The warnings that persist from various organisations throughout South Africa have empowered motorists with information on safe, if not defensive, driving techniques. Road signs warning of Hijacking Hot Spots and SMS alerts signalling entry into a high risk area all assist motorists with on the road safety, but what about safety off the road?
While these reports and warnings are invaluable, there is a lot to be said for movement to and from your stationary vehicle. MATRIX was informed of a high jacking incident that took place in the driveway of a private residence, in Johannesburg’s West Rand, at around 8pm.
The motorist had said her good-bye’s after a social visiting and was accompanied, by a friend, to her Audi parked just outside. During their lengthy farewell, quickly and quietly two vehicles pulled up alongside the house. There was no warning and no time to call for help; due to both parties being distracted the situation could only be handled reactively. The assailants demanded the keys to the vehicle; the shock of the situation caused the motorist to protest and became uncooperative. Within a matter of seconds a gun was at her chest. The severity of the situation was now clear and after receiving the keys, the offender unsuccessfully attempted to start the vehicle. This uncontrollable futility gave rise to more commentary from the vehicle owner and in turn, another gun was placed at her back.
Every second that passed made this situation increasingly dangerous and with no way to call for assistance, both victims were helpless. Just when all seemed lost, a neighbour came home after his dinner run and took notice of the unusual assembly, thankfully deterring the assailants. Upon later review of CCTV footage, the presence of seven individuals was clear – excluding our two victims. The owner of the vehicle was only aware of the two men, at her front and back, and shudders to think what other outcomes could have prevailed.
Remember to stay alert at all times, whether you are alone or in a group and regardless of how safe you feel in your surroundings. Emergency situations require hurried decisions and a few extra seconds could help you to make a proactive decision. Acting reactively may bring with it unnecessary dangers, read MATRIX’s tips in a hijacking situation to better equip yourself with the right information and ensure your actions are passive and controlled. Most importantly, never forget that your vehicle can be recovered or replaced, but a life is priceless.