JOHANNESBURG – Facing a hijacking is a terrible ordeal in which you are likely to be overcome by fear, anxiety and horror as you face ruthless armed criminals who are threatening your life and the lives of your loved ones.
While you may want to hang onto your prized possession you’ve worked hard to buy, the experts all agree that you should let the gunmen take the vehicle if it’s going to save your life.
Several weeks ago we looked at how you can prevent being hijacked and what to do in the moments after an attack.
This week we speak to specialist trainers about what you should and shouldn’t do during a hijacking.
While the circumstances of each case may differ, below are several steps which could save your life and the lives of your children.
1. If you’re travelling with one child, ensure they’re sitting directly behind you and NOT in the left rear seat. If you are hijacked it will be easier to help your child get of the car if they’re sitting on the right-hand side. This will save you time by not having to run around to the opposite side of the car.
2. If you are travelling with two or more children, teach them how to loosen their seatbelts and open their doors independently if possible.
3. If your children are old enough it’s advisable that you should disengage your child-lock system.
4. If you have a central locking system, remember to open all doors before getting out of the car and handing the keys over to the hijacker. This will allow you to open your rear passenger doors and get your children out while the hijacker is getting into the driving seat.
5. DON’T keep your key in your pocket (if you have a keyless start car), as the hijacker may think you are reaching for a firearm when you put your hand into your pocket to get your keys.
6. Keep your key in the arm rest or somewhere close by. Your key is your bargaining tool which buys you time to get your child or children out while the hijacker gets into the car & starts it up.
7. When you’re outside the vehicle try not to face the hijacker and turn your body sideways, with your shoulder facing him, where possible. This prevents your vital organs from being in the line of fire should the hijacker shoot at you.
8. Turning your body sideways also allows you to focus on your children in the rear seats of the vehicle.
9. Follow the hijackers instructions, remain as calm as possible and don’t interact with them unless you have to, such as making it clear what movements you’re about to make.