Intersections Revisted

Many drivers do it and because they usually get away with it, they believe nothing bad will ever happen to them. I’m referring to drivers who fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs or try to beat the orange at traffic lights. As many drivers can attest to if they want to be honest with themselves, many have had very close calls if not actually crashed.

Poor observation is a factor in 48% of the 2010 to 2015 crash data. Poor judgment 19%, poor handling 23%, too fast 17% and alcohol 10%. The result? 712 reported crashes of which 6 were fatal, 52 sustained serious injuries and 162 received minor injuries. For those who look at costs – 81 million dollars or about $1,500 for every resident in our district.

The question we should ask ourselves: Are the three seconds we think we “save” by not stopping worth the probable consequences. Be it a fine, demerit points, a crash or maybe the cause of death/injury to a passenger in your car or the other vehicle. If it all turn bad and one of these illustrations does occur, you will spend much more time and money having to deal with it. On the sentimental side, the comprehension that you have hurt/killed someone will haunt you until the day you die; All because you were in a hurry or did not take your responsibility as driver seriously.

Why do some intersections have stop signs, others give way signs and other no controls at all? At stop signs, in most cases, the safest option is to stop at the limit line (the yellow diagonal line), then make the observation of whether it is safe to go or not. Some drivers argue that if vegetation was cleared it would minimize the need to stop. The danger with that is it that drivers will make their decision whether the road is clear or not some distance from the intersection. In the time it takes them to get to the intersection, the situation on the cross road could have changed.

Give way signs are installed where there is more visibility to the sides on the approach to the intersection. Drivers are still required to slow down and be ready to stop if need be. Other places where there are no controls at all, including when traffic lights are out, the give way rules apply- give way to traffic on your right.

Stop and give way.

Safer Journeys!

Daniel Naudé

Road Safety Coordinator