By Jonk wa Mashamba
Following incidents of murders associated with hijackings, the Gauteng Traffic Police has decided to warn motorists against criminals who place spikes on public roads
According to the Gauteng Traffic Police spokesperson, Sello Maremame, the police have in recent times noted a rise in incidents of spikes placed strategically on the freeways by criminals.
“Meanwhile, hard objects were in recent times thrown from overhead bridges resulting in motorists losing control of their vehicles, involved in unnecessary accidents and robbed of their belongings in the process,” said Maremane.
Maremane said the following routes have been identified as hotspots for such inhumane acts:
• The N4 Mpumalanga to Pretoria between Solomon Mahlangu and Watermeyer Off-ramp.
• The N4 Pretoria to Mpumalanga between Bronkhorstspruit and Balmoral off-ramp.
• The N1 Polokwane N4 Mpumalanga interchange in Pretoria.
• The N4 to Rustenburg between R80 Mabopane Freeway and Brits plaza tollgate.
• Golden Highway; and
• R21 Freeway from OR Tambo International Airport to Pretoria.
Maremane said the modus operandi is that these criminals move from one area to the other where the roads are quiet to rob motorists of their hard-earned cash and other belongings.
He said these incidents happen, especially on Friday evening and throughout the weekend between 18:00 and 04h00 in the morning.
Maremane emphasized that the following safety tips are to be followed as a precaution when a vehicle has been spiked:
• Never stop your vehicle if you had a puncture while spiked, instead drive slowly to the nearest garage while contacting the Gauteng Traffic Police.
• If you are stopped by a Traffic officer, demand to see their appointment certificate to verify if such an officer is employed by the relevant Traffic authority.
• In case the officer fails to produce his or her appointment certificate, take down the registration number of the patrol vehicle and report them immediately to the nearest police station.
• If your vehicle has had a complete break down on the road, remain in the vehicle with your car locked while seeking assistance.
• Do not allow any person to tow your vehicle without written permission.
• Should you realise that another motorist has been spiked in your presence kindly stop and give the necessary assistance.
“The placing of spikes has resulted in many road users involved in unwarranted accidents and some even losing their lives through these ruthless acts.
“The Gauteng Traffic Police will continue to conduct law enforcement operations on Gauteng major routes and freeways to ensure that anyone found placing an object is apprehended to face the full might of the law,” said Maremane.
THESE ARE ROAD SAFETY BASIC TIPS:
*Always be vigilant and keep an eye out for any persons on bridges or embankments.
Keep your eyes on the road and look for any objects in the road that could pose danger.
*Should you see anything suspicious, reduce your speed and change lanes in a safe manner.
*If you have passengers in the car, ask them to also be alert.
Also keep an eye on the vehicles around you as their actions could serve as an early warning of a possible obstruction in the road ahead.
*Most attacks happen at night when roads visibility is limited. Try and avoid driving at night as much as possible.
*If possible, avoid areas known for being hot spots.
If you spot any suspicious activity or items on the road, continue driving, but alert the police as soon as you can.
*Do not pull over to remove the object from the road.
Stick to the speed limit and, in areas known for spike and rock-throwing incidents, slow down. This could give you just enough time to spot the object in the road and safely avoid the danger.
*If you drive over a spike or other damaging objects, remain calm and avoid stopping if at all possible. Instead, reduce your speed, turn on your hazards and slowly make your way to a safe area. If this means having to drive on your wheel rim, do so slowly.
*If you have no choice but to pull over, try to at least get to an area where there’s a bit more light. Also avoid stopping near bridges.
*Alert your loved ones and contact police and emergency support services immediately.
*Be sure to share your location with loved ones and keep them updated until help arrives.
Do not get out of your car to assess the damage unless you are absolutely confident it’s safe to do so.
*If you or occupants in the vehicle sustained any injuries, assess the seriousness of the injuries and provide basic first aid.
Report any suspicious movements 011689 3712/699 3999.
Sources: AA | SAPS