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Skipping traffic lights: Why does this happen in SA?

2016-09-09 09:05

A RED LIGHT MEANS STOP: Many South African motorists skip traffic lights, a reckless practice that often ends in tragedy on our roads. Image: iStock

Cape Town - In August 2016, Wheels reported on a horrific crash  between a Volkswagen Golf 6 and a minibus taxi in Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng.

Neither the VW nor the taxi yielded as they approached their respective traffic lights. The vehicles collided killing four people.

Irresponsible driving

Jacobus Janse van Rensburg, operations manager at Golf Echo Response, told News24: "One of our supervisor vehicles was parked at a red light when the incident unfolded. 

"As you can see in the video, the oncoming Golf sped through the intersection when the traffic light was still red, while the minibus coming from the right was also partly to blame, crossing the intersection when the light was amber. 

"Three people died on the scene. Emergency services responded quickly after our control room reported the accident."

Read the full article on News24 here.

Do you have any suggestions regarding stop signs and traffic lights in SA? Email us or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter.

Justice Project SA (JPSA) and Arrive Alive  share their views on reckless behaviour in SA:  

Wheels24: It might seems obvious given the K53 test but where should a driver stop at a stop sign/traffic light?

JPSA: The foremost position of your vehicle must be behind the line which would be created by a road traffic marking (painted line) which should be in line with the stop sign/robot.

W24: Is it legal to have you vehicle positioned over a solid white line?

Arrive Alive: No. It must be before the 'Stop' line. If you cannot see any oncoming traffic once you have stopped, you may move forward slowly until you have sufficient visibility. Only proceed when it is safe to do so.

W24: What are the dangers of disregarding stop signs/road signs?

JPSA: The line painted across the roadway (or imaginary line if there isn’t one) is designed to separate your vehicle from other vehicles crossing your path. If you stop on the other side of it, there is a possibility that such vehicles could collide with you.

Arrive Alive: Disregarding the importance of a stop sign can lead to serious accidents and/or injuries and death. 

W24: What does the law say?

JPSA: The law says you must stop behind the line or the imaginary line if there isn’t one painted on the road. It also says you must STOP, which in turn means come to a complete halt. Many people think that there is such a thing as a “rolling stop” which is actually a yield. There is no such thing as a “rolling stop” and yielding right of way to other traffic is separately contemplated and has a different sign and road traffic marking.

The law in full

The National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 says on:

Purpose, classification and types of road traffic signs (Regulation 285)

1 A road traffic sign shall have one of the following purposes:
   (a) Regulatory, that is a road traffic sign which directs a road user to take or not to take a specific action;
   (b) warning, that is a road traffic sign calling attention to conditions on a public road which are dangerous or potentially dangerous to road users; or
   (c) guidance or information, that is a road traffic sign indicating a destination, direction, distance, amenity, facility, place of interest, tourist attraction or location, or any combination of these, or a road traffic sign which imparts general information or advice to road users.

Download the full Act here.


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