You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that as a driver, there is much you can do to avoid becoming the next crime victim. The following tips can provide you with more protection as a motorist.
Prevention is better than cure1
It’s a fact in life that trying to fix something after it has gone wrong is a lot more difficult than having prevented that thing from going wrong in the first place. The following are tasks you can do to minimise the risk of being a crime victim.
What about your car? 1
These days, roads in South Africa are fraught with danger, and thus you cannot afford to break down anywhere. It means your car must be in good working order before going on a trip. Ensure the fuel tank is full and that you can comfortably reach the next garage on your route. Any chances to enter your car must be minimised. Fortunately, modern vehicles automatically lock doors, but you need to ensure that all windows are always closed.
Parking your car1
You should never park your car in a dark, remote place, but always in a lit-up area, preferably with trusted security guards present. Never leave your car unlocked just because it will only take a minute to pop into the shop. That’s all the criminals need – a minute. When you do lock your car, always test if the doors are locked, as the locking signal could have been jammed. Never leave any valuables inside the car, rather place them safely in the boot.
Avoid making any contact with any strangers at traffic lights or intersections by keeping all windows closed. By lowering your window, a stranger could spray something into your face and then hijack the car.
What about travelling at night? 1
Avoid travelling on the freeway as much as possible. Criminals can see you approaching from miles away. At night you cannot see as well as you can during the day, and so you may not spot in time the long row of spikes thrown across the road to destroy your tyres. When coming home at night, always park on the side of the road before turning into your entrance. Criminals following you can block you in, with no way of escape.
What do I do when being hijacked? 1
Avoid all eye contact, keep your hands visible, and co-operate. You can always replace a car but not your life.
How to avoid triggering road rage1
Don’t drive too close to the car in front of you. Overtake on the left or cut off drivers when overtaking. Whenever making a lane change, indicate well before the time and execute the change slowly. If anyone is uncomfortably close to your rear bumper, don’t become irritated and suddenly brake. This could make some drivers extremely angry. Instead move over as soon as possible and allow the motorist to pass you. Don’t travel slowly in the fast lane.
Be a defensive driver1
It’s so easy to become irritated with other drivers, but don’t express that by flashing lights and hooting.
Is your car covered for criminal-related damage to your vehicle and hijackings? If not, contact PMD and find out more about affordable car insurance products.
This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.