Millions of South Africans will take to the nation’s roads during the December/January holiday season. Will you be among them? If so…
…it is vitally important to remember to maintain vigilance as you drive – even more so as criminals take advantage of road users.
Here are some 2014 SA vehicle crime trends:
• Hijackings* – 50% happen in home driveways and car parks and within a five km radius of a victim’s home.
• Vehicle theft – 80% occur at shopping centres, schools and social events, mainly over weekends.
• Technology – Criminals use remote devices to prevent your vehicle from being locked.
Below is a list of road and vehicle threats, based on 2014’s SA vehicle crime and safety trends, to help you and your family stay safe during the holiday period – and, if you practice them as a habit, the rest of the year, too.
Top 10 tips to stay safe on SA roads
1 You are approaching the apron of your driveway immediately before the gate. From now on, leave your car in the road, turn off the engine and take the key. Go open the gate, then return to the car and drive inside. Do the same if your gate is powered.
According to vehicle recovery company Tracker: “This is unquestionably the leading modus operandi for hijackers in South Africa. Always stop in the road until the gate is open before you turn into your driveway.”
2 Always travel with your doors locked; keep valuables out of sight. If your windows must be open ensure the opening isn’t wide enough to fit a hand through.
3 Always leave enough space between your car and the one in front at a traffic light or stop-street to avoid being “boxed in” should you need to escape.
4 Be aware of any person approaching at traffic lights, stop streets or your driveway. Don’t be distracted. If outside your home gate, drive away again.
5 Be aware of people loitering at road junctions. Tracker reports that its has arrested several women for hijacking in recent years, either working alone or in a gangs with men.