Thursday, March 3, 2011

ignore the rules...

The response to my last blog was surprising.  People showed a real concern about the possibility of my karate suit getting hooked on my bicycle chain and the fact that my music taste has gone feral.

They also had a quite a bit to say about South African drivers. So much so that I felt moved to write this “Helpful Guide to Understanding SA Driving”. Feel free to pass this on to visiting foreigners - unless of course, they come from Beirut, where I believe they are already in the loop when it comes to risky driving.

We already spoke about the fact that speed limit signs are more a vague suggestion than an instruction and that numbers like "60" and "80" are a hint at what is the minimum - not the maximum. We have also spoken about how solid white lines are there solely to taunt you and that those fancy double lines with a little stripe in the middle are merely decorative. 

Zebra crossings are for zebras.  Clearly.  The average SA driver sees a zebra crossing and, seeing no zebras waiting to cross, shoots over it.

Speed bumps, as their name implies, are to be taken at speed. No point in slowing down when there’s another one just a couple of metres ahead, right?  The aim is drive fast so that you are actually airborne between speed bumps.

The phrase “traffic flow” is there to fox you - make you feel like a meek little follow-the-leader-Norman-Nobody sheep. Ignore the word flow. Defy the flow. Zigzag between cars at pace. This momentarily gets you ahead of the flock.  It doesn’t matter that the MOFO car that you nearly beaned 5km ago pulls up next to you at the traffic lights. It’s the principle of the matter.  You just have to get ahead.

Traffic jams are for losers.  To not be a loser, you must squeeze onto the hard shoulder and force your way forward as though you are an emergency vehicle. If there’s been an accident, you must, must, MUST slow down to ask the traffic officer if there has been an accident. Because the ambulance, fire truck and police vehicles after all, aren’t enough of a hint.

At an intersection, don’t let anyone in.  Just don’t or so help me, they’ll only try to keep in front of you (see "traffic flow" above).  You must keep intersection interlopers waiting, and if they try to push in, cuss and make rude signs with your hands.  What are they thinking?  Is it your problem they’re unable to cross, thereby causing a 7km back up? Best policy is to pretend you don’t see them. 

Rain? Just ignore it.  No need to adjust your speed or traffic light strategy for a bit of torrential downpour.  Also, don’t bother leaving home earlier than usual to allow for the delay.  Everyone else should have thought of that, dammit.

Parallel parking isn’t a skill; it’s a challenge.  It’s your job as a fellow person of the road to make this challenge as difficult as possible for the person in front of you, who might be trying to parallel park.  If you see them indicating for a bay, drive right up their butts, and then when they start reversing into the bay, throw your hands up and mouth “WTF!”.  Then watch them (because by now some other eejit has rammed up your butt so you also can’t reverse) try and magically squeeze into the bay.

If you spot a yield sign, drive faster.  Only total anoraks slow down at yield signs. You don’t want to be an anorak, do you? Best to approach these as fast as you can, possibly accelerating in a dice-to-the-death kind of fashion.

Stop signs are actually technically called “rolling stops”.  If you slow down enough to change into first gear you are a road nerd. You need to adopt a drug-dealer kind of roll forward, where it continually looks like you’re selling some narcs. Glaring at the cars on the other side of the stop sign will help to complete the illusion.

Although you must ignore stop signs, you can commit random stopping whenever you like. No need to indicate or put on your hazards or obey the big yellow or red stripe on the road.  Just stop and then do your drug dealer glare when passers by get irate. If they’re not happy about it they should have zigzagged in front of you ages ago. 

If you are old, you must wear a hat (preferably tartan or tweed.)  This is an indication to those cars around you that you have absolutely no intention of either tapping into your peripheral vision, or even turning your head to check for traffic.  Just wear your hat and do whatever you like.  You especially have Carte Blanche when it comes to reversing out driveways – no need for caution, just wear your hat and keep facing forwards.

It is no accident that traffic circles are in the shape of a roulette table. Under no circumstances must you give clues as to the direction you intend to take.  Definitely DON'T indicate that you are turning, you must keep people guessing till the very last moment and even then, don't indicate.  If they know where you're going they'll probably try and follow you, just so that they can ultimately overtake you and get ahead (see "traffic flow" once again.)  

Above all, you must never apologise if you’ve behaved like a *doos. It’s just a sign of weakness.  No. You must flip the middle finger to finish off your doos-ness.

I’m off to buy a tartan hat.

*doos:  South African (quite rude) slang for loser/idiot/wally/d..ckhead

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