Bad driver checklist

Cape Town drivers are, apparently, terrible. And apparently Cape Town drivers aren’t just terrible, they’re more terrible than drivers in other parts of South Africa. I might well be persuaded to go along with this sweeping generalisation, but then I don’t do a huge amount of driving elsewhere in South Africa, so I don’t really have a lot to compare them with.

As with all things that are good and/or bad, there are degrees of goodity or baditude. The best way to find out whether someone is a terrible driver is probably just to observe them driving terribly, but if you don’t have time for that – or if you prefer to be forewarned – then I have noted that there are a few telltale signs that should alert you that a Cape Town driver is going to be particularly terrible.

Here is a list of those signs. It’s not in any particular order. The risk is cumulative, so the more of these boxes that any driver ticks, the greater the danger to those around them.

1. The vehicle has a CF number plate. It used to be that you had to be wary of CY number plates (and with good reason), but Kuils River is the new Bellville. In number plate terms, at least. I suppose the dodgy strip joints will soon follow.
As I’ve mentioned before, bad driving is evidently spreading slowly eastwards. Plettenberg Bay is going to be a disaster in about 2052. You’ve been warned.

2. The SSSS concern. As in, the vehicle is sporting a Southern Suburbs School Sticker. Specifically from a boys school. Like “Proud Rondebosch Family”, “Brothers In An Endless Chain” (that’s Wynberg Boys’ current sickeningly simpering ideology) or “SACS Pride”.
These stickers are worn with honour, but honour does not come for free. It comes at the hefty price of a 50% decrease in your (possibly already meagre) driving ability.

3. Hondas. (Had One Never Did Again; History Of No Dramatic Acceleration).
Yes, BMW and Audi drivers drive arrogantly, dangerously and stupidly fast, but that’s to be expected, because their drivers are cocks. Honda drivers (especially those driving the Jazz), drive obliviously, and that’s actually far more terrifying. It’s almost as if they don’t recognise that there’s likely to be any other road users out there.
Take your horrid little Brio out to the middle of the Karoo and you might be right. Drive it down Sea Point Main Road on a Saturday morning and – I assure you – you’ll be wrong (to the detriment of all around you).

4. GPS in the middle of the windscreen. Do people in other cities really do this too? Yes, you need to know where you’re going (although we have the Mountain for that), and yes, you need us all to see that you have a GPS, but putting it directly in your field of view when you are (allegedly) in control of 1000+kgs of motor vehicle isn’t the best idea you’ve ever had. It’s like driving with one eye closed (I’d presume, anyway), and that makes the road infinitely more dangerous for those unfortunate enough to be around you.

5. Any 4 wheel drive Toyota. Do you drive a Run-X or a Yaris? If so, you pose no additional risk to anyone else on the road. Are you in a Land Cruiser? Yes? Well, you’re a massive liability.
Sorry to do this, but the major culprits in (already dangerous) Land Cruisers have two add-on risk factors: i) 30- and 40-something year old mothers, and ii) those pisspoor stick figure family things on the back windscreen.
Don’t misunderstand me here: 30- and 40-something year old mothers in any other vehicle are fine, and stick figure family things on the back windscreen are… well… they’re utterly dismal. But alone (or even as a pair) these factors don’t come along with any additional deterioration in driving prowess. Stick either of them – or, heavens preserve us, both – onto or into a big Chelsea Tractor though, and you increase the danger to those around you to frankly near incomprehensible levels.

6. Golden Arrow Buses. In Durban, bus drivers have used their vehicles to block intersections as a form of protest. In Cape Town, they do it because there’s a vowel in the day. The only thing scarier than an errant driver racing through Observatory in a Honda Jazz is an errant driver racing through Observatory in a 15-tonne Golden Arrow Bus.
It used to be that taxi drivers were the public transport scourge of the roads. No longer. It’s not because the taxi drivers have got any better. They’re simply been overtaken (often literally and illegally) by a filthy, 12 metre long, 1980s accident waiting to happen.

7. Cyclists. Obviously not drivers per se, but disproportionately dangerous on the roads. We’ve been through the issues surrounding cyclists more than once, but it seems to make sense to warn you to steer well clear of them and their entirely predictable unpredictability. The only thing you can guarantee about them is that they’ll happily race through red traffic lights and then blame cars for everything. This is a great example of tarring everyone with the same brush: in actual fact, cyclists should just blame Hondas for everything.

8. Cars with a dreamcatcher hanging from the rear view mirror. Technically, individuals who have a dreamcatcher hanging from their rear view mirror don’t know actually what a rear view mirror is. They think it’s a dreamcatcher hanger. They have no idea that it has any other purpose. That’s one reason that they’re more risky to be around on the road. The second reason that individuals who possess dreamcatchers are dangerous is that they are usually hippies who are concentrating more on stuff like world peace and veganism rather than actually driving safely. For some reason, these people feel that they are allowed to appropriate First Nation culture with absolutely no penalty. Aside from the crippling inability to drive.

Did I miss anything?
Stay safe out there.
And please share for awareness.

  • What about cyclists in cars? Especially those that park with bike racks hanging over the back taking up a second parking spot. Especially in 4X4’s.

  • jeremyk > If the 4×4 in question is a Land Cruiser, you’re probably already as good as dead anyway. :/

  • biobot

    OMG! “CF numberplate” That’s my thing too. In fact, it’s become our entire family thing. Just then other day we were driving and my 10-year-old son says, “Careful dad, CF numberplate.”

    DO YOU REALISE THAT WE’RE HALF WAY TO A FULL-ON SCIENTIFIC PROOF OF CF NUMBERPLATE THEORY??

  • Biobot > Woah! We’re halfway there? *resists obvious temptation*

  • Throw all of that in with the ridiculously narrow Cape Town roads! *shudder*

  • Gina > Are they narrow? Even Bree Street?

  • Well suburban roads are. I wouldn’t drive in town itself if you paid me but that’s true for Joburg too. Hell, the best part about living in Israel (they are as bad as CT drivers AND they drive on the wrong side of the bloody road), is that I don’t have to drive, public transport FTW!

  • Gina > “I wouldn’t drive in town itself if you paid me” – spoken like a true Honda driver. 😀
    And remember, “public transport” is, at best a minibus taxi, and, at worst: GABS! :/

  • Hahaha, I am and always will be a Toyota driver (Tazz).

  • biobot

    They are actually *narrowing* the roads in the CT CBD!
    WHO DOES THAT?

  • Gina > Fair enough. 🙂

    Biobot > The… the City Council does? I dunno. Is a DA thing? Did we really need roads that wide anyway? Which roads?

  • biobot> but why??? Sadists!

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