driving tips, holiday travel, Motoring News, road safety, vehicle security

It’s hijack season: It happens – prepare yourself and family

  • Don’t be a Christmas road-crime victim
  • Teach your children what to do if threatened
  • Tips to use for parking garage safety

Previous research conducted over the festive season shows a clear spike in crime during December, including hijacking. The reason for this can only be assumed but you can to try protect yourself and your family from such a dangerous position.

Here are some simple tips:

Don’t stop in your driveway

“YOU MUST BE stationary to be hijacked so coming to a complete stop is something to avoid,” MasterDrive’s Eugene Herbert said, “which is why you should never turn into your driveway until the security gate is open.

“Rather wait in the street, parallel to the road’s edge and with everybody in the car and doors locked, so you can drive off should there be a threat before the gate is fully open.

“Avoid, where possible, stopping at road junctions. Anticipate traffic-light changes and approach the junction slowly to avoid the need to stop. These techniques can only be effective if you are watching for a threat before it reaches your car.”

Reverse garage parking

SHOPPING CENTRES and parking garages can be crime hot-spots, Herbert added, particularly ahead of the Christmas holiday. “Look for a parking slot adjacent to a wall and REVERSE into it.

That might take a few moments longer but the safety benefit will be huge because when you return to the car to put your purchases in the boot your back will be covered – any threat will be visible.

“The wall at your back means a criminal can’t surprise you from behind.”

Practice escape action

CHILDREN ARE likely to be travelling with you during December. While nobody wants to consider being hijacked with their children the reality is that it happens. So, if driving away is not an option, here’s some advice:

“Teach your children where to sit in the car and what to do if attacked,” Herbert suggests. “Agree on a keyword which will mobilise car occupants. Your primary objective should be to get yourself and your family out the car fast and safely.”

‘BE READY TO ACT’

Make each child practice releasing their seat belt and exiting the vehicle. As the driver, also practice releasing the door locks – know exactly where the switch is – should driving away not be an option.

“Maintain your guard as you enjoy the holiday season,” Herbert adds. “You needn’t be afraid to step out the house but you do need to be ready to act should you become the target of criminals.”

Note from Carman’s Corner: Accelerating away might be a first option.  Your life might be in peril so don’t worry about damaging your car or others nearby. And if a hijacker is standing in the way, well, that’s his problem…

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