Johannesburg is no doubt one of the greatest cities in Africa. However, big as it is, it has earned the ill reputation of being home to all manner of villains. Carjackers take the top spot on the list of scum. Thankfully, you will be surprised at how much the security situation has improved, thanks to vigilantly manned CCTV cameras and new deployment of agile officers of the law.
We knew matters had gotten out of hand when in 1998, Charl Fourie invented a flamethrower that could be fitted on a BMW to thwart the attempts of carjackers in south Africa. Today, nearly two decades later, we are still contending with the problem of carjacking in Johannesburg and other cities in Africa.
Although the situation has improved somewhat, the dangers on the streets have not been eliminated entirely. Carjacking is still one of the rampant and frightful crimes in Johannesburg, especially because it results in physical harm or death. The good news is that if one is equipped with the right information and skills, one can very easily be on the better half of hijacking statistics.
We Africans already know this, However, if you are visiting South Africa for the first time, there is no harm reading about them again. Since the blaster never made the market, how about we look at a list of Do’s and Don’ts when you are driving in the City Of Gold – just so you arrive safe and alive?
- Keep the car doors locked always; regardless of whether you are in motion or stationary.
- Keep windows rolled up; and cracked only an inch or two for air if necessary.
- Be alert; look out for idlers and bystanders who may have ulterior motives.
- Be a good world citizen; if you come across strangers or vehicles looking suspicious, alert the authorities.
- Leave enough ‘wiggle room’ between you and the vehicle in front; to avoid getting boxed in.
- Be attentive; be aware of the vehicle traveling in front, behind and by your side. Most hijackers work in a group and more than one vehicle may be involved.
- If you suspect you are cornered, try weaving your way out and drive off to the nearest police station.
- If you surmise being in danger, attract the attention of fellow road users. Hoot wildly, shout, flash your headlights, switch on your emergency lights; just do anything and everything within your power.
- When at an unexpected roadblock, demand to see the police officer’s identification before presenting your own identification still behind rolled-up windows; imposters do exist just like in the movies.
- If your vehicle gets hit from the rear end, remain inside until you are sure that it is not a hijacking plot.
- Don’t be quick to play hero; refrain from stopping at an accident scene until you are 100% positive that it is genuine. It could be a set up ‘accident’.
- Tone down your gullibility; do not dish out information about your plans and movements to strangers.
- Stop telling people about your movements in the social media. Today, hijackers lurk there collecting information.
- At intersections, don’t be distracted by hawkers or other such persons. They could be a beguilement.
- Do not alight from your vehicle to open your gate or garage door; agility is every hijacker’s strong point. If you have to alight, shut down the engine and lock the car door.
- Don’t rush to enter your home if you suspect you are being trailed. Drive past and go to the nearest police station.
- Do not play Good Samaritan; refrain from giving lifts to strangers along the way.
See, avoiding a hijacking in Johannesburg is rather easy, no? All you have to do is follow the above guidelines and voila! Stay safe and alert and do have a carjack-less time while in the ‘city of gold’. Be alert, be safe.