Between 2015-2016, the SAPS recorded a total of 14 602 car hijackings, which indicated 14,2% increase from the previous year.

With stats like these, it’s important to familiarise one’s self with which cars are at risk of hijacking and to be more vigilant and alert if you happen to drive one of these models.

Ctrack, a tracking company, recently came out with data on which vehicles in South Africa are the most hijacked. To no-one’s surprise, the VW Polo Vivo remains the most high-risk passenger vehicle.

READ MORE: VW trumps Toyota in global sales

VWs, Toyotas and Fords feature among the top three most-hijacked passenger vehicles in South Africa.

They are followed by Citroen, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Renault, Chevrolet, Tata, Opel, Nissan, Honda, Volvo and Datsun.

In the SUV category, the Toyota Fortuner is reported as the most hijacked vehicle. Land Rover, Nissan, Mahindra, VW, Jeep, Porsche, Renault, Ford, Daihatsu and BMW follow the Toyota.

Ctrack noted that there was a strong correlation between the most-hijacked vehicles in the country and the best-selling cars. In 2017, the Polo Vivo, Toyota Fortuner and Ford EcoSport were among the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the country.

Arrive Alive offers practical tips on how one can avoid a hijacking when entering one’s vehicle and while driving:

  • Have your key ready, but not visible.
  • Inspect the outside and inside of the vehicle before unlocking. Check underneath your vehicle for items placed under the wheels. Also make sure nobody is hiding on the passenger side before you enter your vehicle.
  • Know your destination and directions to it; and be alert should you get lost.
  • Always drive with your windows closed and doors locked.
  • Make a mental note of any police stations in the vicinity.
  • When stopping behind another vehicle, leave a half-a-vehicle length in front of your car, so that you can make an emergency escape if necessary.
  • When dropping off a passenger, make sure they are safely in their own vehicle before departing.
  • Avoid driving through high crime or unfamiliar areas.
  • Avoid driving late at night and in the early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.
  • Drive in the centre lane, away from pedestrians, where possible.
  • If possible, never drive alone.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers or strangers.
  • Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a regular basis.

Additional sources: Business Tech, Arrive Alive