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