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Things To Do in a Hijacking Situation - Carte Blanche

25 November 2018
It’s a situation none of us would want to face, but when it does happen it’s important to know how best to react.

We’ve heard stories, seen the videos and many of us have experienced it first-hand – a car hijacking. It’s a situation none of us would want to face, but when it does happen it’s important to know how best to react. According to experts, fighting back is not the answer. No car is ever worth your, or someone else’s, life.

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  • Put up both hands immediately, indicating that you have surrendered and try your best to remain calm.
  • Using only your left hand, open the door by pulling on the door handle. Your left hand is more visible and will prevent the hijacker from thinking you’re reaching for a weapon.
  • Using your left hand, unclip your seatbelt, put the vehicle out of gear and pull up the handbrake. In an automatic vehicle, just pull up the handbrake. Do not turn off the vehicles engine unless instructed.
  • As you exit the vehicle, try and turn sideways as you become a smaller target.  Pull your shoulders up and neck in.  Hold your arms over your head and neck area.
  • Do not take the car key out of the ignition or throw the key away from the vehicle.
  • Try not to look directly at or stare at the attackers as it may be perceived as wanting to be able to identify them and they may react aggressively.
  • Comply to demands such as “hand me your watch, cell phone or wallet” and respond immediately.
  • Move away from the vehicle as quickly as possible and seek help from nearby homes or businesses.

If you have a child in the car, there are also a few things to keep in mind in getting your child safely out of the vehicle. Firstly, make the hijacker aware of the fact that you have a child in the back and tell them you intend to remove the child from the car.

  • Children are normally placed in the rear of the vehicle. As you exit the vehicle on the driver’s side, move towards the rear door and open it slowly. 
  • Once open, step inside the vehicle with your one foot, lean into the vehicle to unclip the safety belt and/or baby seat. Should the attacker opt to drive away at this point, you will have a better chance of being thrown into the car.
  • All children should exit the vehicle on the same side (if possible). Do not get separated. 
  • Move away from the vehicle as quickly as possible.

Should the hijacker refuse to allow you to remove your child, you can grab the car keys and use it as leverage. However, experts warn that this could anger the already-aggressive hijacker and could lead to physical harm to you and/or your child.

If you find yourself in a situation where the hijacker forces you to remain in the car and instructs you to drive, it’s extremely important that you remain calm.

  • Follow the hijacker’s instructions carefully.
  • If possible, you can bump into another car or object (such as a wall or gate) at a slow speed. This will sometimes lead to the hijacker(s) getting out and fleeing.

If the hijackers force you into the back of the car or into the boot of the vehicle, it’s once again important to remain calm. This will help you keep track of movements, directions, time and place which could later help you escape as well as assist the police in their investigation.

It’s important to note that the above tips are only a guideline and that each person reacts differently in life-threatening situations. Overall, the best thing you could ever do is to remain as calm as possible and do as you are told.

The National Hijack Prevention Academy provides instructional courses on how to react when faced with a hijacking situation. For more information, you can visit their website.  

Written by: Malinda Brussow, National Hijack Prevention Academy