July 2014

July 2014 IssueJuly 2014 Issue

Article written by

CAR magazine

July 2014

July 2014 IssueJuly 2014 Issue

WE stopped counting at 60 trucks. It was 20h00 at night and my mate and I were driving down Van Reenen’s Pass through the Drakensberg between Ladysmith and Harrismith.

Barrelling toward us on what’s acknowledged as South Africa’s most dangerous pass was a horde of multi-wheeled leviathans. It was a hair-raising experience.

It was also the exclamation point on a drive that began at 03h00 when we left Cape Town en route to Underberg in KZN. And those alarming 36,3 kilometres down Van Reenen’s only emphasised a problem we’d witnessed right from the beginning of our long trip north … there are way too many trucks on our national roads.

I realise why they’re there – our rail system has been the object of neglect for too long, making it neither very reliable nor cost-effective to get goods from point to point. But trucking everything – and, somewhat ironically, this includes motor vehicles, because we saw many fully laden carriers – simply cannot be the solution.

For one thing, it compromises road safety, a point to which I can attest on my 3 000 km round trip. Don’t get me wrong; while the overwhelming majority of truckers were both safe drivers and courteously helpful in assisting us to pass – particularly at night – I did witness some spectacularly dangerous manoeuvres.

The other big problem is the negative effect it’s having on our economy. With the ever-increasing fuel price and widespread roll-out of tolls, the cost of living in our country continues to rise.

It’s perhaps unusual for the editor of a motoring magazine to say this, but we need more trains.

Article written by

CAR magazine