Cape Town - People are putting themselves at risk of being robbed by criminals on some of the city’s most dangerous roads by running out of petrol.

The city has now cautioned motorists after having to rescue a high number of drivers who had run out of petrol over the festive season.

Last month, metro police responded to 134 incidents of motorists stranded along the N2 and R300 – but despite the notorious reputation for criminal attacks along these roads, 61 percent of the drivers were stranded because of mechanical issues or running out of fuel.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said that highway safety was not the responsibility of the police alone. “I want to urge motorists to safeguard their wellbeing and that of their passengers by ensuring they have enough petrol before they set off – and not just on the highways, because opportunistic criminals can strike anywhere and at any time,” Smith said.

“Enforcement is important, but safety is a shared responsibility and we need motorists to do their bit.”

The drivers of the 134 stranded vehicles called for help between 7pm and 6am. Of these, 55 had mechanical problems, 33 had faults with their tyres, 27 had run out of petrol and six had been in accidents.

“Things can and will go wrong with our vehicles and sometimes those incidents are beyond our control,” Smith said. “However, our many years of traffic enforcement have also taught us that vehicle maintenance is not a priority for many people. The number of incidents that metro police responded to over a relatively short period of time is astounding; more so the number of incidents where mechanical problems or a lack of fuel were the reason.”

Smith said that while the responsibility for the road lies with Sanral and the Western Cape government, with the police in charge of crime prevention, motorists need to play their part by not neglecting maintenance on their vehicles.

Cape Argus