TYPICAL TAXI BEHAVIOUR: A dash-cam captured a taxi skipping two red traffic lights in less than two minutes in SA. Why is this considered "normal" road behaviour? Image: YouTube ~ Youtube
UPDATE: A News24 poll asking readers whether they skip red traffic lights garnered over 16 000 responses
CAPE TOWN - On Wednesday, Wheels24 published a video showing a taxi skipping two red traffic lights in less than two minutes.
The clip was filmed on a dash-cam and uploaded to YouTube.
We asked the question: "Why is this type of road behaviour considered 'normal' in South Africa?"
We asked readers whether they skipped red traffic lights and a News24 poll garnered more than 16 000 responses.
Poll results: 16 635
• Yes but only late at night 7836 votes
• Only if I'm driving too fast 509 votes
• Never it's too dangerous 7638 votes
• Sometimes if I'm in a rush 652 votes
Thousands of readers (7638) said they NEVER skip red traffic lights but 7836 admitted that they would do so only late at night.
We received several reader responses via email and social media. The majority called for improved traffic enforcement and some liked poor road behaviour to president Jacob Zuma...
WATCH: Typical taxi behaviour: Double red-light jumper
Others commented that skipping red traffic lights was not exclusive to taxi drivers and had witnessed many road users exhibiting similar behaviour.
Courtz: In Durban I jumped a robot...actually two and they were about 25m apart. Noy by choice but I was going at 60km/h. The first one went orange halfway but the second one was timed like that as well. Well I never stopped at the second one. Got pulled over and he said R5000 for both. I said no ways, maybe the second robot but not the first. I got a fine of R2500 if payable in 30 days I will get a 50% discount. We departed and the next thing two taxis jumped the next robot. He did not even bother chasing them. I blew my hooter at him and he just ignored me. But i paid...lots of beer bread and milk money that.
Ewald van den Heever: I have seen Metro Police in JHB CBD do the same thing, one officer even going as far as to give me a rude gesture at my incredulity at the incident (in an unmarked vehicle with government (not police/metro) tags.
I have seen traffic police use blue lights to get to the office on time as their official vehicle carrying four officers in full kit forcing their way through traffic blue lights and sirens, only to slow down, no lights and sirens to pull into the traffic department staff entrance.
For the taxi's add - driving in emergency lane, trying to squeeze into toll gate's four deep at a time, stopping in intersections to collect and deliver passengers, hogging the right hand lanes, overloading, driving unroadworthy vehicles, intimidating other road users.
In the CBD you stop and wait for the light, then you wait for the traffic to stop before pulling away, often as the traffic light turns orange for your turn to go. Don't even think about explaining the logic at stop signs and traffic circles.
I was very nearly knocked down by a taxi yesterday, crossing an intersection (with the little green man flashing at me) because Mr I own the road taxi driver could not be bothered with traffic rules, much less respect for life and others. That said, I have also seen taxi drivers stop at stop streets, wait for green lights, give right of way, yielding at yield signs, not travelling in the emergency lanes, and pulling out of traffic to deliver passengers. It is rare, but it does happen.
Hannes Visagie: That right there is a large part of what is wrong with South Africa. And it's not just taxis, every race/gender/background has people that think the law doesn't apply to them. If you are on the phone while driving, or you text while driving, or you skip robots and stop streets, or you drive in the yellow lane when there is traffic. All of that behavior should stop.
The irony of it all is that I'd say 50% of the people that break these traffic laws criticize our president on a daily basis because in their opinion he doesn't respect the law. To those people I say that you cannot have it both ways, obeying the law should start with each of us.
Imagine if everyone just obeyed the law, heaven.
Don Tandy: South Africans as a whole have adopted a lawlessness mindset, largely because there are no consequences and they they do not have the maturity or integrity to accept that you are still committing a crime even when not caught. Not stopping at stop signs has become the norm by probably 99% of the entire driving population, so complaining about taxi drivers is a bit like the pot calling the kettle...
On Facebook, readers had these responses:
Vincent: We all cheat the road rules whether taxi driver or not. Stop complaining this is South Africa.
Joseph Mokobake: Metro police are the most useless bunch of people I have ever seen. All they are there for is to get tjotjo. That's why most them have big bellies and fat behinds. If they did their jobs and stop taking bribes, such behaviour would be in the minimum.
Marc Anthony Webb: Plainly put those meant to enforce are not doing their jobs their main interest is money collection and intimidation of law abiding motorists(cash cows)...We now have every idiot doing what the taxi's do daily and this is becoming a major problem...
Have you skipped red traffic lights or witnessed dodgy traffic behaviour? Let us know and we'll publish your thoughts. Email us and get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.