On driving in Gauteng

Yes, I know, I haven’t blogged in more than a month. I was far too busy enjoying my children, my husband, Christmas, a 6 day camping trip, renovation woes and general start-of-the-year-madness. If you’re curious about what I’ve been up to you’ll have to satisfy yourself with my Instagram feed, you can find me here.

Part of the start-of-year-madness was a 4 day trip to Gauteng for work this week. It’s the 4th trip in 6 months and I’ve had to put my big girl panties on and drive whilst there. I’m talking lots of Jozi CBD, Centurion and Pretoria CBD trips. I’m not a nervous driver at all, but driving in Gauteng has always scared me a little.

Guess what? It’s not so bad. Just some observations:

1. The general disregard taxis have for road rules and the lack of common courtesy is astounding, it is a lot worse than in Cape Town.
2. Ditto trucks.
3. Not all the drivers are assholes, lots of people are friendly in the roads. But there are some choice assholes in big 4x4s that feel nothing for other people (or people on bikes!!) on the road
4. Potholes. Enough said.
5. Stop streets. I’m used to stopping at a stop street with both a sign and STOP painted on the road. In Gauteng there are only Stop signs, nothing painted on the road. It’s quite jarring and very confusing to someone like me that needs as many clues as possible about when to go and when to wait.
6. When it rains or there’s an accident on a highway everyone slows down and immediately puts their hazards on, this is really cool. Capetonians, take note.
7. There are a LOT of accidents. A LOT. I almost missed my flight today because a car and a truck had an argument which I can only assume the car lost as it was overturned in the side of the road.
8. Those etoll tags beep. Every. Single. Time. Drives me insane.
9. Many people take the back roads to avoid etolling. Ergo, less traffic on the highways. This pleases me greatly.
10. Related: the back roads are awesome. There are truly beautiful houses and neighbourhoods. I love the history and beauty of Gauteng.

As much as I love Cape Town, I am envious of the special beauty of the Highveld. The energy of inner-city Johannesburg. Thunderstorms. That very special smell of the earth when the rain has come and gone in the afternoon and the dust has literally settled.

I feel like I’m cheating on Cape Town, but I think it’s a harmless little infatuation, so I’m sure I’ll be forgiven.