When I eventually decided to grow up and begin driving myself around our small town of Tzaneen in eastern Limpopo, I thought “Man, what’s all the hype about? This is a piece of cake!”
Little did I realise that the people who constantly complain about driving, accidents, reckless drivers etc. are quite often people who have to drive around in the big cities.
I did however, eventually pick up why all the ‘city drivers’ have been driven insane.
I came to this realisation the moment I arrived in the outlying areas of Johannesburg, when my Google Maps guide told me there are 60km to go, and you will arrive in one hour.
I shrugged it off, thinking “Pfft, 60km? That takes 40 minutes not 60!”, but boy, was I wrong.
After 20 minutes of driving, I had only travelled about 15km, and I could not believe how slow everything was moving.
It’s one thing when you’re on a school trip and travelling in a bus, as you can simply sleep through it all. But as a driver, no matter how boring and dreary the drive becomes, you have to stay razor sharp.
This is where the next ‘fun’ part of driving in the city comes in – the other road users.
Whether they’re late for a business meeting, or simply in a hurry to make their 15 minutes tee time at the golf club, the road users here are generally people driving with a purpose.
This often leads to rather interesting encounters, as more often than not, you’re the one in the wrong (according to them at least).
Now, once you’ve accepted the speed, and the delays, and survived the manic road users, then comes the number of lanes at an intersection.
Normally, in smaller, less metropolitan areas, two lanes remain two at an intersection, and three remain three.
Not here, my friend.
The closer you get to the intersection, the more you start noticing the number of lanes increasing.
I don’t know about anybody else, but when I see three/ four lanes suddenly become six/ eight, I start getting frantic.
Spoiled for choice, one starts looking at this wide variety of lanes, all with their own special little arrow, telling you which direction that lane takes.
If you’re in the wrong lane, well, tough luck. You’re probably going to be stuck there until the next intersection, simply because of the jam-packed lanes and the manic drivers.
If you’re able to hold your nerve, and above all keep your cool through this madness, you might just make it to your destination in one piece.
If you don’t handle pressure too well, then good luck pal …
To all the seasoned Joburg drivers out there, can you give me any tips on how to steer through the traffic without losing my cool?
I would like to hear from you. Leave your comment below.
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