Project Freeway

After 29 years of driving on South African road, six months on UK roads and 1 day on German roads i feel i have the right to praise/criticize local driving habits.

It is with deep regret that i have come to the conclusion that most South African drivers don`t give a toss for anyone else who might be sharing the tarmac with them.

It does not take much effort to check in the mirrors to see who might be behind or next to you. It requires not much more effort to activate an indicator or stick your arm out of the window if they`re broken (the indicators that is). The freeways become particularly unmanageable at peak traffic hours and this is precisely the time that proper driving ettiquette and sensible desicions should be incorporated into the whole piloting package.

The driver is the pilot and the car should have been pre-flight checked and a flight plan logged, at least in your head…..`this is the route i`m going to take and this is the speed i would like to travel at`.

Crawling along in the fast lane with half a mile of annoyed homeward bound citizens ducking and weaving behind you is not clever driving. Check mirrors, indicate and move into the slow lane. Once the stream of greyhounds has passed you can then check mirrors, indicate and move back into the fast lane if the slow lane proves to be too slow.

The one move i cannot fathom is the driver who hurtles up behind then swerves over into the slow lane and then slices in front of you only to exit the freeway at the next off-ramp, and inevitably has to stop at robots or a stop street shortly afterwards. Ducking and diving from fast lane to slow lane has to be one of the most hazardous manoeuvres that any driver can carry out.

I made a descision a few years ago to not allow myself to become annoyed or frustrated with any object that doesn`t have a soul. As a result i am, for the most part, free from high blood pressure related illnesses that might have been caused by cell phones, computers, cars or any number of inanimate objects.

I have projected this chilled response onto crazy drivers as well. I do not allow myself to become angry. I simply question their sanity and relax as i steer myself home knowing that i can take quiet satisfaction from seeing the very same lane-dodging vehicle impatiently revving at the red traffic lights at the off ramp. “so, was the mad dash worth it?”

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~ by Simon Tatt on February 17, 2010.

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