In the wee hours of Wednesday morning my life flashed before my eyes.
Two of my friends who had just been married and I were making our way back from Sedgefield in the Western Cape. We had just under 100km to go before we arrived home when we were struck by falling rocks from a bridge running across the N1 freeway before the Grasmere Toll Plaza.
Four rocks hit the vehicle causing severe damage to the front left tyre, one hit the bonnet and lodged itself between the windscreen and the bonnet, another hit our cooling system and the final one hit the roof of the vehicle.
All the occupants of the vehicle were fine but we knew what was happening.
Criminals sit atop bridges and drop large rocks from them with a view to hitting cars. The idea is that you stop at which point you are hijacked or worse.
We told the driver of the vehicle to keep moving as slow as it was without a tyre.
It was 2:30am, there were no cars on the road, no lights and we were driving a car that was dying every centimetre it traveled.
As I had been taught in school, I dialled 10111, the number rang before simply dying. I tried again, this time it failed to connect completely.
I tried to call 112 but with the panic of the situation setting in I couldn’t hear the choice I was being asked to make by the recorded message. I remember screaming at the phone that I needed help not options.
During this time one of my friends had texted Namola.
Namola is a free app that works for Android and iOS. The app allows you to contact emergency services with a text message at which point an operator will contact you back.
“Please help, we have been struck by rocks on the N1. We need assistance” was all we sent and within seconds a Namola operator had called us.
Our location was sent via GPS and we were put in touch with both police in Orange Farm and a towing company from Vereeniging. This all happened so fast, our families couldn’t reach towing services or the police before Namola had put us in contact with both.
The operator, who we know only as Thandi, kept us on the line and when the line dropped she called us back immediately. This continued until police and the towing company arrived on scene and once we were away from the highway and safe, Thandi called again to check in.
We have written about Namola and SOS apps before but never did I think I would have to call on one of these services for myself. Never did I think to test these apps but when the time came, the service did what it promised to do.
In an emergency situation it’s easy for logic and critical thinking to fly out of the window, but Namola was a god-send. It was one app that helped us in multiple ways and we all felt like we were a bit safer because of it.
The ability to contact authorities and emergency services with one call is really the kicker here though. Being in an area we weren’t familiar with and not really knowing where we were was our immediate concern but Namola was great with assisting us in that regard.
Beyond that, it was good to have somebody else on the line that was talking us through what we should do.
Consider this a hearty recommendation to download Namola. You may need it, you may not, but if you find yourself in an emergency situation, you’ll be thankful that Namola works.[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]