The Rule of the Road

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Winter is upon us! And the best thing to do is stay indoors, preferably near a heater or snuggled up in bed. I however, signed up for an introduction to motoring journalism course presented by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ). The course which is presented by Gerrie Brits required a trip to the Johannesburg headquarters of Toyota South Africa.

A trip at rush hour into Sandton is seldom something to look forward to but fortune smiled upon me as I journeyed towards the local HQ of one of the world’s largest motor manufacturers: there would be no load-shedding today.

Government and some Austrian extortion racket brought us new four lane highways with lovely shiny purple nightlights and the promise off less congestion and faster travel times for just a few Rands or Cents per kilometer. I don’t really know what it costs. I took very little interest after the first letter of demand forced it’s way into my life. Swiftly followed by letters two, three and four.

Have you noticed how the lovely letterhead is now only printed in black and white instead of the splendid colour of the first editions? The quality of paper has also been scaled back to single ply. Most of us were duped into believing the roads were being improved for the FIFA World Cup but the reality is we now have four congested lanes of traffic instead of three. We’re still just as gridlocked as before and now we are supposed to pay for it but that is a story for another day.

On this short trip to Wesco Park I passed several people chatting away on their mobile phones. Most blissfully oblivious to their surroundings. Some just merrily drifting along in the second fast lane, old middle lane to you and me. One lady was applying her make-up, gently moving into the adjoining lane until prompted to look up by the sharp tone of the hooter to her left.

At one stage there were three trucks abreast of each other and some obnoxious person daydreaming about sunny holidays in the fast lane doing fifty-three in their blue Polo while the rest of the world was having an impromptu meeting behind the four of them. I suddenly had insight into the domain of road rage. Luckily the truck in the second middle lane, the one next to the fast lane, managed to overtake the cement truck in the other middle lane and moved ahead of it. Everyone else then zoomed past the cement truck and flashed an angry look and various hand motions at the chap lost in his thoughts.

I looked back to see if the blue Polo became aware of the error of his ways but he was still dragging his heels in the fast lane as he faded into the distance in my rear-view mirror. Researchers in the United Kingdom claim that slothful driving in the incorrect lane results in a third of motorway capacity being wasted causing congestion and inconvenience to other drivers.

Researchers claim the problem results in a third of motorway capacity being wasted, causing congestion and traffic delays.

A third.

Think of a pizza. Four seasons with pepperoni, salami, olives, artichoke, two types of cheese.Cut into six pieces with one of those roller cutters. Now take two slices and throw them away.
You’re still paying for them but you can’t eat them.

Just imagine if we didn’t waste so much road space. We could make do with three lanes. No need for two middle lanes, fancy purple nightlights, Austrians or Government’s highway robbery.

So people, for the love of pizza obey the rule of the road, keep left, pass right.

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