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Friday, June 05, 2009

Driving in South Africa - Pt 2

Read Part 1 if you haven't yet.

A couple of days ago I started writing a "series" on driving in South Africa. It concerned the issue of stealing while we drive. Driving in South Africa is not the safest thing to do, and when you have lived in a first world country you would immediately know what I am writing about here. In first world countries people have a greater respect for the rules of the road and for other drivers.

Today I would like to touch on the dangerous practice of South Africans changing lanes over solid white lines. "Big deal!", I hear from many corners of South Africa. Well, the next time a family member or friend is fatally injured because somebody did not keep to legal lane usage on our roads, you will probably change your mind. The problem is that too many people wait for something drastic to happen before they change their attitudes and behaviour.

Pic AAs in my previous post, I would like to present you with a practical example. Looking at the picture on the left (Pic A), you will notice that a road joins a north-south double lane road from the west. The problem is that the double-lane only starts after the road joining from the west. The traffic moving from south to north are using a single lane that effectively becomes a double-lane just after the road from the west. So, what is the problem?

Well, vehicles coming from the west is presented with a yield sign when they arrive at the south-north road. After yielding, they may go, since they have a dedicated lane which joins the double lane road after the end of the SOLID white line in the middle of the road, separating the traffic coming from the south from the "joining" traffic. When you look at Pic A, you will notice the white lines I added. I also added red and green lines. Green lines represent legal driving and the red line represents illegal driving.

With the way people are driving down that road, it sometimes becomes a real hassle to join the road from the west, since cars come storming down that road and they move over to the left lane across the yellow chevron lines and solid white lines preventing cars from using the dedicated "joining" lane from the west. This is a serious risk, since drivers simply ignore the rules of the road!

The simple unbridled selfishness of South African drivers astound me. 9 times out of 10, if an error such as this is pointed out to an offending driver, you would probably have to endure foul language or rude hand signals or both.

My bet is, if South African drivers could retain their driver's licenses based on the way they drive, hordes of them would forfeit their licenses because of their bad driving and disregard for the law.

Continue with Part 3, Part 4.

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