CAPE TOWN – More than 50 years after women said "No" to pass laws, Nissan South Africa (Nissan SA) is encouraging women to say "No" to  hijackers. In honour of Women's Day on 09 August 2007, Nissan SA, in conjunction with its media fleet handlers, the African Outdoor Group (AOG), today hosted a Women's Empowerment course aimed at providing women with the necessary skills to deal with a hijacking or other emergency situation. Lifestyle and motoring journalists from Johannesburg- and Cape Town-based publications converged on the mother city for a one-day course devoted to hijack prevention and survival.

Said Pat Senne, Nissan SA's General Manager Corporate Affairs & Communications: "Although women of today are faced with quite different challenges to those of our predecessors, who campaigned successfully against unfair legislation more than 50 years ago, the qualities required to handle them are similar. What we hope women will achieve today is the confidence to take control of a situation which compromises the safety of both driver and passengers."

Senne added that South Africa had become known as a hijack haven and that it was important for drivers to learn how to react when confronted with a possible life-threatening situation.  Covered in the course, which was presented by AOG driver facilitators and the director of the National Hijack Prevention Academy, was background information related to hijackings – for example, factors that lead to attacks, popular locations and methods of operation – and practical tips on how to emerge unscathed.

Derick Lategan of AOG, which offers a range of pursuits aimed at enhancing the individual's professional and personal lifestyle, said his company has been involved with this type of training through necessity.

 "We are all potential highjack victims, confronted with the reality that every time we venture out in our vehicles we could become another statistic. Our belief is that, rather than be held hostage to this reality, we should confront it head on with the type of education and awareness we are providing these women today," stated Lategan. "Our training methods will assist them to remain calm and to avoid any type of irrational behaviour that may exacerbate an already tense situation."

Participants were able to put reaction techniques into practice on a slalom course in a variety of Nissan vehicles - the Micra, Tiida and 350Z.  Tips included how to react when confronted with a 'smash and grab' or when forced to drive with a hijacker.

Added Senne: "Today's event reinforces Nissan's commitment to contribute, not just to vehicle safety in the form of advanced automotive features, but also to driver safety through appropriate reaction skills in the event of emergencies." 

Following the intensive hijack prevention and survival course, the women drivers also enjoyed some fun driving on a gymkhana course. In a lucky draw to end the day's proceedings, five women won the opportunity to participate in a Nissan Off Road Tactix training course, which is offered in main cities throughout the year. Nissan's offroad range includes the 4X4 Hardbody, Murano, Navara, Pathfinder, Patrol, Patrol Pick Up and X-Trail; and the 4X2 Hardbody, Navara and X-Trail.

Nissan also offers advanced and defensive driving courses for all passenger vehicle ranges.


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