Following increasing reports of motorists falling victim to crime whilst stranded on South African roads, the N4 toll concessionaire, Trans African Concessions (TRAC), decided to enhance its road safety measures with a roadside assistance service.
This type of investment in the motoring community on a specific stretch off road is a first in South Africa.
Road users are vulnerable when their vehicles break down. Now, TRAC has established a roadside assistance team with a toll free number which road users can call 24-hours a day.
During the initial phase, nine assistance vehicles will be operational along the N4 route, from Pretoria to Komatipoort. The roadside assistance teams will be located near Bronkhorstspruit, Middelburg, Waterval Boven, Nelspruit and Malelane.
On receiving a distress call through the call centre, an assistance vehicle will be dispatched to where help is needed.
If the roadside assistance team can provide immediate help, e.g. changing a tyre, they will do so. If, however, the problem experienced is more complex, the assistance team will call for additional support, and will remain with the stranded road user until professional help has arrived, or until the person can move again.
TRAC has been testing the roadside assistance service, without promoting it, since early this year.
This year 1096 vehicles were assisted on the N4.
* 452 vehicles broke down
* 283 had flat tyres
* 62 ran out of fuel
* 15 had other problems reported
* 284 vehicles had to be removed from the N4
The safety of the motoring community on the N4 is a main priority for TRAC. As a result, TRAC has already implemented other measures to provide a safe route to all road users:
* High accident areas are identified and corrective measures are implemented;
* Regular route patrols are provided by TRAC to continuously inspect the road and road reserve
* As part of TRAC's incident management system, it is integrated with centralised call centres that are responsible for the dispatch of relevant assistance such as SAPS, Emergency Services and TRAC patrols; and
* Safety programmes are carried out with the relevant traffic police
SOS phones along the N4 have been removed as they were vandalised and fell in disuse with the advent of cellphones. The 0800-number will now perform the function of the former SOS phones.
The current blue kilometre marking boards on the side of the road are now being replaced (every 2 kilometres) to display the 0800-number for TRACassist. Road users should attempt to give the readings on the blue marker boards to the call centre when they require assistance. Giving this reading will help the assistance team to know which assistance team is closest and can reach you in the shortest possible time.
The toll free number for all road users on the N4 in South Africa is: 0800 8722 64 (0800 TRACN4).