Top 10 tips to keep your car yours

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 NO SO SUBTLE MESSAGE: However, making things difficult for thieves while you're away on holiday is a lot easier than having to wait for your tracking company to find your car. ~ Shutterstock
The holiday season is upon us and with it comes excitement, happiness and holidays but there's a downside – crime. Make sure you take necessary precautions with our top 10 holiday safety tips.

The holiday season comes with additional risk in terms of crime as criminals capitalise on the fact that we tend to let our guard down as we become sidetracked by festivities. 

Jerry Pierce, operations manager at Cartrack SA, said: “Statistics show that hijackings and robberies increase significantly during peak holiday seasons. It is essential to take extra safety precautions at this time of year. Make a note of these valuable tips to help keep you safe and your festive season peaceful."

“The most important thing to remember this holiday season is to stay alert. By being aware of your surroundings the chances are that you will pick up on any potential threats or manage the situation better should it be unavoidable."
Top 10 holiday safety tips

1 TEST YOUR TRACKING SYSTEM
Before embarking on holiday make sure your vehicle’s tracking system is functional. Your tracking provider will be able to monitor the system on a proactive basis.  A quick check is worth the peace-of-mind.    

2 HEADED FOR THE BORDER

Many stolen vehicles find their way into neighbouring countries, as a results make sure you check with your vehicle tracking company whether they offer cross-border recovery. 

3 NO EASY ACCESS

If you have a vehicle parked in your garage while you’re away, immobilise the vehicle and don’t leave your spare keys in the house. Lock them in a safe, leave them with family or a trusted neighbor. Let your tracking provider know that the vehicle should be stationery and where it should be during the time you are away.

4 HIDE THE PAPERWORK

Lock your vehicle registration documents away in a safe or safety deposit box. Don’t ever leave the paperwork for your car in your vehicle. If your car is stolen, criminals will be able to change the vehicle ownership with ease.  

5 STASH IT DON’T FLASH IT
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you and don’t leave valuable in your car. Before leaving your parked vehicle, make sure that all valuables are packed away and out of sight, either in the glove compartment or the boot. If there's nothing in the closeable compartments, leave them open and thieves might ignore your car.

6 DID I LOCK THE CAR?
It might seem obvious but many people on holiday become careless. Don’t leave the are without locking your vehicle. If you can, park near security cameras or in front of trafficked areas.
 
7 REMOTE-JAMMING
Beware of the criminal practice of remote-jamming whereby criminals block the locking action of your vehicle by using a household remote which interferes with the frequency of your car remote.  Always PHYSICALLY CHECK that your doors are locked before leaving your vehicle. If your car has locks that release as you approach with the key fob, have somebody take the fob some distance away before checking the doors.

8 I’M JUST POPPING OUT TO THE SHOPS…
Always tell someone where you are going and what time you will return. If anything happens to you, the authorities can be alerted and they will have a good starting point to search for you.

9 ARE YOU BEING WATCHED?

If you feel you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or a busy, safe, public place. Alert a friend, relative or your home security company if you think you’re being followed and arrange for them to meet you. Wait at a busy destination until your friend or relative has arrived and drive home together. If you’re at a police station, ask a policeman to escort you home.

10 WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE HIJACKED

In the event that you are hijacked, it is important to keep calm and do the following:

• Don’t make direct eye contact. Criminals might feel threatened if they think you can identify them.
• Remember that often the hijacker is highly strung and nervous, so it is essential that you remain calm and don’t make threatening movements, difficult as this may seem. 
• If you have a child in the car, inform the hijackers immediately. Try to take your child out of the car with you to avoid the hijacker speeding away with your child in the back seat. Tell them what you are doing and stay as calm as possible.
• Make sure your hands are visible to the hijacker at all times.
• Whether it’s unclipping your safety belt or opening the car door, explain every action you’re going to make and do so slowly.

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