Spiking – A New Hijacking Trend to be Aware of

Hijackings are pretty common in South Africa, especially at night and in the early morning hours, as there is poor visibility. There are, however, new hijacking trends that are constantly emerging, and more recently, there has been a new hijacking trend called spiking that you need to on the lookout for.

Driving on South African roads already has challenges of its own as you have to deal with unruly drivers while also trying to avoid potholes on the road. On top of these challenges, motorists have to deal with the added fear that they might become hijacking victims. There are always new methods that are constantly being used by criminals to target unsuspecting victims. One recent trend includes spiking, which involves placing ‘spikes’ that spike gangs disguise to look like plastic bags on the roads when dark. Once motorists drive over these spikes, they will either stop or crash, allowing the criminals to rob them of their valuables.

One of the dangers that these spiking attacks pose is that they also lead to devastating vehicle accidents, far more severe than slashed tyres or broken windows. There have been instances when spike hijackings occurred in the same area in one evening that led to the hijacking of four vehicles.

The criminals involved in spiking incidents tend to move from one area to another, and they usually target quieter roads. They will strategically place their spikes on the freeways, usually between 6 pm and 4 am, especially from Friday evening until the weekend ends.

Police enforcement has also begun to take more measures to reduce these incidents by sending out patrols. Patrols are done in areas considered to be hotspots where there have been reports of objects such as rocks being thrown from bridges on the road. However, the presence of the police on the roads does not mean that drivers should not be vigilant as most of the responsibility is placed mainly on them to avoid becoming a victim of these spike attacks. To avoid falling prey to these attacks, motorists should stay safe, and they can follow the tips offered below to do so.

  • Whenever you are driving, you should remain vigilant, and you should always be on the lookout for any person on bridges or barriers.
  • Pay careful attention to the road and look out for any objects that might be on the road, especially plastic bags or bottles that you might believe will pose some danger. If you do see anything that you deem suspicious, you should reduce your speed, and if you can, you should safely switch to another lane.
  • If you are driving with other passengers in the car, you should ask them to be alert and assist you in looking out on the road for suspicious activity or objects.
  • Whenever you are on the road, please pay close attention to the behaviour of other drivers that are on the road as they could give you an early indication or warning that they might be obstructions on the road, which could assist you in avoiding them earlier.
  • Most hijackings and spike attacks tend to happen at night as there is less visibility and the roads are quieter. Therefore if you can, you should avoid driving at night as that is when you are likely going to be a victim of these attacks.
  • Do your research about the hotspots of spike attacks, and try to avoid the areas regarded as hotspots, especially during times when there is likely less activity on the roads.
  • Suppose you end up in a situation where you detect suspicious activity or any objects on the road. It would be best if you kept on driving, but ensure that you also report this information to the police the moment that you can do so. You might be tempted to remove the objects on the road, but the criminals might be watching you, which could put you in further danger.
  • Whenever you are in hotspot areas with spikes on the road, you should reduce your speed completely. Reducing your driving speed will assist you in spotting any objects that might on the street in time and allow you to avoid danger safely.
  • In the event that you end up driving over a spike, it would be advisable to calm yourself down and continue driving regardless of how bad the situation seems. Drive slowly and switch on your hazards until you reach a safer area such as a garage, but completely avoid stopping near bridges. If not possible and you cannot drive, then pullover but choose an area that has a lot of light.
  • Do not attempt to leave your vehicle to assess the damage incurred. Instead, you should immediately contact the police and emergency services. You should inform your loved ones and share your location with them to keep them updated until you receive help.
  • When you become the victim of a spike attack and either you or other passengers in the vehicle sustain injuries, it is advised first to assess how serious the injuries are and then try to provide them with basic first aid until help arrives.

With there being a rise in spiking, it is crucial to remain vigilant while on the roads. By following the safety tips offered in this article, not only will you be able to avoid becoming a victim of an attack, but if your vehicle is spiked, you would be able to remain as safe as possible.

Furthermore, see Verifying the Authenticity of a Roadblock – Telltale Signs & How to Stay Safe.

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