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The expert's guide to driving during loadshedding

The expert's guide to driving during loadshedding

Posted by Megan MacDonald on 5 Dec 2023

Suzuki blog header _ Light bulb _ 2023

 

There are many things for differently-abled drivers to consider when choosing an adaptive vehicle. We’ve listed the different types of adaptations drivers can get, as well as some tips for what to look for when choosing the best car to suit your needs.

Load shedding is here to stay for the foreseeable future and, while South Africans have learnt to adapt their lives to fit in with blackout schedules, being out on the road still presents a number of challenges and dangers.

Estimated reading time:  3 minutes, 4 seconds

What is a morning commute without a purely decorative robot? With blackouts going up to 11 hours a day in some areas, and the traffic infrastructure taking a hit, it’s highly likely any journey will have several intersections with non-operational traffic lights. We know this is especially frustrating for drivers - and can be risky too!

Since none of this is new and South African drivers have had time to adjust their driving patterns to adapt, the new danger is, perhaps, complacency.

Just as a reminder: any intersection where traffic lights are not functioning must be treated as a 4-way stop and traffic may move through that intersection in the order in which they stopped.

The word ‘stop’ is the keyword. You are obliged, by law, to approach the intersection and come to a complete stop to await your turn to move on.

However, all too often motorists attempt to speed up the proceedings by ‘creeping’ and moving into the intersection ahead of their turn. This is not only bad manners but is dangerous, intimidatory and could spark an unnecessary road rage scenario.

Some intersections are manned at peak times by authorised and trained traffic controllers while others have people hoping to get handouts doing the controlling. In both cases, motorists should follow the directions of the person in the intersection.

In the case of the former, they will ensure a smooth and orderly flow of traffic while the latter may be a bit more erratic – but it is still safer not to take a chance and to wait to be waved through.

 5 Tips to mastering loadshedding driving 

  1. Plan your journey. This may mean leaving home or the office a little earlier than usual to counter any delays at intersections.
  2. Use Google or Waze. Wherever possible, use either of these apps to plan your trip as both update in real time and can warn you of impending traffic buildup and even offer a less congested alternative route.
  3. Be extra vigilant about following distances. The traffic patterns have changed as have traffic volumes and minor ‘bumper bashings’ have increased dramatically.
  4. Ensure your vehicle is up to date with its services. Your vehicle needs to be operating at optimum efficiency as there is nothing worse or more frustrating than being stranded on the side of the road when something goes wrong. This can also be dangerous, especially at night in a blackout suburb or on a stretch of road with no streetlights.
  5. Check your mirror. While you may be prepared to obey the law and come to a stop at an intersection, there are those who feel they have the right to go through if they think it is clear. Make sure your braking is clearly visible and try not to make it a sudden stop to give them ample time to stop safely behind you.

Remember that circles are treated differently from intersections – you have to give way to traffic approaching from your right. There is no requirement to stop at a circle if it is clear to proceed. You stop only if there is a car in the circle.

The safest and least stressful way of dealing with load shedding on the road is to take it slowly and keep calm at all times.

Road safety is no joke but we have the perfect guide for you. Download the ultimate car safety guide.

Download The Ultimate Car Safety Guide

 

Topics: Education

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