Do you know how many bridges you drive under on your daily route? Do you know how many times you are potentially at risk of a rock-throwing incident? Do you pay attention and take note of any loiterers standing on top of each bridge, that may be prowling for their next target?
The growing amount of criminals that throw rocks off bridges has left motorists feeling nervous and powerless each time they hit the highway to travel to work and school, and especially at night when travelling with family and friends.
Blue Security explained that rock-throwing incidents have been reported near Durban, Ballito, Durban North and other towns and surrounds on the M4 North, M4 South, N3, the N2 North and N2 South.
“Motorists have no way to predict exactly when or where the next rock thrower might hurl a potentially deadly projectile, therefore it’s vital to be vigilant and to know exactly what steps to take if your vehicle is ever hit by a rock,” recommended Blue Security.
Blue Security community and media liaison Andreas Mathios provided the following safety and emergency tips for motorists in light of the recent spike in rock-throwing incidents on local highways.
1. Be on the look-out for loiterers on bridges or embankments
When approaching hot spot areas like overpasses, steep ridged embankments or bridges, be visually aware of people loitering or skulking in the bushes or on the bridge you are driving towards. If you have passengers travelling with you ask them to be on the lookout for any movement of people on the bridge.
2. Carefully reduce speed and change lanes
If you suspect someone is about to throw a rock at your vehicle, reduce speed and safely change lanes, but be aware of traffic driving behind you so that you don’t cause an accident because you braked on the highway.
3. If hit with a rock, drive as far from the bridge as possible
If you are able to do so, drive a short distance away from the bridge before stopping, to avoid being hijacked or robbed at the side of the road by organised criminals or opportunists.
4. If seriously injured, drive slowly and assess your injuries – turn on your hazards
If you can’t drive your car due to serious injury to yourself, turn on the hazards and reduce your speed but don’t stop while you do a visual assessment of your injuries.
5. Know how to send a GPS message and record a voice note
If you become a target but survive the incident, it’s important to know how to send a GPS message to a family member and how to record a voice note. Only call the police once you have communicated this vital information to your family.
Here’s how to send a GPS message:
To send a GPS message open up Google Maps or another GPS system on your mobile phone and touch the screen on your location. A window will open asking you if you want to share your location via email, WhatsApp and other messaging apps. Share your GPS location with a friend or family member via your chosen app. It’s advisable to practice this at home so if you are ever in an emergency situation you will be able to communicate your location seamlessly.
The reason for it:
The reason why it’s important to send your GPS information first and record a voice note before calling the police, is because you will be traumatised and this will help you to get a grip on the situation. It will also enable family to get an ambulance to your location more quickly if necessary.
Check out Blue Security’s poll:
Protect yourself, family and friends from #rockthrowing attacks by being observant, alert and ready to act quickly should the unthinkable happen. Do you know how many bridges you pass underneath one way on your daily route?
— Blue Security (@bluesecuritydbn) February 13, 2018
Contact Blue Security’s call centre
Call the Blue Security control centre on (031)-717-5000 or press the panic button on the Blue Security Mobile App on your cellphone and one of the controllers will call you. Playback the voice note and relay your location to the controller and give an exact description of the make, model and colour of your car, the direction that you are driving, and advise that your hazards are on.
If at all possible avoid travelling on roads known for rock throwing, especially when it is dark in the early morning or at night, unless you really have to be on the road at these times.
DID YOU KNOW?
Click on the words highlighted in red to read more on this and related topics.
To receive news links via WhatsApp, send an invite to 061 694 6047
The South Coast Sun is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – why not join us there?
Do you have more information pertaining to this story?
Feel free to let us know by commenting on our Facebook page or you can contact our newsroom on 031 903 2341 and speak to a journalist.
(Comments posted on this issue may be used for publication in the Sun)