Experienced truckers will tell you to never park in an unsafe place on N1, N3 or rather, any highway in South Africa. Thanks to tyre robbers and armed hijackers you have to sleep with one eye open, that is if you dare try it.
Truck stops are generally considered to be the ‘safest’ places to park off because parking at any other place you may wake up to find your truck or trailer tyreless.
While there haven’t been reports of crime in truck stops on the N3 highway, the same is not true with N1 truck stops. Trucks have been stripped on manned truck stops on N1 which SA Trucker will not mention at this stage.
For that reason, truck drivers are advised to use only reputable truck stops to ensure their safety and that of their cargo.
Sometimes truck drivers are forced to park in unsafe places because of reasons out of their control hence I will share safety tips that may help you survive the danger of being attacked while you park anywhere on South African highways.
First and foremost, NEVER try to be a hero. When robbers approach you, play along exactly as instructed – don’t give them a reason to doubt you.
Recently in Mpumalanga, tyre thieves pounced on two trucks that were parked on the side of the road. One of the drivers was badly beaten while the other was dead asleep as the robbers helped themselves to his truck tyres.
Speaking to SA Trucker, one of the drivers said that they decided to take a one hour nap just to boost some energy to get to the next truck stop. “I thought we would be safe because it was the two of us,” he said.
How so, I don’t know because both were asleep and obviously not watching each other’s backs.
“After hearing noises on the truck I started the engine with the intention of quickly speeding away from the thieves but they came knocking on my door and I had to open the door as one of them was pointing a gun at me,” he added.
He said that they took his two cellphones and assaulted him badly.
The other driver was not attacked but he says one armed robber watched his truck for any movements while the others were busy removing tyres on his truck.
If the robber don’t wake you up, sleep it out.
You only become a problem to the robbers if you see them or try to disturb them hence even if you see them, don’t make them notice, rather, just pretend you are fast asleep.
If you try to escape then fail, you will regret it.
Give them the lock nut if they ask for it, they will never believe you if you say you don’t have it. If you are lucky they will believe after hitting you four or five times with the butt of their nine millimetre friend.
Only a breakdown should force you to park at an unsafe place otherwise other reasons, with proper planning you can avoid unsafe parking.
As SA Truckers we have different experiences on matters of the road hence we encourage you to share some tips which may have been omitted in this article and we will happily update it for the benefit of others.