Gauteng traffic police have noted an increase in incidents of spikes being placed on freeways by criminals. Picture: TMPD
Gauteng traffic police have noted an increase in incidents of spikes being placed on freeways by criminals. Picture: TMPD

There has been a recent increase in the dangerous tactic by criminals of throwing spikes across the road to immobilise motorists and rob them of their belongings.

The nature of the crime makes it difficult to completely safeguard oneself, but there are a few tips that can be followed, MasterDrive driving school CEO Eugene Herbert said.

If you are driving on any highway at night:

  • Ideally, ensure you are off the highway before traffic quietens dramatically.
  • Avoid driving over anything in the road, including plastic bags, as spikes can be concealed in these.
  • If there is another vehicle present, drive six seconds or more behind so their driving can alert you if anything is amiss.
  • If the circumstances allow, travel straddling two lanes as it may help you miss spikes placed in the lane.
  • When passing under a bridge, change lanes just before you pass.
  • Reduce speed to increase your chances of seeing obstacles in the road.
  • If you spot an obstacle before you reach it, move into the emergency lane or onto the grass if that section of the highway allows for it.
  • If the highway is quiet enough and safety allows for it, drive across the island and travel in the opposite direction.
  • If you do hit a spike, reduce your speed to approximately 40km/hour and continue driving. Continue to the nearest place of safety.
  • If you do not make it to a place of safety but do obtain some distance between yourself and the criminals, get out of your car and safely find a place to conceal yourself and call for help. Do not panic or engage with the criminals.
  • Concrete lintels are also being used . If you cannot avoid them , slow down and carefully drive over them.
  • Once you have safely moved past the spikes, contact the authorities to prevent any other motorists falling victim.

The ultimate goal is to put distance between yourselves and the criminals, said Herbert.

Gauteng traffic police warned that these incidents occur especially on Friday evening and throughout the weekend between 6pm and 4am. The following routes have been identified as hotspots:

  • The N4 Mpumalanga to Pretoria between Solomon Mahlangu and Watermeyer off-ramp.
  • The N4 Pretoria to Mpumalanga between Bronkhorstspruit and Balmoral off-ramp.
  • The N1 Polokwane-N4 Mpumalanga interchange in Pretoria.
  • The N4 to Rustenburg between R80 Mabopane freeway and Brits plaza tollgate.
  • The Golden Highway.
  • The R21 freeway from OR Tambo International Airport to Pretoria.

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