How to AVOID being a victim of spikes on the roads

Spiking has become a popular method among criminals. Placing spikes on the road is a relatively simple way for robbers and hijackers to compel motorists to stop.

What is spiking?

“Spikings refer to when sharp objects are placed on the road, usually under the cover of darkness, in an attempt to puncture car tyres and force motorists to pull over.”

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Once the vehicle comes to a complete stop, criminals usually emerge from bushes on the side of the road. They then rob the victims of their valuables. In some cases, the criminals kidnap the victims and take them to ATMs to withdraw cash.

According to Richard Brussow from the National Hijack Prevention Academy robbers usually work in groups of at least two people. One places the spiked object on the road, usually in the fast lane. The other(s) hides 300m to 400m further down the road, waiting for the vehicle to come to a standstill. In most cases, the thieves are on foot, but there have been cases where they drive behind the spiked vehicle until it stops and they can attack.

Tips to avoid being a victim of spikes

The car-tracking firm Cartrack provided a few tips for motorists to avoid falling victim to spiking.

1. Avoid driving at night: It is difficult to see objects at night while driving, especially on poorly lit roads. Robbers take advantage of this, which is why most incidents happen at night or in the early hours of the morning.

2. Maintain a good following distance: Ensure there is enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you so you can react to unforeseen situations if necessary.

3. Do not stop for any objects on the road while driving: If you spot an obstacle, move into the emergency lane or the grass if the highway allows.

4. Reduce speed: Travel at a reasonable speed and try not to exceed 80km/hr if you are in a dangerous area. This increases your chances of spotting obstacles on the road. Robbers often target the fast lane because they know that by the time motorists realise there is something on the road, it is too late.

5. Change lanes just before passing under a bridge. It is usually dark under a bridge, making it a hotspot for placing spikes.

Additional safety precautions published by capetownetc include installing a GPS tracking device on your vehicle and replacing your regular tyres with bulletproof tyres. With bulletproof tyres the driver can continue driving at speeds of up to 80km/h with a defective tyre.

Also, be wary of roadblocks at unusual hours and in odd locations, as this could be a hijacking tactic.

Do you have other tips to share with motorists?

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