Load shedding has made another unwelcome visit to South Africa. For drivers this means more time spent in traffic, more frustration and the potential to be affected by another driver’s ill-thought-out actions. One place in particular where this occurs is at traffic lights.
In theory, every driver knows that an intersection that is normally managed by traffic lights becomes a four-way stop when the lights are out.
The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, said: “Many drivers, however, do not follow this rule, consequently, creating chaos at the intersections. As you navigate intersections during load shedding keep these tips in mind to help you safely make your way through.”
Herbert advises the following:
- Slow down as you approach the intersection – even if it looks like there are no other vehicles around.
- Come to a complete stop and yield way to cars that were at the intersection before you.
- Remember to expect flow of traffic from more than four directions. Traffic travelling straight through the intersection from the traditional four directions, but do not forget the drivers turning right from their current lane across the intersection into another lane.
- Do not assume because it is your turn to go, that every other driver will respect this. Double-check every lane before you go. This is especially true for drivers turning right across the intersection, other drivers tend to pay less attention to this lane.
- If you do start to go but see another driver coming or about to cross the intersection at the same time, rather let the other driver go than persist on your course and either have a collision or a road rage incident.
- If there is a driver that does not stop and continues through the intersection irrespective of whether they are supposed to go yet or not, again, rather let them cross than get into an altercation or get frustrated with them.
- Do not forget pedestrians likely have to cross intersections too and have as much right to do so as safely as what a car does.
- Watch out for drivers that skip the traffic by driving on the left shoulder or over yellow lines as they will eventually need to move back into the road.
He said that the most important tip is: check, double-check and check again before you move and even while you are crossing the intersection.
Load shedding is creating challenges for drivers that many would rather go without. “Irrespective of how much we dislike the traffic created by load shedding, the unfortunate truth is that for the remainder of the week and on many occasions after that, load shedding will upset your drive and preparation is key to emerge from it as safely as possible,” said Herbert.