Assume Everyone Else is an Idiot

27 December 2013

If road users were less impatient...

If road users were less impatient…

When are South Africans going to get their collective act together and not make our roads more dangerous than they need to be?  In May this year we learnt of another infamous first for our country, namely that we have the worst road safety statistics out of 36 countries surveyed, beaten into last place by Malaysia (M&G, May 23rd 2013).  This fact is being borne out by the annual festive season road carnage.

On a trip to collect my dog from the vet this afternoon, I encountered two instances of what has become a commonality in this country, people driving straight through 4-way Stop intersections.  In the second of these, the transgressor was a young woman, presumably a mother judging by the children in the vehicle – and, when hooted at, casually flipped her middle finger at me!  Wow, what a role model for her children.  

In an article posted on EWN, Wayne Duvenage describes the status quo of South African road usage as “Government mediocrity at its best”, i.e. referring to the apparent inability of the authorities to curb moving violations.  Quote: “we have a transport ministry and road traffic management department that has no meaningful concept of accountability and ownership of the problem” [sounds like most state departments].  There is, however, more to the problem than blaming the government – each and every road user needs to police their own behaviour and realise their collective responsibility to the safety of everyone else on the road.  Does “Do unto others…” ring any bells?

The same news article referred to above lists the Golden Rule of the Road as “Assume everyone else is an idiot” and drive accordingly.   Very sound advice.

Sadly, though, the apparent “being cool” associated with driving like a total moron seems to have gone viral and is just one more symptom of a decaying social fabric in a country that already has so many problems to deal with.  There was recently an appeal for every SA citizen to do just a little bit to give effect to the legacy of Nelson Mandela – this could be as simple as adhering to the rules of the road…

Stupid is as Stupid does.


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