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Driving in the city

2004-12-01 13:40

Drivers face constant hazards as cars, lorries, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians compete for the same road space. Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Speeding is the main cause of urban road accidents
  • Driving too close to the car in front is the second most common cause. If you crash, it's usually deemed to be your fault, so remember to keep at least two seconds apart from the vehicle in front at all times. And don't jump into the "safe'" space another car has left.
  • Drive very slowly new schools and keep your eyes open. Children often run across roads without looking. Parents must not park on marked areas outside schools.
  • When turning into a road, look out for pedestrians crossing.
  • When approaching pedestrian crossings:, look for people both on the crossing and near it. A quarter of all road accidents occur within 25 metres of a pedestrian crossing.
  • Parking near or opposite a junction is not only dangerous but it's also against the law. You could be charged with obstruction.
  • When parking on a road at night, your car must be facing in the direction of the traffic.
  • Watch out for motorcyclists and cyclists. They are much more vulnerable than car drivers, so make room for them. They do not contribute to traffic jams, so if you can, let them pass.

Give cyclists plenty of space when overtaking, and leave room on the nearside for them to pass at junctions. In busy cities, motorcyclists legitimately use the "lanes" between stationary car queues, so don't straddle lanes or turn (especially to the right) without signalling well in advance and checking in your side mirror. (adapted for South African conditions from http://www.BBC.co.uk)

Check out our accidents gallery here


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