Having fun with cars

So I get this call from my son on my mobile phone one Sunday: “Halooo! I’ve been in an accident.”

And so starts a Sunday afternoon of fun.

I told Ouboet to just stay put (he said that was his plan) and not to allow anyone to tow him away other than the insurance appointed dude (he says he will).

I call the emergency line of the insurance company. I voice mail answers, taking her absolute time telling me how welcome I am at this particular facility, that all calls are recorded, and…..

OK, by then I stopped listening and decided this must be the wrong number. You can’t have such a docile response to emergencies. I terminated the call (if it was not my mobile I would have slammed down the phone just to make my point of course). I dialed the alternative (non-emergency) number I have for the insurance company. Aaaah! The same voice answers, telling me the same story.

Now understand, I’m slightly agitated. My son is standing at the roadside at a busy section of the N1, and I understood other cars were involved. I fear someone doing a local rendition of road rage, and I would want to get there as soon as possible.

Eventually the voice tells me to press 1 if I have an emergency or if I want to lodge a claim. Thank you! Incidentally I mos wish to do both. In their defense I must say that from there on things went pretty quick and smooth. They will send a tow truck.

I jumped in the car to drive out to the scene. I took my thirteen year old along so that he can man the WhatsApp for further communication with Ouboet. Kleinboet also has his mother’s iPad open on the maps function. “Just so you do not get lost,” was my wife’s parting words. Really, woman! I live here. I know this place.

OK, out on the N1 inbound to Cape Town. Ouboet advised that I must take the Sable Road bridge to get back on the N1 outbound. I do so. After a while I can see him standing. However, he is on the N1 proper, and I am on the connecting road running between Century City and the N1. I cannot get close to him. I can see there is another car, but no overt aggression is observed.

Now I need to get back on the N1 inbound, take the next bridge after Sable road, and repeat the exercise. Piece of cake, it will just take a bit of time.

The first bridge where I can do this is the connection with the N7. So I take the turn-off. But hey, this is wrong! Instead of heading to the bridge to cross over and get back on the N1 I find myself on the road heading to Malmesbury. @##$%!

Which way now. I turned left at the next road, now heading behind Century City in the direction of Milnerton. I missed the Sable road connection (well, I was not looking for it, really) and soon thereafter found myself in Milnerton. I turned left and now headed in the general direction of the N1. Traffic light red. Next traffic light red. Next traffic light green until I’m nearly there. Ysterplaat. Traffic light red.

Ouboet’s WhatsApp comes through: the truck is here.

This place must really be a red light district. Negotiating red light upon red light I eventually get on the N1 outbound. At least now I am in the lane that will take me to Ouboet.

We get there. No cars.


Kleinboet checks the WhatsApp. Ouboet is waiting at the N1 City MacDonalds. Good. Now just for the N1 City turnoff.

The first bridge is Monte Vista Boulevard. There is no board for N1 City yet, so that must be the next turn-off. Noooo! Just as I pass under the Monte Vista Boulevard bridge I realised I just missed the turn-off to N1 City. No problem. Just take the next turn-off.

No. Giel Basson does not allow access from Cape Town, only from the other direction. Aaaaaah!

Next bridge, Plattekloof. This time I get it right.

So I eventually arrived at N1 City. After a cursory inspection of the damage to the car and a quick word with Ouboet to check that he is OK, and with the driver of the tow truck, we are off again.

Sirion verklein

On the advice of the tow truck we head directly to the Maitland police station to report the accident.

On the way there I got filled in by Ouboet on what happened. The first car in a row of three cars suddenly slammed on brakes and came to a dead stop. In the middle lane, and for absolutely no discernible reason at all. The car behind him also slammed on the brakes and stopped. He obviously had a good reason to do so. And third in the row was Ouboet. He had to swerve not to collide with the car in front of him (that’s now the one with the good reason to stop).

Unfortunately Ouboet’s maneuver entailed a slight over correction, sending him into the rails, then up in the air in a 360 degree spin, and back on the tarmac. According to the guy in the car in front of him (the guy stayed with him until the tow truck came) he thought Ouboet would overshoot into the lane of N1 inbound traffic.

Fortunately not.

I sounds like it must have been an impressive sight. He must show me sometime.

Now Ouboet is a bit flustered. “I knew this was going to happen,” he lamented. “This weekend was just too good to last!”

“Aag, piss off, pessimist,” I tried to cheer him up.

“O ja, I told the insurance guy on the phone my driver’s licence expired yesterday, “ he mentioned.

“You what?!” Aha! Now I suddenly understood what could have made that first car slam on his brakes the way it did. “You idiot! I should have known this weekend was too good to last. What were you thinking?!”

So Ouboet took out his licence just to check the expiry date. “Oh, no, it’s OK. It only expires next week.”

“See, life isn’t all bad. What did I tell you!” I started accelerating (and breathing) again.

Well, the rest was the usual. No, Maitland is not the right station. Try Goodwood. I decided to short circuit the whole exercise and took the form from the guy at the Maitland station and eventually reported the incident at the station closest to home. After arriving there with the completed form, I was on my way two minutes later, armed with a temporary SAPS registration number.

Life is good, ek sê.


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