Thursday, 15 January 2009

Idiots On Our Roads

Over the past six weeks I have had the opportunity to travel between Worcester and Cape Town on the N1 highway on several occasions. Each time I drive that particular stretch of road I am horrified at the disregard paid to the rules of the road by many drivers. I sometimes feel that many of my fellow drivers have no concern about their own safety, let alone the safety of other road users.

Recently I complained to a friend of mine about the fact that I was tailgated in the far right lane of the highway while travelling at 125km/h (5 km/h over the stated speed limit) by a rude man driving a BMW who spent most of his time gesticulating and making it pretty obvious that he wanted me to pull over into the middle lane. The fact that the middle lane was full of cars travelling at speed with no safe means of entering the traffic did not seem to enter his consciousness. I told my friend how angry I was at this blatant disregard for safety and the BMW driver's arrogance at thinking that the road belonged to him - never mind that I was already travelling at the speed limit.

I was gently reminded of the rule which states "Keep left, pass right" and my friend inferred that I should have moved over to allow this moron to continue speeding down the highway. Don't get me wrong - I am all for ensuring that the road rules are kept, but why should I move over to allow some speed demon to shoot along the freeway and endanger other lives?

This incident is but one of many I experienced over these past few weeks and I am left wondering how these fools can be prevented from continuing their unsafe driving habits.

I came across the Arrive Alive campaign's website which has a toll free number to dial to report bad driving - 0861 400 800. Perhaps I will use this next time I witness idiotic driving on the freeway! I also noticed on the site that you can register as a volunteer traffic observer. Now I'm not sure what this entails but I sure hope its more than just counting cars to determine traffic volume!

It also never ceases to amaze me why the country's traffic departments insist on hiding behind bushes with speed cameras instead of parking in visible places on the freeways. Surely this would be preventative instead of punitive and would encourage motorists to slow down? As a regular source of income, speed camera fines are great for the traffic department but do they really encourage motorists to drive more slowly? I honestly doubt it! Of course some drivers will never learn no matter what the traffic authorities do - read this account of a Porsche driver clocked twice at over 200 km/h in one day in Kwa-Zulu Natal!

Then of course we have those "kings of the road" - our mini-bus taxi drivers...but that's another subject for another post...

In the meantime, please drive carefully!

The Arrive Alive road safety blog can be found at http://roadsafety.wordpress.com
- it certainly makes for interesting and sobering reading.

4 comments:

jonckie said...

Thanks Arthur for spreading the word!! The public needs to asssist in identifying these regular offenders! Here is an interesting post on some of the feedback from the alleged offenders!

http://roadsafety.wordpress.com/2007/05/28/bad-drivers-respond-to-reports-of-bad-driving/

We will seek to find more feedback from the Call Centre!

Arthur said...

@jonckie - thanks for leaving a response. If the bad driving reports are working, why not make a far greater publicity campaign about the reporting number? Just wondering...

jonckie said...

Would love to...and I will give more publicity via the blog and site..keep in mind the website and blog is a labor of love and not funded by government - if only they can use more of the state funding for advertising in the media!!!

Steve Hayes said...

Yes, one should keep left and pass right, but sometimes I have been passing right when some guy does the kind of thing you describe, and flashes lights and gesticulates. when I'm alongside the vehicle I'm overtaking.

Since he obviously cannot wait until I'm past it, I slow down until I can pull in behind it, and then wave him past.