Road Rule Myths Busted
South African road rules are clearly stated, yet motorists still believe several misconceptions about the principles of the road.
Below are the most common assumptions motorists make about road rules, and whether they are true or false:
Gated estate roads are private roads
False. An outstanding number of gated estates in South Africa wrongly view the roads within the estates as “private” roads. After all, these roads are still “public roads” in terms of the law and are regulated by the provisions of the National Road traffic act 93 of 1996 (NRTA). In many instances, the estate’s signage and road markings also don’t meet the NRTA requirements and are illegal. Homeowners’ Associations may put into place internal contractual conduct arrangements with residents, landowners, visitors, and other road users within the estates, but these terms cannot replace the NRTA or the duties of enforcement authorities.
It is fine to use your mobile phone if you’re not taking calls
False! This can be a heavy misconception among South African drivers and a significant safety hazard. According to the NRTA, the subsequent rules apply:
No driver is allowed to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. A mobile phone is not allowed to be used at a traffic light, even when the car is stationary. A mobile phone should not be used whilst the engine of a vehicle is running. A mobile phone must not be used for taking photos or browsing the internet at all while you are driving. It is safer to only use your phone once you have safely arrived at your destination. In terms of the Western Cape bylaws, your mobile phone will be confiscated for twenty-four hours if you happen to be caught using your phone whilst driving.
It is common courtesy to warn motorists of an upcoming roadblock
No, it’s not courtesy. It’s criminal, actually. Drivers who alert fellow motorists about roadblocks by flashing their lights or posting warning messages on social media are committing an offence as they’re seen to be defeating the ends of justice. Your actions may be warning a wanted criminal by helping them evade the rules of the law.
Smoking in a vehicle while conveying children
It is okay if they’re your children, right? Wrong – it is never okay. Section 2(1) (a) (iii) of the Tobacco Products Control Act, 1993 states that “No person may smoke any tobacco product in any automobile when a minor below age 12 is present in this vehicle.” The penalty for smoking with minors can be fined up to R500.
Transporting children at the back of a bakkie for money
The so-called “bakkie-taxis”, which are often the main mode of transport in which learners in informal areas travel to and from school, is actually illegal. As of 11 May 2017, the national Road Traffic Regulation 250 specifically states that learners are not allowed to be transported for reward within the goods compartment of a vehicle.
We hope that these myths have been busted, once and for all. Now you can confidently go about your day knowing what the rules of the road are and how to correctly follow them to avoid run-ins with the law.
Road Rule Myths Busted