Last month one man was seriously injured and another was killed following hijacking incidents. The risk of hijacking has always been a major concern in South Africa and often has tragic consequences for many families. The question many South Africans ask themselves how can we keep ourselves safe should we face a hijacking?
The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says the most important piece of advice is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. “We consistently urge drivers to take note of the people hanging around intersections, the cars behind you and look out for people outside your home. If you notice that a car has been behind you for a while, get yourself to a place of safety.
“However, the reality is it’s not always possible to completely avoid hijackers. In this instance, safely exiting the car is of vital importance,” Herbert continues “Our actions which could be perceived as a threat, must be coordinated and practiced so as to minimise and mitigate any risk. This is covered extensively in our training programs.”
Safety is key
Always remember your personal safety is always the highest priority. Herbert adds: “In one of the two hijackings from last month, it is believed a man was shot in the face when he resisted handing over his vehicle. Your well-being is not worth the cost of any vehicle.”
In the second case, the driver was taken with his car and killed in horrific circumstances. Herbert advices: “This begs the often-asked question: should I go with the hijackers or should I fight? Often hijackers take drivers with the car because they believe they know where the tracking units are. Other times it is for more nefarious reasons.
“Unfortunately, there is no easy answer about what to do. Often your instincts are the best guide to this split-second decision. That said, talking these matters through with subject matter experts provides greater clarity and objectivity in the decision-making process,” advises Herbert.
These are not the only risks to safety on South Africans roads.
Herbert further notes: “We need to constantly be aware of threats such as smash-and-grabs and know how to handle this. Consequently, MasterDrive has redeveloped their traditional hijack extraction training to an Urban Survival Xperience (USX). Driving on South African roads requires more than just being ready to avoid a crash. USX prepares drivers to handle every threat faced on the roads.”
Every South African deserves the right to safety and security, including on the roads. Yet, often this depends on ourselves alone and the decision to empower ourselves with the knowledge to do this.