Road safety - years behind

Road safety - years behind

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Original Poster:

18,442 posts

154 months

Saturday 30th March 2013
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There have a been several stories in the news regarding road incidents - as is usual during the Christmas and Easter holidays - which really have made me think that road safety campaigns over the years really have not brought SA out of the 3rd world.

Dad cries over body of dead girl, 3
The Robberts family was in the Cape Winelands on holiday when their car crashed into a tractor, reported Volksblad.
Franché Robberts, his wife Mariska, their sons Stefan and Morné as well as their nanny, Paulina Nigget, were not seriously injured in the accident.
But Mia, the 3-year-old who was sitting on her mother’s lap at the time of the accident, was killed.

Man trying to cross highway hit by car
A man in his twenties died after trying to cross the N2 north near Ballito, paramedics said on Friday.

Most certainly not an isolated incident!

Why, after all the years of having road safety messages rammed down our throats in SA, are road users still so oblivious of the dangers? I can only assume it's a "can't happen to me" attitude.


Nothing more than a meandering mind this morning, and sorrow felt for that poor, innocent child and her family.

Alfanatic

8,384 posts

179 months

Friday 5th April 2013
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I recently heard of an incident where someone hit a pedestrian at night, didn't see them because they were dressed all in black. First vehicle on the scene was a tow truck, which ran over the body of the pedestrian because they also didn't see him. They weren't sure which of these two impacts killed the pedestrian.

The roads there are shocking, but when you drive them, even with their appalling statistics, you generally arrive at your destination safe and sound. So on the whole, thinking "It won't happen to me" gets reinforced with experience and is for the massive majority of journeys factually correct.

So the answer is a police presence (currently there hardly is one) and prosecution of any drivers breaking the law, because at the moment the only punishment for driving without a license or insurance, driving drunk, driving an unroadworthy vehicle, not wearing a belt, or having bald tyres, swerving across three lanes of traffic, overtaking on the hard shoulder, tailgating, whatever, is getting injured in the off chance you crash. You aren't going to get done by the police for it, so most of the time you'll get away with it.

It all works here in the UK because there are, relatively speaking, cops all over the place, they aren't going to be easy to bribe like the underpaid and understaffed SA ones are, and you'll get done, with a bit of luck, before you hurt someone.


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Original Poster:

18,442 posts

154 months

Friday 5th April 2013
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Watching the news footage of Oscar Pistorius' brother's trial, they showed the road where he had the accident which killed the girl. To say that the condition of the roads have deteriorated since I was last there is an understatement.

DUMBO100

1,877 posts

144 months

Thursday 7th November 2013
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My In laws have a holiday home in Sea Point in Capetown, when we visited in March we used their spare car ( an excellent Mini Cooper Works)to tour the area. On a trip home from The Wine Region we had to drive back at midnight and the driving of other road users was horrendous. There were numerous pick ups over loaded and unroad-worthy with lights out or missing completely, which we had to swerve to avoid on the pitch black motorway. The white knuckled journey lasted about 2 hours until we reached the well-lit safety of Capetown. Funnily enough the roads in town are surprisingly good but motorways between cities are frightening.

Dave Holmes

9 posts

75 months

Wednesday 10th September 2014
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I live in Johannesburg where the culture of defiance of the law has become a national pastime. The causes of this have to be laid squarely at the door of our Constitution.
Road Traffic enforcement is devolved to the Provinces and the Local Municipalities. They have disparate views on enforcement, and in desperation, must have been 20 years ago, the Minister of Transport tried to introduce AARTO (The Administration and Adjudication of the Road Traffic Ordnance) but has no powers over the Provinces and Municipalities who have ignored it. 20 years later there are only pilot programmes which have no force in law.
The fact it, "Drive Alive" the well-meant National programme does not have the enforcement backing of the Provinces and Municipalities, and is a useless albeit expensive talk-show.
There are road blocks everywhere because speed trap fines, the only fines issued these days, are being ignored by the public who have lost respect for the law. The road blocks seek to intimidate people to pay their fines. Summons are no longer issued because the courts cannot handle traffic offences any more, in fact the whole legal system is on the point of collapse here. It is a shambles!
I said to a policeman the other day, "Yes I must have three fines I haven't paid" to which he responded, "Well, you HAVE TO pay your fines". His supervisor came over and threatened me with arrest, and I simply said, "Arrest me - but be prepared to bear the consequences - I have not been issued with summons for these fines, and every citizen has the right to defend every case in a court of law" They laughed and let me go, because they know this is true.
We actually need a class action to force the legal system to repair itself. It has reached crisis point

Chris Type R

5,569 posts

209 months

Monday 2nd March 2015
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I was in Durban last week and the roads seem to have far more traffic than I remember. Busy all day & not just peak times. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the roads - the driving on the other hand.... indicators rarely used, lots of speeding, undertaking at speed, tail-gating, etc. Lots of aggression & very little courtesy.

