It is safe to assume that most South Africans have come across hijacking tips and statistics at least once since this criminal trend first reared its ugly head on South African roads. Matrix, right by your side, was among the many safety advocates providing tips, insights and emergency contact numbers to arm motorists with enough knowledge to protect themselves.
Statistically, motorists are more likely to become victims of hijacking at their place of residence, on a weekday, between 4pm and 8pm. Many months later, this statement continues to ring true, but these warnings have since evolved into something not entirely new, but certainly with a new twist to be wary of.
Previously, motorists were warned to be vigilant when approaching their place of residence, to ensure they weren't being followed and to be cautious when exiting the vehicle to open a gate or to carry in the groceries. While a place of residence continues to be the likeliest scene of a hijacking, it is now just as dangerous to exit your driveway as it is to enter.
The viral video of the Silver Mercedes-Benz Gang is a true life account of one such instance and one couple's attempt to share their experience with the world, in order to empower others. On 17 May, the gang accessed a residence in Blairgowrie, after trapping a vehicle in between the silver Mercedes and the closed gate of the property. The disturbing camera footage sees the motorist being removed from the vehicle and forced back through the now open gate to his home.
The gang uses a spotter to identify potential targets, block your path and leave you helpless. Matrix, right by your side, offers the following tips to keep motorists from harm's way:
* Check your surroundings, be sure that you are able to exit your home safely and without any disruption.
* Never sit in your parked car without being cautious of your surroundings at all times.
* Veer onto the road as soon as traffic permits and it is safe to do so.
* Do not wait for the gate to close; to check that the property is secure, rather circle the block and confirm this when you pass by.
* If it is necessary to exit the vehicle, switch off the car, close and lock all doors ľ keys in the ignition will identify you as an easy target.
* Try, as far as possible, notáto keep a structured routine; criminals will be less able to premeditate a crime.
* Do not aggravate the situation and comply with the demands being made on you.
* Always keep your panic button nearby and alert authorities as soon as it is safe to do so.
Your safety and the safety of your passengers is the most important factor in any motoring predicament. Vigilance will go a long way in protecting you and those who share your journey.