Hi-jacking trauma awareness will save you and your family
South Africa has one of the highest ratings of car-jacking in the world. A car is hi-jacked once every 30 min. Peace of mind while traveling with our loved ones will make ours lives a little easier over the festive season .
Women driving during the day, students and elderly members of the comminity are often Popular targets for a hi-jacking . Take extra caution travelling in the early hours of the morning and late at night.
A particular target of hi-jackers is young students in small and easily accessible cars. Reason being that students often travel alone, are know to be out late and more importantly, these cars lack sufficient security features.
If you are involved in a hi-jacking, whatever your background, don’t panic! Remind yourself that no object or property is worth your life. Don’t get violent; it might fuel the situation, just be calm, and you will survive. They just want your car. This encounter can be very traumatic, the experience of Acute trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is normal and treatable.
If, unfortunately , you’ve been involved in a hi-jacking , please seek help overcoming the stress you might be going through. ( There are links below to various resources to help you deal with trauma.)
How to handle yourself in a car jacking
Here are some day to day tips , to help prevent a hi-jacking.
• Keep all windows closed and doors locked. Rather use your car’s air-con , Especially at traffic lights.
• Be vigilant – try focus on your surroundings and keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour, especially by street beggars and vendors.
• If you think you’re in danger and you’re in public , yell to surrounding motorists and pedestrians for help. (People want to help)
• Report suspicious individuals and vehicles to police and give a description.
• Hi-jackers are know to create fake roadside emergencies in an effort to get drivers to pull over and help. Often in these situations they will hi-jack you. be vigilant before pulling over to help a fellow motorist , especially at night .
Surviving a car-jacking
• Do not make eye contact with the car-jackers; try your utmost to remain calm. They are probably as nervous as you, heroic ideas can end up with you being harmed or killed.
• Car-jacking is well planned and well practiced, do as they say.
• If thrown in the boot of your car while taken, look for an emergency latch to open the boot for an escape. Kick out the rear lights and attempt to flag cars behind yours, indicating something isn’t right. Use your shirt, socks or anything you might have.
After the ordeal
• When you’ve been let free or escaped, your first move is to get safe . Find a public building or somewhere with a lot of people, your first choice would be a nearby hospital or police station.
• Check the health of you and your family first . Symptoms of shock and injuries from the incident need to be checked out immediately .
• Once you and your family are safe , report the incident to the police and if you’ve installed one , contact your tracking service.
Final Thoughts / Summary
You can avoid a Hi-jacking , if unfortunately it does happen to you , you can make it out alive , stay calm and think about your life before your possesions .
More information on how to prevent, survive and handle car-jacking and its trauma counselling, links can be found below :
http://www.saps.gov.za/crime_prevention/safety_tips/car_hijacking.htm. The officials report for everyone old or young to begin practicing.
http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2011/11/17/car-hijack-victim-s-nightmare—what-it-feels-like-to-have-your-precious-life-in-the-hands-of-someone-else. The personal article of a survivor and how this individual used their intelligence in a frightening experience that helped with their coping after wards.
For professional help on hi-jacking and trauma coping contact:
SAPS Garsfontein: Sunrise Trauma Support Centre @ (012) 770-7700
Email: email@example.com or
Drive safe day and night.
Written by: Brandon Booth (BPsych Trauma Counselling)