Your first defence against carjacking is to be aware of suspicious people and situations in order to prioritise your safety. Picture: SUPPLIED
Your first defence against carjacking is to be aware of suspicious people and situations in order to prioritise your safety. Picture: SUPPLIED

The latest carjacking statistics make for grim reading, with police minister Bheki Cele announcing on Friday that this type of crime has increased by 92.2% from April to June compared to the same period in 2020.

Although the hike was due to the “crime holiday” that coincided with 2020’s Covid-19 lockdowns, the carjacking figure is still an alarming 13.2% higher than in the same period in 2019.

The CEO of advanced driving school MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says the awareness levels of drivers should never go on vacation.

“Your first defence against carjacking is to be aware of suspicious people and situations in order to prioritise your safety,” he says.

“Potentially risky people or behaviour include cars or people around your driveway when you arrive home, cars driving behind you for some time, someone different or unusual at an intersection or suspicious people in parking lots. Pay attention to what is around you and if your gut instinct feels off, listen to it.”

Unfortunately, the possibility that you still fall victim to a carjacking is very high, and MasterDrive lists these important tips to keep in mind:

• A car is replaceable a life is not. Do not argue, fight or try anything dangerous to escape the situation. News stories about drivers whose “heroic” actions helped them escape would be far lower if the stories of people who tried fighting, but failed, were published.

Indicate your willingness to comply. A hijack extraction course will teach you the steps to take that will indicate to a criminal that you will surrender the car.

• Before it is a real-life situation, teach your children how to react if they are ever in a carjacking. This includes learning what is the best way to get your children out of the car and sharing this with them in a manner that they will remember.

• Ensure you regularly practice getting out of a vehicle in the same way you would during a carjacking — as often as possible. Make it the normal way you exit your car so that if it had to happen, it is muscle memory and you react automatically.

• As the economy continues to struggle to recover, it is unlikely the next crime stats will improve by much. Ensure that no matter what the stats say,  you are constantly aware and know what to do if you come face-to-face with a carjacker, says Herbert.

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