The next time there's a holiday and you're on the road to somewhere hopefully far from the maddening crowd, spare a thought for Philip Hull and his band of volunteers, who as usual will be manning a privately-funded medical rescue effort at the top of Van Reenen's Pass.
In peak times, some 3 000 vehicles per hour cross the Pass that links Free State and Kwazula-Natal, but it is the constantly changeable weather conditions and not just the traffic density which can make it one of the most treacherous sections of the N3. It's a twisting, turning section of dual carriageway where all four seasons can be experienced in the space of an hour.
SAC Holdings, the franchisor behind the nationally-represented Steves Auto Clinic chain, has thrown its weight behind the efforts of these latter-day good Samaritans, and has undertaken to provide maintenance on some of the vehicles used for rescue and recovery purposes.
The three diesel-engined double cabs - a Ford Ranger 2,5TDi, the Mazda Drifter equivalent, and an Isuzu KB300i - all went in for an initial 'health check' at the SAC branch in Boksburg prior to the Heritage Day long weekend, to ensure that they would be able to meet any challenge they may encounter on the Pass. This often includes towing stranded motorists out of dangerous situations, and with ambient temperatures on their way back up, there's always the chance of overheating cars - especially going up the Pass.
"The offer by SAC to help out couldn't have come at a better time," said Hull. "These vehicles are old, and work really hard with a heavy load of medical and rescue equipment on board. Both the Ford and Mazda have covered around 170 000 km, and we don't have a full history on either."
SAC will take a closer look at all three vehicles at the end of September, with a view to improving their performance, reliability, and economy. SAC Holdings has also, through an insurance brokerage - Finlife in Vanderbijlpark (SAC's home town) - arranged short term insurance on the vehicles for the next 12 months, as well as cover for windscreen and glass replacement through the PG Glass outlet in the town.
"This remarkable initiative has been on the go for roughly the same period of time that SAC has been in business," commented Steve Fischer of SAC Holdings. "We feel that it is a campaign well worth supporting, and we hope that we can make some small contribution to their efforts to improve the situation on our roads."
"SAC's core competency is making motor vehicles more efficient, and we will do that with their fleet, so that they can operate more effectively and with greater confidence."
Hull and his team have also found time between rescuing stranded motorists and attending to those injured in accidents to help the small but impoverished Van Reenen's community. They recently donated a consignment of blankets and foodstuffs to the poor children of the area.
Issued by Roadworx on behalf of SAC Holdings. For media enquiries contact Adrian Burford on 083 274 1139 or Steve Fischer on 016 981 1033. To visit the website click here