Juliet McGuire

Let’s talk about the N2 highway in Cape Town

Yesterday I posted a video of me driving on the N2 between Somerset West and Cape Town CBD. The reason I made this video was because I felt some people may benefit from a few tips for when driving on this notoriously dangerous road.

DANGER!

Let’s talk about the dangers, shall we? This road is a criminal hotspot. If you didn’t know that, well then you probably don’t live in Cape Town or you’ve been avoiding the news over the past ten years. We have seen robberies, hijackings, assaults and even murder along this stretch of road.

Just this week someone posted in a Facebook community group that they had been robbed and stabbed after they’d had to pull over on the side of the road just after the Airport Approach road due to their car overheating. My husband encountered a situation two weeks ago on his way to catch the red-eye flight whereby two men in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class followed him. He managed to escape them by pulling up next to an accident where police were stationed.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

There are a million stories similar and worse than these. I am certain you have a few of your own to tell. What’s worse is that it doesn’t seem to be getting better on that road. I have to drive the N2 many early mornings to catch flights and many nights coming home from a car launch. It is terrifying and if I can avoid it, I will.

But sometimes we cannot avoid the N2. Many commuters use it daily to get to and from work. So what can we do to keep ourselves safe? I have a few tips that may just help you avoid or get out of a potentially threatening situation.

10 SAFETY TIPS FOR THE N2

1. Don’t ever stop on the N2 highway. If you have a tyre blow out, keep driving on the rim until you get to a safe area. A wheel can be replaced, your life cannot. Avoid driving over any cardboard, packets or boxes. There might be bricks or rocks that will cause damage to your car which could force you to stop. If your car can drive, keep driving it. DO NOT STOP!

2. If you have no choice but to stop, call emergency services immediately. Do not get out of your car. Lock your doors and close your windows and remain inside until help arrives. Another tip I read about the other day is that if you have to stop, try and stop in the middle lane and put your hazards on. It makes it harder for the criminals to get to you and hopefully by the time they do, help would have arrived. Traffic services will also take note of you quicker if you are in the middle of the road (I added that part in, it is complete assumption, but a good one I think).

3. Ensure your car is properly serviced and well maintained. This can avoid a potential breakdown. Don’t forget to check your tyres often.

4. Always check your fuel levels. Do not chance it on the N2. You don’t want to have to pull over because you have run out of petrol. This is a situation that can ALWAYS be avoided.

5. I keep the N2 emergency number dialled in to my phone before I even get on to the N2. That way if I need to call them I just press one button and it dials. Keep this number saved in your phone: 021 480 7700.

6. If you frequent the N2, consider joining an emergency service group such as Soteria and the Safe Freeway Project. You can also download their app. Soteria offers:

  • A fully functional Individual and Group Instant Messaging Chat System
  • Watch Over Me (WOM)
  • Emergency Notifications and Alerts

7. Always drive in the far right hand lane to avoid pedestrians who could be walking on the shoulder of the road. I also tend to stick to the middle lane as much as possible. That way if there are pedestrians on either side of me, I am further away from them.

8. Try and drive with a grouping of cars. Catch up to cars in front of you or slow down for cars coming up behind you. Try avoid driving as a stand alone car.

9. If you suspect you are being followed, call emergency services immediately and drive to the nearest public space. A fuel station is often the go to, but make sure you have informed emergency services so they can potentially meet you there.

10. Always remain vigilant. Do not fiddle with the radio or worse, text and drive. Look ahead of the cars in front of you. Keep your wits about you and don’t ever become complacent on that road. There is a reason it is known to be one of the most dangerous roads in our country.

The N2 is not the only dangerous road in South Africa, the R300 comes to mind as well. And there are a dozen more, many outside of Cape Town as well. Please be careful, guys. I know many of these tips seem obvious, but sometimes a reminder or refresher can be life saving.

9 Comments
  • juliet
    says:

    No don’t stay away! The Garden Route is one of my favourite drives in the whole world. And it is certainly in no way as dangerous (crime-wise) as the N2. I can assure you that you will have a wonderful time in SA. It really is so beautiful and the people are incredible. Like anywhere in the world, one just has to be more vigilant in certain areas.

  • Aubrey
    says:

    We are arriving in Cape Town from the UK in September for a month to drive the Garden route,we are giving it serious second thoughts after reading your article.

  • Aubrey Staples
    says:

    We are arriving in Cape Town from the UK in September for a month to drive the Garden route,we are giving it serious second thoughts after reading your article.

  • juliet
    says:

    This is true. I think the issue is more about the fact that one isn’t safe anywhere on the N2 if they break down. I might take my chances with a truck and my hazards on than I would with a criminal with a gun. But in the situation, who knows how one will react I guess. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • Eric
    says:

    Suggestion nr2 might set you up for a massive accident. Many truckers drive that road and half the time they are asleep. If a stationery vehicle in the middle of the road suddenly appears you can expect some serious danger

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