Be alert – drive-thru hijackings on the up

Motorists need to be vigilant and be aware of their surroundings. People tend to relax while queuing, often distracted by the task at hand and excited children.

Fidelity ADT reports that hijacking motorists while they queue for orders at drive-thru establishments, is quite concerning, and motorists should be prepared to respond when it happens.

Charnel Hattingh, group head of marketing and communications for Fidelity ADT, said, “We are increasingly starting to see a concerning trend of criminals targeting unsuspecting patrons at drive-thru establishments. Typically as you get to the front of the queue, armed suspects from the vehicle in front of you get out and attempt to hijack your vehicle. There are usually two cars involved. The vehicle behind you blocks in your car when you try and reverse.”

Fidelity ADT offers the following safety tips:
• Keep your bag in the boot – have your cash and card on hand for quick payment.
• Only use well-frequented drive-thrus and avoid any retail establishments that are dimly lit or isolated at night.
• Try and only order food at peak times when patronage is at its highest.
• Keep all your windows and doors closed while waiting for your order.
• If possible, don’t take the children with you to the drive-thru, as they can be distracting.
• While waiting, check your rear-view mirrors, and do not be distracted by music or cellphones.
• If you suspect you could be a victim of a hijacking, start pressing your hooter a number of times. Generally, hijackers do not like this kind of attention.

• If you have a panic button on your tracking device, now would be the time to activate it. Better to be safe than sorry.
• If your children are with you, the eldest child should always be seated behind the driver and the younger child to the left – both in the back seat.
• If you are hijacked while your children are in the car, climb out of the vehicle slowly and move to the back door directly behind the driver’s door. Place one foot firmly in the car on the floor behind the driver’s seat, as you lean across to retrieve the youngest child. The eldest child will probably cling to you and you can get both children out of the car at once. Remember to stay as calm as possible.

“Remember, as we move closer to the festive season, this type of opportunistic crime will, unfortunately, be on the increase. You need to stay vigilant at all times and don’t take chances unnecessarily,” concluded Hattingh.

Source: Cathy Findley PR

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