High stress levels due to work and exam deadlines as residents head towards the end of the year, often results in parents switching to autopilot in the rush between between work, home and school.
But a slackened security consciousness that sometimes accompanies the stress and rush can heighten the risk of accidents and hijackings.
This is according to Blue Security operations director, Brian Jackson.
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When motorists are in a rush and stressed out, thinking about the next item on their agenda for the day, or dealing with stressed out children in the vehicle, rather than concentrating on the road and their surroundings, it raises the risk of accidents and crimes like smash and grabs and hijackings, he explained.
“We urge motorists to remain security conscious at this busy time of the year,” he said.
When schedules are full with school events and evening functions to attend, it’s easy to forget important things like closing the gate, not leaving cellphones and bags in sight in the car and to be distracted while driving.
“Criminals will try to take advantage if they perceive you as oblivious and an easy target as they rely on the element of surprise when staging hijackings,” he added.
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How to avoid a hijacking:
Most hijackings occur in the driveways of residential and business premises, so always be alert to any vehicles with occupants or unknown individuals lurking near the entrance before you turn in. Always keep your vehicle moving parallel to the gate, while you check for any suspicious activity, so that you can’t be blocked in and can keep on driving if you notice anything suspicious. If you feel uneasy about anyone near your property rather drive on and call the police or your security company.
Most hijackings occur in the morning and evening when people are rushing off to work or arriving home after a long, stressful day at the office. Although you may be tired, be especially vigilant and also remember to check for any suspicious activity outside your home before leaving in the morning.
If you notice that there is a suspicious vehicle following you home drive past your house and go to your nearest police station or call your security company for an escort. Hijackers sometimes follow their victims from a petrol station, bank or shopping mall before striking in a quiet street.
Don’t stop at the side of the road to talk on your cellphone or to check for directions as this places you at risk of a hijacking. Rather drive to the nearest business or shopping centre and ask for directions.
Hijackings occur at shopping mall parking lots and outside schools. Be vigilant when getting out of and into your vehicle in a parking lot. Always lock your vehicle properly and do not leave babies waiting in the car when fetching older children from school, even if it is just a few steps to the gate.
Drive in the center lane away from pedestrians and be vigilant at stop streets and traffic lights, especially where vendors are plying their wares, as hijackers may be hiding among these people waiting to strike.
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