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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  • Mary-Jean - 2012-02-29 10:58

    I take it you have just had a bad experience out there!!!

      TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-02-29 11:46

      bad experiences exist on our roads every day :/ Don;t even get me started on how harshly bike/scooter drivers are disregarded. It's shameful and sickening. Even pedestrians cause problems due to not understanding the rules of the roads themselves.

      Thandi - 2012-03-01 08:41

      Mary-Jean - I have a bad experience every time I venture onto South African roads. My daily commute is fortunately relatively short, but at the two robot-controlled intersections I pass through, it is a daily game of 'guess how many cars I can watch running the red light'. I have watched Metro police and SAPS vehicles blatently running red lights, so what hope is there if the people who are supposed to police the anarchy are among the offenders. I once challenged someone influencial in traffic circles to a dare - we would observe a stop street, and for every car that stopped I would pay him R10, but for every car that didn't stop, he would have to pay me R1. He considered the odds were in my favour, so didn't take up my challenge. So yes, chances are David has just had a bad experience, just because he has driven on a South African road.

  • Victor - 2012-02-29 11:08

    The opening sentence should read "Dear person in charge of our country"

      Gungets - 2012-02-29 12:38

      Vic - at some stage people have to take personal responsibility for their actions. You, me, the oke driving the taxi. If we all waited to be caught before we behave like decent human beings we are screwed. And that counts for everywhere, not just South Africa. Switzerland doesn't need a cop on every corner, nor does Norway, Sweden, all the low crime areas. Poeple do right. Everyone needs to start with themselves. Problem solved. And don't look for racial justification because in the cold light of day it does not exist. Anarchy is in the South African DNA. It is a national disgrace.

      wesleywt - 2012-02-29 13:51

      The president has nothing to do with you speeding everywhere because you are too lazy to get up early.

  • Bradley - 2012-02-29 11:10

    I see this behavior in Randburg every morning. So ja, why not.

  • Victor - 2012-02-29 11:13

    Stop removing peoples comments !!!!!!

  • Victor - 2012-02-29 11:18

    So much for democracy and freedom of speech"commie bastards"

  • Stephen - 2012-02-29 11:38

    The other day I stopped, did the look and then started forward again. The driver behind, using funny signs and his hooter showed him how wrong I was, apparently you just need to slow down, not actually stop. Silly me, after 35 years with a license, just shows how little we know!!!

      freddie.smuts - 2012-03-06 07:34

      LOL, rules are for fools...according to many.

  • qhuggett - 2012-02-29 11:45

    I agree, the roads these days are a complete joke! Another solution would be... give me a rocket launcher and lost of ammo and the right to blow stupid morons up with it! Promise the roads will be pleasant very very quickly!

      jackivdm - 2012-02-29 12:12

      Yes, I think the moron spotters should be equipped with sniper rifles and just pick out the idiots from among us - they are just befouling the gene pool with their idiot genes anyway... I have for a long time been tempted to drive around with a paint ball gun in my car, and if someone does something stupid, I would just like to give them a wake-up shot. Blobs of shocking paint and some dents in their car would also serve to warm other drivers that they are driving in close proximity to an imbecile, and should therefore be extra careful...

  • clivelang1 - 2012-02-29 11:58

    Awesome article, just lose the expletives......don't like my breakfast messy.

      Mike - 2012-02-29 12:40


  • Jacques - 2012-02-29 12:18

    And drunk driving. Students are invincible, right? I mean- road accidents happen to old people driving old cars or stupid people driving cheap ones. If you're studying at a smart uni and drive an Audi, surely you're free to piss around at 2 am after you started drinking at 4? Jeez. People need to get with the program! *Sarcasm (just making that clear).

      Eric - 2012-02-29 12:58

      That's 22 hours of drinking!

      Garyth - 2012-02-29 14:10

      Eric..4pm to 2am is 10 hours btw..

  • vlarismam - 2012-02-29 13:06

    David for president!

  • Mike - 2012-02-29 17:02

    Well I just heard to share this,I was recently driving to Mpumalanga and we were pulled over by this traffic officer.He asked me were I was heading and my collegues at the back they were not strapped and he started all this lessons about road safety,what touched me most was when he told one of my friends on how they look respectable when wearing their seat belt.He even told ust how important is it to share the road,stop at the stop sign etc and I was deeply moved and I would never forget him.He looked like he is in his late 50s or 60s and us being very young to be his sons I could see he meant all the words he was saying he also went on to tell us how we have our whole future ahead of us and reckless driving can mean we can end up on a wheel chair or die. I wish so many officers on our roads were more like that old man,ever since that day I always obey the rules of the road and kind of feel bad or stupid if I ever see myself driving around without my seatbelt on or jumping the stop sign or red traffic light.

  • somersetmorkel - 2012-02-29 21:22

    Could you imagine what priority the government would give a situution where 13000 people died in one year of a terrible sickness - and 50000 were seriously impaired physically by it? That's what happens on our roads every year..

  • Sharon - 2012-02-29 21:41

    it is the norm to break the rules of the road by all South Africans including the police. Until we have proper law enforcement and the correct example set by the police this will continue. If you follow the law and stop when you are supposed you get sworn at.

      David - 2012-03-01 10:49

      You know it. Some oke spent 5 minutes hooting at me on Monday because I stopped at a red traffic light! I thought that was what we were supposed to do. Oh dear...

  • dietmar.schekierka - 2012-03-01 10:42

    they used to say "Keep death off the road - drive on the pavement" I think some people take that seriously

  • Patricia - 2012-03-01 22:01

    Well, I run a driving school in Johannesburg and I believe that a large portion of the complaint is due to people in South Africa wanting to take short-cuts and bribe for a driver's licence. Imagine how risky it is to share the road with a new driver who has bought their licence, a danger to you and to me. If you know somebody in South Africa who would like to pass their driver's licence legally they should visit my site:

  • Linda - 2012-03-02 07:27

    Cannot agree with you more!!! It's a battlefield on our roads.

  • Belia - 2012-03-02 07:51

    I live in Cape Town and drive 19 km to work which can take up to one and a half hours on a "bad" day so I have plenty of time to "observe". On the N1 there is not one four wheel drive fitted with indicators, not one person that knows you dont overtake on a solid line, it is a circus out on our road with plenty of clowns! I am moving back to the centre of CT before I get killed!

  • Denise - 2012-03-02 07:55

    lolololol Love it!

  • samantha.lister.09 - 2012-03-03 09:52

    My favourite is how people think that having their hazard lights on means they can do whatever they like! *cough cough, taxi drivers!!*

  • freddie.smuts - 2012-03-06 07:33

    Well said, very well said. Going out on the road is a bad experience right from the start. And, its not only limited to taxis...whites are not much better these days...jumping stop streets, speeding,not indicating, tailgating...worse than taxi drivers.

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