Words & photos: Greg Gillowey
Info: After leaving AfrikaBurn 2015, Greg (aka Braai Bliksem) was involved in a horrific accident that saw his caravan and its contents completely annihilated thanks to the thoughtless actions of two unknown assholes in 4×4’s. The photos shown here display just how serious the consequences of bad driving on the R355 can be.
Yeah I know, let’s get there already! Like two elephants walking in the desert… The road is looong, with many a winding turn (if you remember that ad you are too old to Burn anyway, you fossil).
I’m calling it: Dorothy was barking up the wrong tree. The road to happiness is not paved with yellow bricks. It’s Karoo-orange, long, dusty and dangerous, and much like all trials and tribulations, is has the ability to bring out the best in people. Strangers united on a common mission, helping each other with tows, tyre-changes, water, smiles and waves. We are bonded as a family heading back home. Amen.
But, that same journey on the way back, also has the ability to bring out the worst in people. The feel-good lessons we absorbed on our dusty patch of dust evaporate as we charge single-mindedly back to the other world and dodgy fast food. No stopping, no consideration, no patience, and sometimes no sleep. Know this: the Burn does not end when you leave past the gate and hit the road, it ends when every single Burner is home safe.
Bottom line? We’re all in this together, so take it from someone with first-hand experience. You DO NOT want to be sending someone to make a call home, to tell what is left of your family that things are fucked, broken, and destroyed. My kids nearly lost a dad, our Burn family nearly lost a brother, and we were the lucky ones.
The R355 is where good cars go to die, so let’s at least try and keep ourselves alive and safe. Here are a few tips that may save your life, or even better, may save someone else’s.
Braai Bliksem’s 10 Road Rules
1) Don’t overtake! That may be a bit extreme, but then again so is not making it home, ever. You have no idea what you do to the other guy, taking it slow will get you home safe.
2) If you are the other guy, limping along on your last spare tyre filled with tyre-weld, pull off the road every few kms to let everyone pass.
3) Plan, pack, and leave the Burn on time…not during the exodus!
4) Be that guy, or gal and take the road less travelled. Look for alternative scenic routes home (Calvinia, KoueBokkeveld, etc).
5) Bottom line – getting home IS going to take you all day. Enjoy the ride.
6) Do NOT party till the sun and leave straight away to beat the traffic. We all share the road and all wanna get home safe, dick.
7) This isn’t Days of Thunder. Holding your line and speeding through the dust is not the answer. Treat it like heavy fog, slow down to 10kmph and stick as left as possible. Remember there are also cars behind you.
8) Support the Padstal. It is a great place to stop and let the nerves chill out (no drinking and driving).
9) If you need to stop to change a tyre or whatever, make sure you are 100% off the road. If you stop to help someone, same rules apply.
10) Be lekka. Treat people how you would like them to treat you. We are all in this thing together and all wanna get there and back in one piece.
OK people…and GO!
Want more advice on road safety? Read our Survival Guide – it’s packed with great road advice, and a whole lot more.