South Africa – safety and traffic

Thinking of ‘South Africa’ – rises thoughts about own safety too.
Isn’t it too dangerous?

The question is legitim, not least in and around Johannesburg.

The German Foreign Office informs and advises among others the following:

For safety

  • In heavy traffic and at red lights occur especially in large cities often called “smash-and-grave” attacks, where in traffic car doors will be opened or windows are smashed to to steal openly visible valuables from the car.
  • Sometimes there are vehicle hijackings – mainly after dark at less busy road crossings. Car windows should therefore always remain closed and the car doors should always be locked from the inside. Handbags, cameras, mobile phones, etc. should not be visible in your car.
  • When waiting on big crossings, one should be aware and observe his surroundings. It is advisable to keep enough space from other vehicles.
  • The major highways in South Africa are mostly in good condition. Secondary roads, however, mainly in rural areas are often inadequately secured and of poor quality. It is recommended not to take cross-country trips after dark, since car breakdowns, bad roads with potholes, not adequately marked and secured sites and animals on the road could be a significant security risk.
  • It is strongly recommended to abstain from a possible attack on defense.

To road traffic

  • In South Africa, the road users drive on the left side.
  • In part, traffic signs have a different meaning than in Germany. For example an illuminated green turn arrow at the traffic light – unlike the rules in Germany – does not mean that you can drive and don’t have to take care of either pedestrians or oncoming traffic. Only when the green turn arrow flashes, there are probably no more pedestrians and oncoming traffic.
  • In South Africa there are many “4-way-stop crossings”, where all cars have to stop at the crossing first, and then they continue their journey according to the arrival order, that means the car which came first will drive first. This rule is also applied when traffic lights fail at crossings.
  • Both stop signs and speed limits should always be respected in your own interest. In South Africa there are many speed cameras. In case of violations is expected hefty fines that must be paid in cash with the same.
  • Unfortunately you have to expect always ruthlessness of other road users, especially maxi-taxis are expected. To pass at the left side is not uncommon, even it’s forbidden.
  • It is recommended an extremely defensive driving and to avoid any confrontation with other road users. Thus, one should not insist on his right, nor make known to the other verbal or through gestures, what you think of him.

That all sounds quite scary. Of course South Africa is now not Norway.
But as long as you follow the rules, it will go well.

The only question is – will Alex be able to “keep a safe distance” and “defensive driving”…? 😉

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