OPINION: What the hell is wrong with Gauteng drivers?
I learnt to drive and have over the last four years been driving in Cape Town (aka Kaapstad, aka Slaapstad).
I've always been under the impression that the Mother City, while housing glorious scenery and friendly people, is also home to the country's most irritating motorists.
Oh, how wrong I was.
After relocating to Gauteng about a month ago and making a daily commute to Sandton from Pretoria, I am beginning to realise I was even more wrong than previously thought.
This is what I've learnt in Jo'burg so far:
- The orange lamp in the traffic light doesn't really count. When the traffic light goes amber, slowing down to stop is only a suggestion, especially if you're a taxi driver.
- There's also a slight lull when the traffic lights change, allowing some taxi drivers or other adventurous motorists to break the law and potentially cause an accident.
- Also, if you're a taxi driver, stopping immediately after crossing a robot is perfectly fine… as long as your hazards are flashing.
- It doesn't matter if you're blocking scores of vehicles behind you, because no one really has the guts to confront you. We're literally afraid of dying.
- The fast lane actually means going over the speed limit. I drove home on a Thursday night at 9pm on the N1 highway towards Pretoria, minding my own business. In fact, I was so conscious of staying within the speed limit that I'd turned down my extended version of Beyonce's visual album, when a fast-car (read BMW) driver drove his super flashy vehicle so close to my hatchback, I felt a little claustrophobic. He then proceeded to hoot, overtake me on the left-hand side and speed off like a cartoon character with its arse on fire.
- Road rage is very real here. A man literally got out of his car yesterday to ask me why I'd taken so long to pull away from a green light after hooting like a lunatic and almost forcing me off the road. I apologised, because what else was I supposed to do? But he huffed and stormed off.
- And why are there random robots in and out of the city centre that just don't work? I spent 45 minutes between the Primedia Broadcasting building on Gwen Lane and the end of Grayston Drive, towards Randburg on Friday afternoon, in lunchtime traffic, because the robots were not working and it was pouring with rain. And before people go off at me and blame the Gauteng thunderstorms, traffic was at a standstill the week before and there wasn't a raindrop in sight. This was also not related to load shedding and there were no traffic officials at the intersection.
Tell me, what do the Metro Police in Johannesburg do?
Upon driving into suburbs closer to Soweto, in Riverlea and as far as Noordgesig, other robots weren't working; the red lights weren't even flashing, they were just out. Dead.
They're all, 'Welcome to Gauteng!'
And I'm all, 'Voetsek!'
Tamsin Wort is an online producer for Eyewitness News , follow her on Twitter: @TamsinShawn.