In the time we were there we traveled about 1000km and in that time passed 3 serious accidents which had blocked all the lanes on the opposite carriageway.

Driving back from Heathrow during rush-hour was quite pleasant in comparison.

rs1952

5,241 posts

219 months

Wednesday 11th March 2015
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Chris Type R said:
I was in Durban last week and the roads seem to have far more traffic than I remember. Busy all day & not just peak times. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the roads - the driving on the other hand.... indicators rarely used, lots of speeding, undertaking at speed, tail-gating, etc. Lots of aggression & very little courtesy.

In the time we were there we traveled about 1000km and in that time passed 3 serious accidents which had blocked all the lanes on the opposite carriageway.

Driving back from Heathrow during rush-hour was quite pleasant in comparison.
But South Africa is South Africa and not the UK, so you shouldn't really expect identical behaviour to what you might see between Luton and Bedford.


Chris Type R said:
lots of speeding
Outside of built up areas the speed limit is generally only taken as a guide. I once overtook a police car between Mossel Bay and Riversdale doing 140k (limit 120) and nothing came of it. In most built up areas you'd have a problem with maintaining high speed given the amount of traffic lights and 4 way stops. On the motorway network too, I rarely see what I would call excessive speed.


Chris Type R said:
undertaking at speed
As in the UK, the law says "keep left." In everyday driving, the convention is "pick a lane you like the look of and stay there" (like in the USA). Many UK drivers have a particular issue with passing on the "wrong side" - many countries don't. When in Rome etc...


Chris Type R said:
tail-gating
Especially if you get in the way of a combi taxi wink As I said, when in Rome...


Chris Type R said:
Lots of aggression & very little courtesy.
Are you talking about South Africa or the M25 on an average day? smile

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Original Poster:

18,442 posts

154 months

Thursday 12th March 2015
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RS1952, it sounds like you're an apologist for the average South African motorist and the lack of respect for the law or acceptable driving standards.

When you have the number of deaths seen on the roads, the "when in Rome" argument just does not wash with me. If that level of driving helped to prevent collisions, injury or death, I could begin to understand it. But it doesn't. It's those driving standards which result in the statistics we see.


Chris Type R

5,569 posts

209 months

Thursday 12th March 2015
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rs1952 said:
Are you talking about South Africa or the M25 on an average day? smile
I'm not entirely sure why you're dissecting my post...

I'm comparing against when I lived there, when I've visited there over the last 20 years, and what I'm used to in a country with lower road death rates.




rs1952

5,241 posts

219 months

Thursday 12th March 2015
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Chris Type R said:
rs1952 said:
Are you talking about South Africa or the M25 on an average day? smile
I'm not entirely sure why you're dissecting my post...

I'm comparing against when I lived there, when I've visited there over the last 20 years, and what I'm used to in a country with lower road death rates.
I wasn't anything personal, just that I came back from my latest escape from the UK winter in Cape Town last Tuesday week after spending ten weeks both there and in Johannesburg. I cannot honestly say that I found general driving standards to be significantly lower than in the UK.

Note the use of the word "general." There are certainly styles of driving in SA that we don't have in the UK (I'm thinking especially of taxi drivers, where it is simply best to keep out of their way), and things happen in SA that don't happen in the UK, such as people walking along motorways and taxis stopping to pick 'em up. Something else that is different is the attitude to drink driving, which is much the same as it was in the UK 40 years ago (ie. you've had some bad luck if you get caught). If you see somebody driving in a manner that makes you think they might have had one over the eight, you keep out of their bloody way.

There is also no MOT-style test in SA, and that could be a potential cause of problems. I have witnessed on more than one occasion a truck coming downhill in a crawler gear because the driver knew his brakes wouldn't stop it. Again, when you see that sort of thing going on, you adjust your driving style accordingly.

As I said, when in Rome...

But all that said, on the average road on the average day and in average traffic conditions, I would still contend that the overall standard of driving in SA varies little from that found in the UK. Don't forget that we too have our fair share of idiots on the road, as does every other country in the world.



