Roll-starting a South African police car

Cape Town 2013-07-003We spent another beautiful day at the cape by climbing Lion’s Head from which you have spectacular views over downtown and the northern bay.

On our way back into town walking along the road we were stopped by a police car. The young officer in the car waved me over and asked me: “Do you know how to roll-start a car?”  This wasn’t really a question I had expected and it took me a moment to understand. I answered that I would know and he asked me: “Can you start this car for me?”  Again, I was caught by surprise and I repeated: “You ask me to get into the car and roll-start it?” My mind saw me sitting in a South African police car, happily rolling down the hill to get up to speed only to be arrested for stealing a police car. The young officer explained that he had rolled down the hill for 2 km but wasn’t able to start the car. By that time Nadine had joined the conversation and together we walked him through the roll-start process. He wasn’t too convinced but eventually we could talk him into giving it a try. He let the car roll and I ran next to the car to give him the signal when to release the clutch. The engine started up with no problem and we had saved the day for a very thankful South African police officer.


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