WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE TAKEN: The live-saving tips could mean the difference between life and death on SA's deadly roads. Image: Shutterstock ~ Shutterstock
Its important for female drivers to be especially vigilant following the recent increase in vehicle hijackings in South Africa.
According to the South African Insurance Crime Bureau, in Gauteng, hijackings have increased by 17.8% in 2014 and, in the Western Cape, by 41%.
Equally concerning, according to Dial Direct Insurance, is the sudden rise in 'blue-light' hijackings – where hijackers, disguised as police and often in a fake police car, use flashing blue lights or other means to stop and then hijack vehicles.
BE SAFE ON OUR ROADS
To avoid becoming another statistic the head of Dial Direct, Warwick Scott-Rodger, has these tips to stay safe:
1. Get an electric gate. Many hijackings and home invasions happen just as you are entering or leaving your home.
2. Have a well-lit driveway with the electric gate (that can switch to a battery during power failures) to help you get in and out safely.
3. Leave enough room between your car and the one in front at junctions and traffic lights to avoid being boxed in.
4. If you think that you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or another safe public place with people about. Don't go home.
5. At an unusual or unexpected roadblock, keep windows closed and doors locked and ask for the police or traffic officer's identity card.
6. If you sense you are in danger, hit the button on your tracking device if you have one.
7. When driving home alone, always phone ahead to give a relative, husband or partner your expected time of arrival.
8. Get to know your neighbours and the cars they drive. This will help to identify any strange vehicles in your area.
9. Adopt a search pattern radius to scout before approaching your home.
10. Adjust your speed when approaching a traffic light so that you do not have to come to a complete stop.