The police have issued an urgent warning to motorists to exercise caution when stopping next to roads, or when ordered to stop by other motorists, as hijacking incidents have increased.
During the latest incident in Brits on Friday, a 38-year-old woman was threatened at gunpoint when she stopped her vehicle near Oukasie where she was to pick up her husband. “When she allegedly stopped the vehicle, she was approached by three men who pointed firearms at her. One of the men pulled her out of the vehicle and they drove off with it,” said police spokesperson Captain Aafje Botma. The woman was driving a Mitsubishi Pajero.
The car was later recovered by a security company in Oukasie.
“Motorists travelling in the North West, especially in the Bojanala Platinum District are urged to exercise caution,” Botma said. A number of incidents such as these have been reported.
“Motorists are requested to exercise caution when stopped by unknown persons and to report such incidents to the nearest police station. If stopped by police or traffic officials and you feel unsafe or threatened, switch on your hazard lights and slowly drive to the nearest police station,” she advised.
“Never offer a lift to a hitch-hiker and do not stop next to the road except for an emergency. People stopping to relieve themselves have also fallen victim of this crime.”
To curb these incidents, police urge motorists to heed these safety hints:
• A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable.
• Plan your route and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you at your destination.
• Always check the rearview mirror to see if you are being followed.
• Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked and put all valuables out of sight.
• Avoid distractions while driving such as using a cell phone.
• If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area.
• When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green especially during the night.
• If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty.
• When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.
• Avoid driving through unfamiliar areas.
• Avoid driving late at night / early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.
• Drive in the centre lane away from pedestrians where possible.
• If possible, never drive alone.
• Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a regular basis.
• If possible, avoid driving in the dark.
• Hijackers may stage a minor accident. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation, indicate he/she must follow you and drive to the nearest police station or any busy public area for help.