Hijackings in South Africa are a major threat not only to drivers but also to businesses who rely on road logistics to transport their goods.
According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), 16 026 cases of hijackings were reported in the period of 2018/2019. Recently cases of hijackings involving trucks carrying LPGas cylinders have been reported to the SAPS and the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association of South Africa (LPGSA). Truck drivers delivering LPG cylinders should take extra precautions in order to be safe.
The LPGSA urges all industry stakeholders to take note of some of the tips shared below when transporting LPGas cylinders by road.
Tips to Avoid hijacking when delivering cylinders
• Be extra alert. Switch off the vehicle radio and concentrate on your surroundings and make sure you are not being followed.
• Keep an eye on your rear-view mirror to see if you are being followed.
• If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area.
• Check the driveway and street before you leave or enter your business premises.
• Be aware of suspicious pedestrians close to your delivery or business address. If you are concerned, do not stop – pass, alert someone if possible and return later.
• If possible, change schedule and routes on a regular basis, as this will make it harder for criminals to track and predict your daily patterns.
• Identify high risk areas.
• When parking your vehicle, check your rear-view mirror to ensure you are not being followed.
• If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty.
• When exiting your vehicle, be cautious and aware of surrounding obstructions and shrubbery that may be concealing a hijacker.
• Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings. Sleeping in a stationary vehicle is particularly dangerous.
• When leaving your vehicle, look your doors, close your windows and do not have bags or cell phones visible in the vehicle. Take all valuables with you.
• Be constantly on the lookout for suspicious-looking characters or vehicles and do not hesitate to report them to the SAPS.
• Never open your vehicle window or door for any stranger. If a suspicious person is near your unoccupied vehicle, do not approach the vehicle. Walk to the nearest public area and ask for assistance.
If you do become a victim of hijacking
• Try to remain as calm as possible throughout the incident.
• Don’t antagonise or argue with the hijacker.
• Listen carefully to instructions. If you are told to get out of the vehicle, do so, and put as much distance as possible between yourselves and them. Remain still and obey any orders.
• If possible, press the panic button or alert someone – but this should only be attempted if absolutely safe to do so.
• Surrender your vehicle and move away. Try to put as much distance between yourself and the hijacker as quickly as possible.
• Always keep your hands where the hijacker can see them.
• If you have to unfasten your seatbelt place both hands in the air, slowly move your left hand towards the seatbelt fastener, and unfasten the seatbelt while keeping your right hand in the air.
• If blindfolded, listen for accents or background noise.
• Don’t make eye contact. The hijacker may perceive this behaviour as a threat and retaliate aggressively.
• Contact the police as soon as you can and try to provide them with as much information as possible (model, colour and registration of vehicle, and any specific details about the hijacker).
• Activate the vehicle-tracking device if the vehicle is fitted with one.
• Remember, your vehicle and payload are replaceable, but a life is not. Do NOT take any chances. Your life is not worth any asset.