoid a hijack situation and have kindly
agreed for the Department to reproduce the information. It is recommended that
you contact them via their website should you require further information on
these and other courses.
2km from your house strategy. Be extra alert. Switch off
the car radio and concentrate on your surroundings. If you have noticed any
vehicle behind you, use the techniques you have learned during the hijack
prevention & survival course to determine whether you are being
Remember to stop your vehicle just on the inside of the
gate and select reverse whilst waiting for the gate to close. This creates
confusion and may buy you a few seconds for the gate to close completely
Check your driveway and street before you leave or enter
Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear from
shrubbery where perpetrators can hide.
Be aware of unknown pedestrians close to your residential
address – do not turn into your driveway – pass and go back later.
Liaise with your neighbours – know them.
Be aware of vehicles parked close to your address with
occupants inside. It might be perpetrators observing the area.
Be alert if your animals do not greet you at the gate as
usual. It might be that the perpetrators over-powered them.
Phone your home and ask for someone to make sure your
driveway is safe and to open and close the gate for you.
When returning home after dark, ensure that an outside
light is on, or have someone meet you at the gate. Check with your armed
response company if they are rendering rendezvous services.
If at any time you have to open the gate yourself, switch
off the vehicle, leave the key in the ignition and close the door. Then open
If you have small children in the vehicle, take the key
with you (this is the only exception). You then need the key as a
"negotiating tool". The perpetrators want your vehicle and you
want your children.
If your children are older, it is advised that they exit
the vehicle with you when opening the gate so that you are all separated
from the vehicle should a hijack occur.
Check rear-view mirror to ensure you are not being
When exiting your vehicle, be cautious and aware of
surrounding obstructions and shrubbery that may be concealing a hijacker.
Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious
of your surroundings. Sleeping in a stationary vehicle is particularly
When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for
suspicious vehicles / persons. This is very important as the majority of
hijackers approach their victims in home driveways.
Have your key ready, but not visible.
Inspect the outside and inside of the vehicle before
unlocking. (Tyre, tyre, number plate, other side of the vehicle – as
explained during the hijack prevention & survival course)
Know your destination and directions to it; and be alert
should you get lost.
Always drive with your windows closed and doors locked.
Make a mental note of any Police Stations in the
When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a
vehicle length in front of your vehicle to make an emergency escape if
When dropping off a passenger, make sure they are safely
in their own vehicle before departing.
Avoid driving through high crime or unfamiliar areas.
Avoid driving late at night / early hours of the morning
when the roads are quiet.
Drive in the centre lane away from pedestrians where
If possible, never drive alone.
NEVER, EVER pick up hitchhikers or strangers. (VERY
Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a
If approached by a stranger while in your vehicle, drive
off if possible or use your hooter to attract attention.
Lock your doors, close your windows and do not have bags
or briefcases visible in the vehicle. Use the boot for this. Cell phone
should also not be visible.
There are times and days that these items are visible in
the vehicle. Try and open the window they might "smash & grab"
about 3 cm, so the window can absorb the sudden impact. If you’ve left
your stopping distance you may be able to escape.
Be constantly on the lookout for suspicious looking
characters or vehicles and do not hesitate to report them to the SAPS.
Always be on the alert for potential danger, and be on
the lookout for possible escape routes and safe refuge along the way.
When approaching a red traffic light at night, slow down
so that you only reach it when it turns green.
Do not take anything from people standing at traffic
lights or places where they gather (job seekers on gathering points).
Perpetrators are usually standing among these people.
Make sure you are not followed. If you suspect you are
being followed, drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area.
If any person or vehicle in a high-risk area arouses your
suspicions, treat it as hostile and take appropriate action, e.g. when
approaching a red traffic light, slow down, check for oncoming traffic and
if clear, drive through the intersection. A fine will be preferable to an
attack. Treat stop streets in the same way. Thereafter call for assistance
if necessary. Always report these incidents to the SAPS. But remember, this
is not an excuse to ignore the rules of the road. The onus will be on
you to prove in a court of law that you had justifiable reason to act the
way you did and this is only in the case of a real, life-threatening
Always have your identity document and driver’s license
in your possession as well as a pen and notebook to take necessary notes.
If possible, avoid driving in the dark. Hijackers may
stage a minor accident, for e.g. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and
you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation,
indicate he / she must follow you and drive to the nearest Police Station or
any busy public area for help.
Never open your vehicle window or door for any stranger.
If a suspicious person is near your unoccupied vehicle, do not approach the
vehicle. Walk to the nearest public area and ask for assistance.
If you encounter obstacles in the road, e.g. rocks, tyres,
do not get out of your vehicle to remove them. Reverse and drive away in the
Do not stop to eat or rest on deserted roads.
Do not leave your vehicle unattended at a filling
Cell phones should be carried on the body. Perpetrators
will not allow you to remove your cell phone and valuables from the vehicle.
If your vehicle is hijacked or stolen, promptly report it to
the SAPS. Make sure you have the vehicle details: model, colour, vehicle
identification and registration numbers available to assist with the recovery of
When forced to drive with a hijacker, be observant without
making direct eye contact and try to memorise as many details as possible. It is
important to describe the hijacker as accurately as possible. When observing a
hijacker, take note of his head and face – the shape of the eyes, mouth, nose
and ears. Take note of possible irregularities. Look at the hair, skin colour,
complexion and possible scars and tattoos. Observe the build, gender, body
movement, clothing and any conversation that may take place.
Remember the direction from which they came and fled, as
well as the time and place the incident happened.
Remember to make mental and physical notes immediately
after the incident to ensure accurate and detailed information for the
It can be helpful to have a survival plan in the back of your
mind should such an incident occur. It is difficult not to become paranoid about
being taken hostage. However, it is just as easy to become complacent.
One very important fact to remember when being hijacked:
Should the conclusion of the drama be by way of armed intervention, and
escape is not possible, immediately drop to the ground, remain still and obey
the orders of the leader.
Do not lose your temper, threaten or challenge the
DO EXACTLY AS TOLD BY THE HIJACKERS!
Do not resist, especially if the hijacker has a weapon.
Surrender your vehicle and move away. Try to put as much distance between
yourself and the hijacker(s) as speedily as possible.
Do not reach for your purse or valuables. Leave
everything in the vehicle.
Try to remain calm at all times and do not show signs of
Be compliant to all demands set by the perpetrator.
Do not make eye contact with the hijacker. He may
perceive this behaviour as a threat and retaliate aggressively.
Keep your hands still and visible to the hijacker, so as
to give him assurance of your passive content.
Do not speak too fast (if you are able to talk) and do
not make sudden movements.
Gather as much information as possible without posing a
How many people?
How many firearms and description thereof?
What were the perpetrators wearing (clothing)?
To which direction did they drive off?
Take note of the language they use (the accent).
Phone the SA Police Service on 0860010111. They will
dispatch the medical services if needed. Other emergency numbers you could
phone are 112 ANY Network (Vodacom+MTN+Cell C) or 147 Vodacom ONLY.
Activate the vehicle-tracking device if the vehicle is
fitted with one.
For more information on the Hijack Prevention & Survival
Course, please contact:
Richard & Melinda Brussow
Cell: 073 1612 344
Tel & Fax: (012) 661 1388