Chris Type R

5,569 posts

209 months

Thursday 12th March 2015
quotequote all
rs1952 said:
I wasn't anything personal, just that I came back from my latest escape from the UK winter in Cape Town last Tuesday week after spending ten weeks both there and in Johannesburg. I cannot honestly say that I found general driving standards to be significantly lower than in the UK.
Maybe it's a KZN / Durban specific thing - I found the differences very noticeable. As I say, I'm comparing to how things used to be on previous trips & what I'm used to.

One of the other "you're in Africa" differences which I didn't mention (which I do expect though) was the number of incidences of life-stock on the road. This was when travelling to/from Dundee.

I'm not sure if it's lack of training / lack of consideration, but it did seem that there were lots of drivers seemingly indifferent to other road users and the with poor anticipation.

Chris Type R

5,569 posts

209 months

Thursday 12th March 2015
quotequote all
rs1952 said:
Are you talking about South Africa or the M25 on an average day? smile
From my post above, it was in fact pleasant to be on the M25 travelling from Heathrow at approx 8am on a Friday morning. I'm as surprised as anyone else, reading that back.

rs1952

5,241 posts

219 months

Saturday 14th March 2015
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rs1952 said:
I wasn't anything personal, just that I came back from my latest escape from the UK winter in Cape Town last Tuesday week after spending ten weeks both there and in Johannesburg. I cannot honestly say that I found general driving standards to be significantly lower than in the UK.

Note the use of the word "general." There are certainly styles of driving in SA that we don't have in the UK (I'm thinking especially of taxi drivers, where it is simply best to keep out of their way), and things happen in SA that don't happen in the UK, such as people walking along motorways and taxis stopping to pick 'em up. Something else that is different is the attitude to drink driving, which is much the same as it was in the UK 40 years ago (ie. you've had some bad luck if you get caught). If you see somebody driving in a manner that makes you think they might have had one over the eight, you keep out of their bloody way.

There is also no MOT-style test in SA, and that could be a potential cause of problems. I have witnessed on more than one occasion a truck coming downhill in a crawler gear because the driver knew his brakes wouldn't stop it. Again, when you see that sort of thing going on, you adjust your driving style accordingly.

As I said, when in Rome...

But all that said, on the average road on the average day and in average traffic conditions, I would still contend that the overall standard of driving in SA varies little from that found in the UK. Don't forget that we too have our fair share of idiots on the road, as does every other country in the world.
Another couple of thoughts on this matter where UK driving conventions differ from SA ones.

People are likely to come out of side streets into much smaller gaps in traffic than is the convention in the UK. You might consider that you are being "cut up" but that's the way things are done down there.

As SWMBO reminded me when I mentioned a particular incident to her (she lived in SA for much of her adult life), drivers will sometimes indicate a "thank you" by blowing their horn. In the UK as a general rule, horn-blowing is seen as an aggressive gesture, and this is not necessarily the case in other countries.

Finally, a good rule of thumb is to never wind anybody up whilst driving in SA, or contribute to or aggravate a road rage situation. The other party is much more likely to have a gun than they are in the UK wink

kiseca

8,384 posts

179 months

Saturday 14th March 2015
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Just the way they do things in the UK kills around 1800 people a year. Just the way they do things in SA kills two thirds of that number over Christmas alone. There are just 7 million licensed drivers in SA contributing to this carnage compared to around 30 million sharing the UK's crowded, narrow, twisty and unsighted roads without managing to kill 40 people a day.

Road safety there sucks.

Dave Holmes

9 posts

75 months

Wednesday 18th November 2015
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47 road deaths a day in South Africa. This is indicative of the sad decline in Government's ability to cope. South Africans drive the way they do, because they can.

lenandsons

1,315 posts

193 months

Friday 22nd January 2016
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Maybe I drove in a different SA in November trip from JHB - Mkuze - Ballito - Mooi River - JHB. Roads were in good nick at least equal to if not better than the roads I remember in the UK (left there 8 yrs ago to move to Canada) drivers on the whole courteouse to a fault, even moving over to allow faster traffic through. Saw none of the "stop and bribe" activities that I had been warned about. All in all a great experience. As for speeding and that heinous activity undertaking again not an issue, sure guys were doing it but no worse than here in Canada or from memory the UK.
Motorways around JHB are far busier than I remember reminded me of the M25, M3, M4 etc .
However motoring costs are huge