Joburg Drivers vs Cape Town Drivers

We all know the popular South African aphorism – “Joburg has better drivers than Cape Town.” Even staunch, I-could-never-live-anywhere-else Capetonians say this. I certainly have.

We embrace our crappy driving and wear it as a mark of pride. There is no need for a sense of direction when you can just look up at the mountain to figure out where you are. Hurry? Why hurry? It’s not like anything is that far away. Indicate? Why indicate? You can only go one of three ways.

After six weeks of driving extensively around Joburg, I’ve noticed that Cape Town drivers are actually better in three ways:

  • Freeways: In Cape Town people moan if someone ‘sits’ in the right-hand lane. That doesn’t exist here. Joburg drivers have never even heard of “Keep Left, Pass Right”. It’s just “Pick A Lane, Any Lane”.
  • Traffic circles: I keep getting hooted at when I go through traffic circles. Why? Joburg drivers treat them as 4-way stops. The concept of “Yield to the right” has not trekked north yet.
  • Manners: Road users are more, er, “assertive” in Gauteng. The only people who let me in when I’m stuck behind a truck are the taxi drivers. Although I am driving around with a CA licence plate so maybe that has something to do with it.

All that said, Joburg still wins the Better Drivers Award for the following reasons:

  • A green light means go immediately – not 10 seconds later.
  • Indicators aren’t decorative.
  • Suburban roads are expertly navigated, despite enormous potholes and a million badly marked speedbumps.
  • There are less POSs* on the road and consequently less breakdowns blocking the freeway.

*POS – Piece Of Shit

11 Comments

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Love it! Don’t forget to mention the fog light showdown in Cape Town. I’m Capetonian, but I wish people would switch off their fogs. It’s Cape Town, not friggin Russia.

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Someone told me the other day that it’s only yield to the right at the big circles, when it’s the smaller ones it’s like a 4-way stop. I just yield to the right regardless but you can see everyone’s confused.

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh so very true! Brilliant article. Wish you could compare some other provinces, like the EC!

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Everyone is confused because everywhere you go, the rules are different! But, anywhere in the world a green light means go – but it is always a good idea to wait a FEW seconds for those crossing in front to get the hint that they are on RED. Otherwise, this can lead to some very nasty situations!

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Being a proudly Joburg driver – I do agree with your points. I wish Joey’s drivers would learn that yeild to the right – I remember this well from the learner’s licenses I wrote years ago. Pitty it hasn’t filtered through to actual driving.

    @FictionFred – Joey’s driver’s also have this bad habbit of leaving their rear fog lights on… for what?! Gah!

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    HAHAHA as a post joburg driver I can confirm all 3 statements. And though the CA plates has some effect, those who wouldn’t let you in front of them, probably wouldn’t have done it even if you had the GP plates..

    The use of traffic circles has always frustrated me.. go to Pretoria side.. its 10X worse!! there you will ge a proper snot klap for trying to ‘yield to the right’.

    GL on the roads =D

    P.S would never trade jozi traffic for ct traffic, <3 the madness

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Cheekiest. Wife. Ever.

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Haha. Its the same coming from Durban.

    Circles here usually ARE 4 way stops
    http://www.circles.org.za/r2.html

    Its only the big ones (with a blue circle sign) that aren’t all that common where you give way to the right.

  • August 30, 2010 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    ah the lane thing explain why, when they come to CT they drive stupidly fast in the left lane and like snails on the right but can some one please explain why GP’s slow to a crawl when there is a curve in the road, on the highway?

  • August 31, 2010 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    yeah sorry Capetonians, it is actually as Lisa says – 99% of JHB traffic circles are “mini-circles” and those *are* 4 way yields…

    at roundabouts however you do yield to the right…

  • August 31, 2010 - 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Capetonians who seldom leave the Cape (a large majority) with their own transport, would definitely not agree with this articles conclusion and only because foreigners are always in GP licenced cars and staring at “the pretty mountain”…

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