A video was circulating on social media and messaging platforms recently that depicted what appears to be a new way to hijack drivers. While it is not clear when the video was taken or how common this modus operandi is, it still serves as a reminder of the importance of hijack awareness whilst driving.
The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says the video appeared to depict a female driver who was hijacked as she entered a highway behind another vehicle. “Even though this was completely unexpected, there are still some basic techniques to help detect a potentially dangerous situation immediately and then give you the chance and space to escape that situation.
“The driver was blocked in by the hijacker’s car that preceded her and soon by traffic behind her. A key way to prevent yourself from being in this position is to ensure that you keep at least three metres between yourself and the car in front of you when stationary. Admittedly, it would have been difficult to move around the hijackers in this video as their position appears to be carefully chosen but, in many instances, it could give you the space to move around quickly and safely.”
Awareness of potentially dangerous situations is also important to give yourself the best chance. “Quickly moving around a car that suddenly and expectedly stops, can make all the difference. Reacting this way, however, is something you need to train yourself to do. When driving, accept that someone stopping suddenly in this manner may be a threat and that your best response is to immediately move around the obstacle.
“Often, however, this may not be possible. Oncoming cars, or as is the case in this video, people (criminals or otherwise) make this impossible. In this instance, rather surrender the car than subject yourself to physical harm by fighting with the hijackers or driving straight at them. A car can be replaced but a life cannot nor can the consequences of a rash decision be reversed.”
A difficult truth that drivers need to face is that at any moment they could find themselves face-to-face with a hijacker. “This is why it is so important to upskill yourself and learn what you should do, should this ever happen. Prepare and practice for a situation such as this so that your response is immediate and prioritises your safety above all.
“Our thoughts are with the driver of this car, and any other driver who has been in a similar situation, and consequently left shaken and traumatised,” says Herbert.