Dismal driving, the SA standard

naval vessel at anchor

Is social media affecting our driving? I have to wonder if life online is affecting our thought processes when it comes to the real world. I’m not sure I can explain driver behaviour out on the roads differently.

One of the most notable problems I see with driving in South Africa, a complete absence of following distances. Now, you can break any law you like and get away with it – except the laws of physics. A body in motion isn’t just going to stop because you demand it, it takes time.

Travelling just a couple of metres behind the vehicle in front, even in a 60 km/h zone is going to end badly if they need to stop suddenly. There’s not even enough space to take reaction time into account. I know we’ve become used to following people closely online, but it simply cannot safely translate to the real world.

Then there’s the question of lights. All vehicles are fitted with headlights, taillights and indicators at minimum. It seems standard that at least some of these do not work – but those fog lamps located in the front bumper are apparently always in use, no matter how clear the evening.

Indicators are the one bulb that is never in danger of burning out and needing replacement on South African vehicles. They never get used, so the last forever. With the amount of communication that takes place these days, you would think that such a simple method of telling others what you are doing would be popular. Apparently not.

We regularly hear about “dangerous roads” but ultimately there are far fewer dangerous roads than there are dangerous drivers. There are far too many accidents that happen on South African roads and they all have one thing in common, South African drivers.

On a final note, the bartenders says “We don’t serve time travellers in here”.

A time traveller walks into a bar.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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