How to Drive in Cape Town 101

There are many perks to living in the Mother City; a beautiful view of the mountain, proximity to the beach, fresh coastal air among many other things. However, one disadvantage of living in Cape Town (the most congested city in South Africa as of 2017) is driving. As Capetonians, I’m sure you know this all too well - and are probably thinking that this issue is made ten times worse by the thousands of bad drivers on the roads. So without further ado, allow me to explain why Cape Town drivers are probably some of the worst drivers in the entire country.

 

1. As soon as the sky gets cloudy and the rain begins to fall, Capetonians forget everything their K53 rules taught them. They do not turn on their headlights, do not indicate, speed, and just generally transform into demon drivers. Personally, I like to call this "foggy brain syndrome".

 

2. Every lane is the slow lane! There is nothing wrong with wanting to drive a bit slowly, in fact it’s probably the safest thing to do. But please, if you are a slow driver, stay in the left lane as God (and the city planners) intended it.

 

3. If you are to look at either side of your steering wheel, you will notice two stick objects. Other than turning your wipers on, they’re actually also capable of turning on a flashing green arrow either facing left or right on your dashboard! They are called indicators. Amazing right!?!?! Based on my own experiences driving, I suspect that this may come as news to many Capetownian drivers. So now please use them when you are turning, even when you are in the turning lane. Thanks.

 

4. When Capetownians are in a hurry, you’ll know. Please explain to me how cutting in front of me by one car and racing is going to get you there faster when I still end up stuck behind you at the very next robot? Just stop. Your excuses suck.

 

5. In Cape Town, at least a quarter of the city’s drivers seem to think that red robots and stop streets are entirely optional. If you bother to browse through your K53 book again, you will note that they will state that stopping at a red robot and a stop street is compulsory. So please stop next time, instead of acting like a bull who loses their marbles every time they see the colour red.  

 

6. A little known fact about driving in Cape Town is that a driver letting you in front of them  is such a rare event that, by law, you must immediately take down the license plate of the generous driver and inform the traffic department so that they can be recommended for knighthood. Seriously though, it wouldn’t kill you to let someone go in front of you; you are not gonna get to your destination any slower if you help out one person. Traffic is traffic. If you wanted to get to your destination earlier, you should have left earlier.

7. Lastly, it is well known that taxis are the common enemy of the people and are guilty of everything above except number 2 - when faced with that issue, taxis manage to convert the emergency, bus, and bicycle lanes to the taxi lane immediately. Not to mention those awful sounding hooters.

 

If you’re guilty of any of the above, maybe take a refresher driving lesson or download the K53 app to make Cape Town an easier place to drive in for all of us. Oh, who am I kidding? What you really should do is watch Mad Max, and get your lessons in surviving Cape Town’s roads from there.