The lesser-known rules of the road

So, like, the other day, like, I was writing a, like, totally boring and brain-haemorrhagey article on the fines one might receive when doing stupid things on the road in South Africa. Why I say ‘might’ receive is because if you are driving with two flat tyres, a spanner in place of a steering wheel and have overloaded your vehicle by a factor of five, your infringements might just escape unnoticed while a Metro Police officer instead stops the roadworthy vehicle whose driver’s only office is that his/her licence disc has slipped.

Anyway, here’s a short list of punishable traffic violations which I found funny. They might very well not be funny, but it’s late, I am fucking exhausted and am feeling a little mental.

  • Reversing too far or dangerously R1000 – Betcha I could reverse to Cape Town!
  • Permitting a person to interfere with the steering or operating mechanism R1000 – I fail to see why allowing your four-year-old to steer the car while you accelerate is problematic. What nursery school kid can’t ride and steer one of those yellow BP bikes? Do they still make those yellow BP bikes?
  • Leaving vehicle unattended and unbraked R 250 – If the car is left ‘unbraked’, it will become unattended whether you intended to leave it unattended or not. I like all the “ended”s in that sentence.
  • Part of driver’s body (elbow) protruding from moving vehicle R 250 – Come on! Who hasn’t driven at one point or another with one’s elbow (or both elbows, in the case of a Smart car) peeping out the window? Or one’s bum? One’s right leg while the left one controls the accelerator, clutch and brake?
  • Allowing person on roof or step while in motion R 250 – Again, I fail to see the problem if one has fitted a nice, comfy roof rack which has cup holders and a little bit of a wind shield built in.
  • Leaving engine running unattended R 250 – Yep, this is South Africa. Any engine left running unattended will not be around long enough for its rightful owner to receive such a fine.
  • Running engine while filling up R 250 – I’d love to see the look of horror on the faces of my fellow filler-uppers and petrol attendants as I rev that 1800cc engine as lovely, flammable liquid is poured into the gut of my car.
  • Jumping on or off moving vehicle, endangering others R 100 – I’d gladly pay the R100 to watch someone try jump on or off my car while it’s travelling at 120km/h on the N1.
  • Excessive noise R 250 – I trust Harley Davidson drivers are fined everyday, yes?
  • Hooter used illegally R 250 – So, pumping that horn to say HOESIT to my tjommies is not considered a legal use of my hooter?
  • Pedestrian moving into path of vehicle suddenly at crossing R 100 – Errrrr, quite. Both the idea of a person leaping out at a vehicle and the driver being responsible for whatever happens to that person, as well as the idea that R100 will deter drivers from not using their psychic powers to anticipate a suicidal pedestrian, are amusing…kinda. Oh wait, is it the pedestrian who would be fined, here? 😉
  • Driving in convoy during weekend R 500 – But it’s ok to drive in convoy during the week? Well, is it?
  • Trading illegally on public road – Like a tuck shop operated from the boot of your car?

5 Responses to The lesser-known rules of the road

  1. Tamara says:

    “Trading illegally on public road – Like a tuck shop operated from the boot of your car?”

    Two words I remember from varsity: Car Bar.

    Selling booze from your boot. Fun times.

  2. Don't Believe a Word I Write says:

    I don’t remember this “car bar”, sadly, but happily I DO remember Care Bears.
    Care Bear starrrrrrrrre, Tamara.

  3. Charmskool says:

    Ha ha can you imagine leaving your car unattended with the engine running? Goodbye car…it was lovely but it’s over. While I was in Japan, I was strolling around the village I was staying in and happened past the 7/11. A lady drove up, stopped her car on the parking lot at the door of the store and hopped out, leaving the keys in the ignition and the engine running. If I recall this correctly, she left the door ajar, and entered the 7/11. I stood there like a total kydaar pa with my mouth hanging open waiting for the Japanese version of a tsotsi to rock up and drive the car away. About 5 or more minutes later she exited the store, bag of groceries in hand, waved a cheery bye bye to the cashier through the door, hopped into her car with the conveniently running engine and drove away. I remained standing there in amazement with my mouth hanging open catching Japanese flies for another 5 minutes at least. Here she would have gotten a fine and had her car stolen. There she did her shopping without all the nuisance of parking properly, switching off the engine, locking the darn door, setting the alarm immobilizer (ok that’s one move on most cars but still) and then having to come out and reverse the process. I’m still getting over it…. that and not having to lock the door of our flat, catching trains at night and walking around in the dark of night all over the village and Tokyo and Kyoto and so forth, draped in handbags, cellphones and cameras and never even attracting the attention of the passersby let alone muggers, rapists, and general social detritus. Sjoe!

  4. Don't Believe a Word I Write says:

    Charm, that was an utterly marvellous response. Did you ever consider nicking her car? And what do Japanses flies taste like? Do they come with soy sauce?

    Have you got over it yet?

    How about now?

    And now?

  5. Charmskool says:

    I had this almost irresistible urge to nick her car. Fortunately I resisted – I have a feeling that Japanese prisons may not be as lekker as Japanese hotels. I spat out the flies before tasting.
    Not over it yet.

    Still not.



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