David Moseley

Who needs road rules?

2012-02-29 10:42

Dear person in charge of roads,

Around 13 000 people a year die on South Africa’s roads (about 12 899 of those are usually declared brain-dead before an accident actually happens). In comparison, there are (on average) five shark attacks a year in the country, with deaths sitting somewhere around the one-to-two person mark.

Popular beaches and surf spots in South Africa are now dotted with shark spotters. But you don’t see any moron spotters on our roads, sitting by patiently and waiting to alert considerate drivers that some tool is about to speed into the oncoming traffic so he doesn’t have to wait in line to turn a corner.

I ask you this, Mr Roads Manager, if we can’t place moron spotters on our country’s roads, can we please rather just put them down, or failing that, just bin the rules of the road. We’re halfway there already.

We could send everyone on a Roads Awareness course. If we can have sex education at school (well, that’s what we had. Now I hear the kids just have sex), surely we can have road education. A particularly pertinent lesson would be “Painted Lines on Black Tarmac: Pure Decoration or Meaningful Driving Aid”.

This would help those road users who seem to think the yellow, white, red, solid and broken painted lines are there purely as some form of primitive artwork, created by an ancient culture that weirdly exercised patience and good manners. Perhaps as an extra-credit course to this vital lesson you could add “Double White Lines on a Blind Rise Do Not Signify ‘It’s Time to Overtake’ but Rather You Will Die You Fucking Retard”.

What a waste

If not lessons (everyone one will just protest anyway), why waste good paint on the roads? Surely if we just leave them black as the tar intended we could save millions of rands. Then you wouldn’t need to tax the country to the brink of extinction to set up your “This is Not a Job for Pals” e-tolling system.

The painted lines on our roads, I’m sure you’ve realised by now, mean nothing to most South African drivers. They don’t even function as a helpful guideline, with most pooh-poohing the very notion of common sense: “Lanes? Where we’re going, we don’t need lanes,” they scoff. “We drive where we like. What’s a bus lane? Why can’t I drive on this nice shoulder – look! No traffic. Hazaar!”

And Stop streets, my good sir, Stop streets. Why waste money on erecting stop streets. We laugh in the very face of Stop streets and red lights. “Ha, ha,” we say, “fuck you, rules. Rules are for people who want to live! We want to jump Stop streets.”

If we save money on fixing traffic lights and Stop streets (and painting STOP on the road) we’ll have more moolah left over to cremate the clowns who so carelessly jump them - then the good folk of South Africa wouldn’t have to pay more to the Road Accident Fund, a fund that’s used mostly to scrape brains of the tarmac anyway.

And direction. I mean, honestly. What is direction? What a waste of time. If you can get somewhere quicker by driving on the wrong side of the road to sneak into a right or left-hand turn filter lane, to shave that extra 7.2 seconds off your travelling time, why shouldn’t you be able to do it? Others driving about, minding their own business, will simply get out the way. And if they don’t, you can just hoot and wave your fists angrily, as if that innocent driver has just reversed over your child.

Traffic cops, speed limits, emergency lanes – all surplus to requirement on South Africa’s roads anyway. Who needs them? It’s already a free for all out there as it is, just make it official and stop wasting drivers’ time by forcing the odd one into the city to pay a fine.  

Rules? That’s for first world countries man. This is Africa. We do whatever the fuck we like.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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